In a media-saturated world, it is a struggle for businesses or brands to stand out from their peers. But getting noticed is essential in a competitive, global market. EBM has been helping global companies and brands develop stand-out messaging and storytelling for many years, we’ve now decided to share a series of case studies based on client situations we’ve encountered.
This month, we zoom in on a case study of a major financial services company that turned to EBM to rewrite their corporate storytelling; this involved creating new and differentiating key messages.
As anyone in corporate communication knows, transverse rebranding projects like this are fraught with challenges. Securing agreement from every internal stakeholder around the table may be the primary hurdle to overcome. With so many moving pieces, it was crucial for success that EBM was able to coordinate client feedback while respecting project deadlines and client validation constraints.
We also had to foster collective acceptance that not every stakeholder’s message would make it into the story due to space constraints. Too much information causes what is known in psychology as the ‘argument dilution effect’, reducing overall message impact. Sometimes it’s hard for internal stakeholders to let go of messages, but in the end, we convinced everyone to agree to a 250-word maximum length for each storyline.
Signal over noise
Our deliverable was threefold: 1) a “tweet-like” tagline, 2) a 1-line “elevator pitch” and 3) a 1-minute storyline narrative for each of the company’s areas of expertise, each one distinctive, yet all coordinated with group-level messaging.
Based on short but productive interviews with the client teams, we leveraged our strengths in strategic messaging and presentation coaching, as well as writing, to create a compelling story. Just as Michelangelo believed that the sculptor’s task was merely to “free the statue already within a marble block by chipping away the excess,” EBM helps eliminate noise to crystalize messages that will resonate with all audiences. For that, our team started by listening closely and asking probing questions in face-to-face sessions. Together, we unpacked the client’s vision: what sets them apart and makes their value proposition unique for their customers.
“Facts tell, stories sell”
Yuval Noah Harari’s bestselling book Sapiens is one recent work arguing that humans need stories to assimilate complex information. But neuroimaging studies from 2006 (Gonzalez, NeuroImage), 2012 (Lacey et al., Brain & Language) and 2018 (Yuan et al., Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience) tell a similar tale—brains retain more story than fact.
Crafting corporate messages into stories makes them simpler for audiences to remember, and easier for each corporate spokesperson to use. This ease of re-use optimizes a company’s returns on their investment in messaging. For example, our “elevator pitch” can be turned into a 5-sentence soundbite for use in TV interviews. At EBM, we are well placed to demonstrate that a corporate communication toolbox is not an expense, but an investment that generates immediate returns.
EBM’s personalized focus, proven methodology and 360° understanding of the issues helps clients shape the way their company is perceived thanks to better storytelling. As a neutral third party, we also bring a fresh perspective on corporate communications.