What are the characteristics of your Capital S story? Presenting at this year's conference #IABCHRCONF, Paul Furiga of WordWrite Communications will speak about #storytelling and "Finding the Hero in Your Organization." Discover knowledge at iabcheritageconference.com.
In a dim corner of the St. Anthony Club, a landmark San Antonio bar, the CEO and his lawyer hunched over their drinks. The dark surroundings matched the mood: the CEO was folding his company and needed the lawyer’s help.
Despite the dark bar and circumstances, the CEO could see a brighter future. “Herb,” he said, “I have an idea for another company.” And then he leaned forward and began drawing on a cocktail napkin. His pen scratched a triangle, then the words, “Dallas,” then “San Antonio” and finally “Houston” on each point of the triangle. The lawyer studied the napkin and nodded.
The story above, if you’ve never seen it or heard it before, is about the founding of Southwest Airlines. On that napkin, the two men in the bar supposedly sketched out the idea and the first route map for the airline with the outlaw attitude and cheeky humor.
The CEO, Rollin King, is rarely remembered today for his role at Southwest. Lawyer Herb Kelleher, who would later become the airline’s CEO, is remembered for being at the controls as Southwest grew to become the most valuable airline in the world.
In the business world, there are stories and then there are “Stories,” those that stand the test of time, the ones that are repeated and remembered and taught in business schools. Why is that? And why does that matter if you have a business or organization that you want somebody else to know about?
This is one of the powerful storytelling concepts we’ll explore during my presentation at the IABC Heritage Region conference in Columbus, Ohio this fall, "Finding the Hero in Your Organization: Why Your Story Trumps Your Brand."
Over the course of two decades in journalism, and nearly as many years in public relations, I’ve written, edited, developed and shared tens of thousands of stories. Back when I was covering cops or chasing investigative stories, most of what saw print on Tuesday wound up at the bottom of the birdcage on Wednesday.
Today, most of us get our news online. And so we either recycle the printed copies of stories that catch our eye or we toss them in our online trash and move on. The point is: Most stories (including those we use to market our ideas and our organizations) are forgettable.
The truly powerful stories in business are remembered long after they are first shared. The Southwest napkin story, for example, dates from 1967.
In our work with clients, our team at WordWrite Communications has learned that some stories are what we call “Capital S” stories. They rise above the mundane and forgettable, defining the very character of an organization.
We’ve also come to learn that every organization has at least one Capital S story – though it’s often hidden or forgotten in the strategies and tactics the organization employs to communicate with the audiences it most needs to engage.
What are the characteristics of your Capital S Story? It answers questions such as these:
- Why would someone want to buy from you?
- Work for you?
- Invest in you?
- Partner with you?
- Be your neighbor?
Your organization owns a story with the answers to these questions. They’re buried in your culture, hidden in your history or infused in your people, waiting to be drawn out.
Once you know your Capital S story, you’re ready to make your organization the hero of your own story. We’ll take a look at how to uncover the hero within your story in a follow-up post.
Want to know more? Join me for the here.in Columbus on October 10. Register