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What's Your Story?

Ever get the feeling you’re surrounded by a world in the midst of a huge, adolescent identity crisis? Don’t you sometimes feel you’re back in middle school, where everyone is trying on new roles daily, desperately seeking the one that fits just right?

Congratulations! You’ve hit the nail on the head. Modern, digital culture is currently careening through a not-always-comfortable adolescence, with one foot still in the traditional, non-digital era and another stepping into digital adulthood, where humans and their digital helpmates will forge true partnerships (marriages, if you will) in every area of life.

It’s not surprising that you’re feeling a little off-balance. (Remember what it felt like to be 13?) The secret to surviving this cultural identity crisis—and hopefully determining who you and your business really are—is first to boil down to the lowest common denominator what you and your company really do. Let’s say you’re an IT service provider: you fix computer systems. But what you really are is a problem-solver and enabler; you solve clients’ problems and enable them to focus on their businesses, rather than worrying about IT issues. Once you understand that, you can begin to tell your story through client success stories, blogs, tweets and white papers. And though the medium and plot (read: particular client) change, the theme underlying every story is the same: you solved a problem and enabled your client to go on with life.

Of course, just as it was in middle school, it’s critical to clothe yourself in the right, age-appropriate apparel. That means ensuring you stand out by using the (usually technical) language that tells your audience you’re in-step with growth and innovation in your industry. To be sure that happens, you’ll want to be sure your client-facing communications are authored by a writer who is an expert on changes in your industry. After all, you—and the culture—are stepping into adulthood. If you want your business to fit in you have to make it look like a grown-up.

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