st threat to achieving the strategy. Alignment drives teamwork downstream. Accurate strategic assessment of threats will make or break marketing execution.
Measure whether present company narratives are resonating
This step empowers the CMO as they have not been for 30 years. The reason Shiller was able to prove that narratives have economic impact was because every piece of content in the world is now indexed. He could prove the relationship between economic data and media narratives. Every news and social media impression that happened over the last two years or the last hour can be indexed. This is much more powerful than a research study with a sample of 1,500 consumers.
This is where brands can statistically identify what they own and don’t own in the market—information that can hold members of the C-suite accountable.
Build a map of the narratives you want to own
Research indicates that the most valuable companies in the world manage 5-7 narratives simultaneously. There is typically a vision narrative, product narrative, distribution narrative, employee or manufacturing narrative, unique feature narrative and a leader narrative—at a minimum. This mix of narratives should map directly to company strategy. This simple step of building strategy to narrative alignment ensures connectivity between the company strategy and the go-to-market strategy.
Execute the narratives across comms, advertising, digital and social
The goal is to implement narratives across the channels. The challenge: After the last 25 years of specialization, increasingly-verticalized brand, social, digital and comms teams like to work in silos rather than horizontally, which hurts narrative impact.
Brands must embrace more nuanced matrix structures rather than more siloed functional organization structures to successfully respond to shifting narratives, audiences and issues.
Differentiate narratives from storytelling
There is an important difference between a narrative and a story. The Rand Corporation’s narrative lab defines it this way: A story has a beginning, middle and end. A narrative has a beginning and a middle—but the end is yet to be written. This unfinished nature of narrative is critical as it allows a brand to champion purpose, mission and a sense of work to be done. It also separates narrative from the thousands of great stories marketers create annually.
Every company believes it is at some stage of a business or digital transformation. The narrative roadmap will empower senior marketers and teams to drive substantial change. Narratives will help marketers build more valuable brands and return CMOs to a power position in the C-suite.