One Story – Four Sides
My first Mentor once said that it was important to remember that there are 3 sides to every coin – Heads, Tails and the Edge. "After all," he said, "you only get the spin on the edge!"
Since I’ve been in the profession of marketing; I have come to know that there are not three, but at least 4 sides to every business or product story:
- Your Side of the story
- Their Side of the story
- The True story
- The story that can be Proven
Your Side of the story is what you and your partners and employees perceive to be true from inside your company. It is the inside-out perspective.
Their Side of the story is what customers, prospective buyers and the public at large perceive to be reality from outside your company. It is the outside-in perspective.
The Truth is unbiased. You don’t know how effective your product, pricing, positioning and Go-to-Market strategies are until people start buying (or refuse to buy) what you are selling … and until you pit yourself against your most direct competitors and their own results. The truth is hard to ascertain; it is the ‘why’ behind what is happening.
What You Can Prove is all about the business metrics – the dollars and cents, the expenses and costs, the profits left in the bank at the end of the day and the taxes you paid on them at the end of the fiscal year…and inventory sold or left unsold. Numbers and data that showed you which exact products were selling, turning a profit or running a loss; showed you how many repeat buyers you had this year and how many brand-new ones. Numbers don’t lie. The story that you can prove can be credibly told because it can be substantiated.
Considering these 4 sides to your product and business story, as they are today, is extremely important when approaching every one of your marketing campaigns. As part of a team of people responsible for managing a brand, you want all 4 of these stories to be the same. They need to be in harmony. The harsh reality is that brand engagement decisions are made based on perception more than reality. Which is why as a business owner or brand manager, you must absolutely consider the other 3 Sides.