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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Butler-Madden

The stories we tell ourselves

The stories we tell ourselves define who we are.

Think about it.

We are the culmination of all of our stories, some public, some private.

This narrative shapes our view of ourselves and our place in the world. How we live our lives, the cars we drive, the suburbs we live in and the careers we choose. It shapes the people we choose to be friends with and associate with. It even shapes the people we choose to judge and categorise as “not people like us”.

One of my favourite authors and influencers, Seth Godin, refers to this as “People like us do things like this”. In the age of Purpose, I extend this idea to “People like us believe things like this”. It’s the narrative or world view that we each hold to be true, that we identify with.

People are not robots and yet business largely has not tapped into this narrative, which is a powerful part of being human. Crazy when you consider it, because it’s our human-ness that can move mountains and achieve greatness.

People make choices based on emotions. We then look for ways to rationalise those choices.

This is true of how we choose brands. It links directly to the stories we tell ourselves, that are deeply rooted in our sub-conscious minds.

Even someone buying a cheap brand is telling themselves a story; perhaps about how thrifty they are and how they are not a victim of marketing.

This idea of narrative gives context to the growing success of “Purposeful” brands.

We are living through a time where there is a clear need for transformation – of how we conduct business, how we consume, how we treat others and how we treat our natural environment.

People have no choice but to respond to this – both consciously and sub-consciously.

Brands that align themselves with a movement for change are attracting their “People Like Us” – those people who share their world view. Imagine building and growing a business with a team of people who believe in the shared powerful idea of change that you are in business to create, through and beyond your products and services.

Equally, in the face of clear societal need, brands that continue with business-as-usual driven by profit as their energising force, are also attracting their “People Like Us”.

Every business has a choice.

The more passionate the beliefs of your “People Like Us”, the more opportunity your brand has in generating emotional investment and loyalty, from customers, employees, partners, investors and suppliers.

When business learns to actively tap into this – that is when we’ll be able to unlock the true full potential of business and people.

So do you know who are your “People Like Us”?

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