What Is Narrative Alignment? Get Serious About Your Positioning Execution
Want to nail your positioning and strategic narrative? Do you want to create "Narrative Alignment" internally and externally?
Here's an easy 6-step checklist to increase your chances of building a precise positioning "Narrative Alignment" strategy.
Step 1: Choose your Minimum Viable Audience (MVA)
Think precise. Be targeted with your TAM. Yes, you'll have a large TAM for investors, but to build a brand, you must go step-by-step.
The first step is building a highly engaged audience for your brand.
You reach your audience by being precise about who you are trying to reach. This approach is outlined in Kevin Kelly's 1000 true fans.
Step 2: Build out Ideal Audience Profiles
Ideal-Audience = You focus on the challenges and pain, not you.
Ideal-Audience = Broader than a "persona" and fits in the ICP.
If you want to build out Ideal Audience Profiles, the categories you need to "define" are:
• Your Vision
• Who I Need To Reach To Accomplish Goal (Broad Audience)
• Pick 3 Ideal Audience Traits
• Ideal Audience Statement
• Pick 3 Broad Wants
• 9 Specific Wants
Tip: Like any positioning, this doesn't happen just "within" the business. Speak to customers, understand their language and combine with sales, marketing and product feedback.
The "Ideal Audience Profiles" replace your pointless "persona" work.
Step 3: Create ICP profiles
To understand your Ideal Customer Profile, make a simple 1-pager for each market or segment.
Fill in these sections:
• No. of employees
• Annual revenue
• Decision maker
• Pain points
• Business objectives
• Notable attributes
• Why are they a good fit for the company?
• What is their big challenge or problem?
• Why is it important to act?
• What does security mean to the prospect? And how to un-sell the status-quo
• What drives them
• What pains them
• What they want now
You know, have a focused audience, their ideal attributes and the ideal customer profile.
Step 4: Segment Your Positioning Narrative
Most companies have their narrative all lumped together into one pot.
i.e. CEO sells the vision, and sales-people need clarification in the sales story. They need clarification about your positioning on the ground. Marketing is trying to please everyone and fails to deliver to sales (as mainly they'll appease the CEO's messaging).
Segment into a simple document for the whole business:
CEO story to market and investors
• Section 1: Vision AKA "THE DESTINATION."
Marketing and campaigns
• Section 2: Strategic Narrative "AKA THE STORY."
What sales-people need to know =)
• Section 3: Positioning, AKA "THE SALES STORY."
Step 5: Test & Learn
While it's all sound thinking, you have created an impactful message ready for the market. It will most likely have gaps; notably, the languaging you use will need further precision.
What to do?
Go and speak to investors, peers, prospects and customers.
Now refine further.
Step 6: Aligning ALL teams on the positioning, i.e. "Narrative Alignment
The step that most companies need to remember is rolling out capability training and enablement iteratively and ongoing. Before you start, you package together, in simple terms:
• What is your Minimum Viable Audience
• Who are your Ideal Customer Profiles
• Master document with segmented messaging
• Feedback and learning from tests & learn
Provide all pre-read materials. Make sure every area is well-explained (i.e. the four above items). Plan continuous enablement sessions across all teams, SDR, Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, and Product- ensure everyone aligns on the narrative.
You run narrative alignment training and certifications at the start of each quarter. For each role, individuals and teams must understand the narrative. To test and align across the business, create a "Narrative Certifications" process. It involves a quick 5-mins whiteboard by individuals on the narrative.
They pass, and all good.
They don't repeat the task.
Step six seems a lot, but it's fundamental to clarity, precision and GTM success. You'll feel confidence across the business if you do this well.
To work with me on your "Narrative Alignment", get in touch:
(1) DUE DILIGENCE FOR INVESTORS & CEOs: A bespoke framework and capability model 'DEMAND KARMA' that delivers DD services to investors, VC firms and CEOs.
(2) ADVISORY: Retained advisory at funded scale-ups. A simple monthly fee. Helping CEOs build a scalable marketing machine. (Booked out until December)
(3) STRATEGY COACHING: Book time on my calendar to work through a standalone project or to get answers to your most pressing marketing strategy and execution questions.
If you're interested, let's jump on a call to see if you're a good fit.