2007, San Francisco.
A city humming with possibilities yet laden with the echo of unmet needs.
Brian and Joe, shadows in a crowded city, are roommates stationed in an apartment playing a risky game with fate, dicing with dwindling bank accounts and rent reminders.
Meanwhile, the city, a magnet for designers is in the grips of a hotel accommodation crisis, courtesy of an Industrial Design conference.
With no places to stay, all Brian & Joe see is opportunity.
Opportunity in, not just providing a place to rest, but an invitation to a world unseen by the tourist’s eye.
A few inflated air mattresses later, a makeshift website goes live and suddenly Airbnb is born.
Found this gem. Their first website: ↓
The heartbeat of a movement that completely disrupted the travel and hospitality industry.
A movement that promises not just a transient roof, but a day-in-the-life of a resident, untainted by the pristine allure of opulent hotels.
...let’s pause here.
This is the narrative they lead with.
Rewritten in my own words (because I'm obsessed with writing stories lately... ha!), but this is their story.
It’s their founders’ story that shapes where they’ve been, the journey their on, and the movement they’ve created in the market.
More than a narrative, it’s a strategic north star that aligns its leadership team and guides the entire company from product development, sales, and marketing to recruiting and customer service efforts.
So, why am I sharing this?
Because strategic narrative can (and should) be a focal point today for all businesses, regardless of size.
You don’t need to be a Fortune 500 brand to build and lean in on a strategic narrative.
A narrative that does more than move product - but starts a movement.
So where do we begin?
You'll come across a number of brand story experts - but let’s roll out the red carpet for Andy Raskin’s Strategic Narrative Framework.
A proven process to build stories that don’t just narrate, but resonate with the market.
Introducing: Andy Raskin’s Strategic Narrative Framework - Building Your Brand's Story
Andy Raskin’s framework guides you through a five-step process for creating a compelling story that aligns a company’s internal teams and becomes a foundation for external communication.
Let's break down the 5 steps:
1 - The Change
Pinpoint a significant change in the world that creates a need for your solution.
Airbnb Example: The rise of the digital economy and the sharing culture upended the traditional hotel business. People began to seek more personalized, authentic experiences rather than the monotony of standardized hotel stays.
2 - The Enemy
Highlight a common problem or antagonist that both your company and customers aim to bypass or defeat.
Airbnb Example: The ‘enemy’ is the impersonal, expensive, and isolating nature of traditional travel lodging. Airbnb positions itself as the warm alternative that brings authentic human connection and local culture into travel.
3 - Victory
Describe the ideal state or ‘promised land’ that customers will achieve through your solution
Airbnb Example: A world where travel is not just an item on a to-do list, but a meaningful experience that involves staying in unique homes and connecting with local culture.
4 - The Truth
Clarify the fundamental beliefs that guide your actions and offerings.
Airbnb Example: Airbnb’s core belief is that every place can be a ‘home,’ and every person a ‘local,’ transcending the divide between tourist and local.
5 - The Vision
Sketching out the world that your company aims to create, encompassing not just your product but the broader change you wish to make.
Airbnb Example: A world where anyone can belong anywhere, making travel more accessible, more authentic, and more human for everyone involved.
Now, Over to You:
The capacity to weave such a strategic story isn’t confined to the Airbnbs or Apples of the world.
Every business is conceived from a spark, a desire to solve a problem, fill a gap, or make life a little better for someone out there.
So, the raw material for a compelling narrative already exists within the walls of your company.
Take Andy Raskin’s Strategic Narrative Framework on a test drive.
Plug in your own story. See where your pieces fit.
Then, consider using this to help align your team, inform your product, marketing, sales, service, etc., and serve as your company’s strategic north star.
A quick recap:
Andy Raskin’s 5-step Strategic Narrative Framework
Curious to hear what you come up with…
P.S. Lenny's podcast interview with Andy Raskin is an absolute masterclass on Strategic Narrative. ↓
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