A “core story” is simple — It is your business’ story.

If told correctly, it can give all your customers a reason to rally behind your business and invest their resources in helping your business succeed – not just buy what you’re selling.

Here’s What Your Core Story Should Contain:

  • Defines your business
  • Involves passion
  • Inspires motivation
  • Details overcoming obstacles
  • Sets your business apart from competitors
  • Shows why it is unique
  • States its purpose

What does a Core Story do?

Ideally, it helps to bring more clients to your business and engaging those clients in such a way that they want to invest in your company or product more.

A Core Story is how your business interacts with the consumer: how your business portrays the lifestyle or fits into the ideal lifestyle, of what the consumer envisions their life to be.

When your Core Story invigorates and inspires your employees, it gives them the motivation to do more than just punch in every morning — it gives them a purpose, a reason to contribute.

A rallying cry to align themselves with the success of your business and brand.

Moreover, your brand (or company belief system) should instill a sense of belonging and belief in the success of the business by your employees and consumers alike — creating a community that surrounds it all of the advocates for your product or service.

A figurative place where your employees and consumers feel as if they belong – and want others to, as well.

The 7 Elements Needed to Develop Your Core Story

Multiple pieces of thread must be sewn together to create the fabric of your Core Story.

If you weave them together correctly, your business will have a tapestry on which to motivate and propel your business forward.

Element One: A Good Story

A good story has four main components: Conflict, character, a plot, and a premise. Your premise is the reason for your story or your origins, what you are setting out to prove – and each part of the story should reinforce it.

Your conflict is the driving force, the tension, the energy that propels the story and characters forward. The plot dictates how the story will progress, the flow and the events that have led to the story being told in the first place — the escalation of conflict to the point that the character had to act and the story began (or became interesting).

Finally, your character is you – the victor, pursuing a goal, facing adversity, battling against it and rising out of the ashes a hero.

The key to your story is to make them feel the way you want.

Element Two: Motivation

Your story needs to have something that moves the reader to want to act: instruction, inspiration, influences them to achieve greatness.

When crafting the tale that your story tells, are you providing the information to motivate someone to purchase your product or join your community? If not, reword what you are calling on them to do.

Element Three: The Founder/Hero

We all like someone to rally behind — someone we can believe in. (Think Apple’s Steve Jobs or Tesla’s Elon Musk or Microsoft’s Bill Gates – personalities larger than life.) Give your audience that someone to rally behind and  root for.

Element Four: What Inspired the Hero

What brought the hero to get out of bed and actually go after their goal?

Tell it in such a way that your audience wants to follow suit. Inspire them, entertain them, anything – just capture their attention.

Element Five: Obstacles & Adversity

What got in the way of our hero just waltzing in and blowing the market away with their new products?

For Steve Jobs, it was the fact the technology had not been invented yet – so he made it, and built it better, faster, and more stylish than ever before.

What’s at stake and what needs to be overcome to move past the obstacles and be successful?

Give your audience the information in a concise way in order to persuade them further.

Element Six: A Transformation From What Exists to Something New & Better

Most people want to know the turning point.

What made our hero take the shift from participating in the status quo to challenging it? What pushed you to create the disruption in the market?

After the customer sees the transformation from what was to what is, show off your selling points. How is your product different than everything else out there? What benefit will your product give to the consumer’s life?

Element Seven: Call to Action

You have given the reader a significant amount of information.

You have told them about your hero or main character.

And the journey they took to get to where they are now.

The obstacles they have faced and the transformation that they and the company made to create the product the consumer sees before them.

Now what?

Now, you must give the consumer a reason to do what they are named after: consume your product.

Call on them to purchase your product, or to join your community, or to give a referral to a like-minded individual.

Bring It All Together

  • Introduce the driving force, our main character
  • Explain why they were influenced to begin this journey
  • Give us an adversary
  • Provide us with background on what it took to get to the product
  • Detail conflicts (or obstacles that had to be overcome)
  • How the company is transforming that industry/market/product as we know it
  • The impact the product will have on the consumer’s life (its perceived value)
  • A call to action to join the community

Remember, this first part is more about you as the founder of the business than the business itself.

The Core Story elements are about encouraging your audience to identify with you and develop positive feelings towards you and your company.

Now Shift Focus and Give Your Business Some Personality

You have developed an excellent Core Story so far, so now it is time to have the people who have fallen in love with your story, fall in love with your business, too.

Besides the purely selfish reason of making you wealthy, what’s the most significant reason you began this company?

What makes it selfless, why is it giving back to the community or changing the way we currently go about our lives?

Detail what, exactly, the purpose of your business is — what it is promising to the consumer (and your employees).

A singular creed that distills what you want your audience to believe. The message should be easily recognizable and straightforward for the consumer to understand why it (and your business) are essential.

Why it is worth giving their attention to your product? What’s different between your business and the dozens, if not thousands, of other business competing for your audience’s attention?

Speaking of adversaries: Don’t forget about your company’s values and value to the consumer.

To many consumers a companies values and charity work matter more than product specs. Include how you’re outshining the competition in volunteering or environmental impact and set yourself apart.

In the end, the most important thing to remember is this: Your Core Story should give meaning to your business.

Give meaning to your employees — encourage them to be motivated in your success.

Give meaning to your consumers — engage with them in such a way that not purchasing your product would be a mistake.

Give meaning to yourself — lead the company in such a way that failure is not an option anymore.

About Samuel J. Woods

I'm a Conversion Copywriter and Growth Consultant. My clients work with me to build and optimize their growth systems for customer acquisition and monetization.