Faced with this question, say Klaus Fog and Christian Budtz, most chief executives are struck dumb, with no idea how to reply – a telling indication of the tenuousness of their companies’ hold on their purpose and meaning. If those inside the firm cannot encapsulate the core story, how can those outside be expected to understand it?
Both Fog and Budtz, of the small Danish communications group Sigma, believe that in a world of trivia, artifice and information overload, ‘the story’ is critical not just to a company’s brands, but to its whole existence. In most companies it is lost under accretions of history and bureaucracy; it takes the obituary test to uncover and reinvigorate fundamentals.
Together with Baris Yakaboylou, Fog and Budtz have written a book about their findings: Storytelling: Branding in Practice, Springer.
Related: The Storytellers (UK)