Make Your Story



Our previous blog discussed what we believe to be one of the most overlooked but nevertheless important distinctions between Storytelling and Storymaking for the early stages of the branding process. Today, we’ll continue that conversation as it relates to positioning for start-ups and entrepreneurs.

When thinking about your story and your vision, Oishii typically advises clients to think beyond the ‘what is’— the details of your business plan — and, instead, think about the ‘why’— the core values at the center of your company. The ‘why’ is your essence, the collection of passions and inspirations that animate your mission statement. On a far more practical level, your core values are the bold promise and longevity of your brand, and offer meaningful reason for others to engage with it. You can’t do this any other way.

So, you’ve spent time on your story, roping in friends, family, clients and colleagues along the way to tell you your story, too. What next? Collect your story bits and have a brainstorming session with the data. Set aside an hour during your day for this. Time your work and try not to extend beyond an hour.

The best visual artifact to collect the information is usually a timeline; it’s a useful tool for capturing and retaining your information as you assess all of it. Your timeline should begin with your company launch, and end at the last quarter.

Now it is time to let the story mash-up begin. Start by adding your information. Then, using color-coded notes, add others’ stories about you.


Here are a few sample starter questions to frame your brainstorming session with the timeline:

  1. Why did you start your company?
  2. What was your passion?
  3. What was your expertise?
  4. Who were your earliest clients?
  5. What clients do you most enjoy working with?
  6. Which clients/projects were the most painful?
  7. Which clients/projects were the most fulfilling? 

After absorbing others’ take on your timeline story, take a step back and keep these questions in mind:

  1. Did other people give you surprising information?
  2. What was expected?
  3. What did people see as your core competency or value?
  4. What were your areas of perceived expertise?
  5. What were your perceived weaknesses?
  6. Any information you disagree with?
  7. What do you agree with? 

Congratulations. You’ve taken a bold step. There’s no going back . . . why would you want to?

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