Communication for leaders, founders and entrepreneurs wanting to tell better stories.
The most important question that people will ask themselves before they start working with you is “Can I trust you?” But trust is a feeling, not a fact.
We’re told at school to pull the facts together, to be logical and rational, to follow the rules. As a result we’ve become less and less confident that our emotional ability can help us deliver a message that generates trust.
You can’t create trust using only logic and reason. But you can by applying the principles of storytelling to the way you communicate and to create a story that people can feel included in.
Stories aim for connection. That’s why they matter more than ever, because people don’t follow what they understand, but what they believe.
Communication designed to connect first creates a safe space for information to be delivered, for conversations to develop, for change to happen, and for customers to engage in a meaningful way.
Storytelling has become a highly sought-after skill.
Stories create the emotional angle that will turn a customer who’s ready to make a transaction into a connection. Stories connect because they allow people to feel that we see them, that we support their choices, and that we value the change they want to make.
But your business cannot create that connection if you don’t know who you are. Any business story starts with a conscious decision about what you stand for.
Story and human-centered communication is a process of distilling your purpose and values and encapsulating them as a narrative that delivers stories that engage and connect with your audience.
If marketing brings people through your door and good design and user experience make them come back, a good story makes them feel connected to what you do.
When your customers love your product or service for the same reasons you do, you’re creating a bond, a type of experience and intention that it’s difficult to replicate. And this is what the process of finding the right story is about.
At a glance
Sparking a local movement.
Communication and story strategy for an Aberdeen marine centre and cafe that became a local movement.
The Greyhope Bay marine centre began when its founder, Fiona McIntyre, decided to create a dolphin-watching centre at Greyhope Bay in Aberdeen.
She wanted to create a place for people to gather and learn about sustainability, community, environment, and the history of the local community. This was not going to be just another marine and exhibition centre.
The project needed a strategic story that could contain an ambitious vision and turn its supporters into contributors, fans, and collaborators.
Fiona knew that for her project to be successful she needed local groups and people from Aberdeen to come on board and start working together.
She needed a good story that people could feel part of.
When I started working with her she was facing the risk that her narrative would not be properly understood and so would not attract collaborators and supporters. Her vision was of a place that people would feel they belonged to, not just a building that they could enjoy. If the Greyhope Bay project did not achieve this, it would fail.
I helped Fiona conceptualise the strategic story that moved the project forward and turned Greyhope Bay into a collaborative and community-driven movement. The story provided the foundation for various marketing and fundraising campaigns. Fiona and I co-designed one of their most successful fundraising campaigns, creating a new record of £90,000 raised in nine weeks.
I currently work with Fiona and her team as communication and story strategy advisor for Greyhope Bay and Greyhope Stories.
“Natalia helped me craft a new way of fundraising, a way that would stay true to the values of my project and my story and a way that empowered community and shared the energy of the project. Once we had crafted a way to communicate how individuals, businesses and community leaders could be a part of the project, our fundraising skyrocketed, our community grew and is now beginning to multiply. Working with Natalia has been my secret weapon and I would recommend her highly and wholly.”
Founder and Director Greyhope Bay.
“I approached Natalia with a semi-formed concept and narrative for a new product. Through working with her, we fundamentally deconstructed and rebuilt the proposition. The result is now the foundation of a more authentic, deeper and more ambitious movement than I could ever have imagined. It is wonderful to have clarity of purpose, sharpness of focus and an understanding as to why this is so important for the people we want to help.”
Founder of The Community Lab. Chair, Cornelian Asset Management. Chair FetLor Youth Club.
Meaningful communication strategy for an open innovation digital platform.
Community Lab is an ambitious start-up wanting to empower individuals and ideas through open innovation . Its founder, Andrew Barrie, a successful fintech entrepreneur, wanted to create a digital space where people could come together, share ideas, connect with others collaboratively and make an impact.
He needed a strategic story that would talk to different individuals and groups, from community builders to organisations and public and private companies. The narrative needed to convey his vision for change and encapsulate the wants and needs of the people he wanted to serve.
Andrew gathered a creative group of individuals with expertise in different fields. This highly talented team needed a common narrative that would articulate all the voices and ideas generated around the product and the change they wanted to bring. Equally, they needed to engage with their first users and customers and bring them on board with a new way of working around open innovation.
I worked with Andrew and his team to create a common narrative, a communication strategy and a pilot to connect with the first customers and users.
A new narrative for new times : updating the narrative and stories of an independent investment banking firm to attract talent and customers.
Advicorp is an independent investment banking firm based in London and Rome and specialising in advising entrepreneurs. It works with a network of senior advisors offering innovative financial and strategic solutions. Advicorp needed a narrative that could bring the expertise and value of the different advisers together and a story that would resonate with dynamic and entrepreneurial companies wanting to grow.
The risk they faced was of not being able to tell their story in a way that reflected their diverse and innovative work. As a small firm operating globally, they also needed an internal narrative shared by all the advisors partnered with the firm.
Working to find its narrative allowed Advicorp to gain internal coherence and identity with its extensive network of advisors and collaborators. It also produced the right stories to attract entrepreneurs needing innovative, outside-the-box financial solutions.
“ Getting our story right was very important for us. When we started working with Natalia we were looking into reaching new clients and telling our story more clearly.
We were worried that an agency could not understand what we do and our unique story.
Natalia connected with what we do and was able to distill our story in easy-to-understand concepts, something we in turn do with our clients.
And as a result, we got more business as new clients were able to better understand the added value we could provide them with.”
“I knew what the brand was about, but I didn’t know how to structure these ideas into the story. By working with Natalia I was able to connect to the essence of the brand and my purpose. At the beginning I had a clear idea about my commitment to ethical jewellery, but I couldn’t put the brand purpose together with my personal story. Natalia has an incredible ability to understand the different elements and ideas and bring them together as one story. She absolutely brings out the best in you! I now have a real, sincere and authentic narrative aligned with my purpose that structures my brand, my design and my contribution to the world.”
Founder at Rosa Maïtea.
Creating the narrative and story for an ethical jewellery brand.
Patricia Pereda is the founder of Rosa Maïtea, an ethical jewellery brand that uses recycled gold and diamonds and 100% traceable precious stones. She works to high standards of traceability and transparence to make sure that her jewellery is ethical and beautiful and respects the women who wear it, the people who worked to extract the materials and the artisans who create the pieces.
I have worked with Patricia since she began her project. Her vision was clear, but she needed to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. She needed a strategic story reflecting her purpose, her narrative, and her values. Her narrative had to help her to connect with her mission, communicate the new product to the artisans, inform her marketing, and connect with her audience.
When we started working together she was worried that she would not be able to capture the purpose of her brand in a single narrative. Her lack of clarity about the narrative had the potential to delay the strategic decisions needed to launch the first collection.
After a period of feeling stuck, she quickly put together the company’s story and marketing strategy and launched her first collection. She felt connected to her real purpose, which gave her the strength and motivation to move forward with energy and passion and create success.
Refugio de Lobos
A pioneering sustainable neighbourhood in Patagonia:
The company had a vision and a plan, but it didn’t have a narrative explaining why its project was important and why it mattered right now.
There was a risk that local communities would not understand the project and what it meant for the area.
The company created a stronger narrative that helped them to prioritise their actions and confidently communicate the project to the local community.
“Natalia was key instrumenting our vision. At start, we as a team could not see beyond our daily battles spending energy in the wrong fronts. She enlighten us with an external view, on how to communicate and connect with our real clients, creating new supporters that share our same values.”
Vice-president at Refugio de Lobos.
Developing meaningful conversations between a company and a local community
A company that develops private-sector projects was working on a new project involving stakeholders ranging from the local authority and regional government to manufacturers and local communities.
This ambitious and transformative project was looking to create a common narrative with local communities to ensure that their voices and feedback were taken into account in the initial stages of the project’s development. The process involved a series of meetings with local community representatives, aiming to create an environment of trust in which different voices would be heard and constructive feedback could be delivered.