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Chapter 9 | Narrative Guidebook

Bring It On

What is the thing you know you’re better at than anyone else?

To pull your entire Narrative together, find the one element that is the essence of what you’re about.

Putting it all together

Bring It On is the essence of what you’re about, the ground on which you want to compete.

Over the chapters of this Guidebook, you’ve identified the different building blocks that go into the design of a Narrative. Now, we will look a final element that pulls it all together.  

We began with the Shared Purpose that defines your business in a way that makes it universally relevant and engaging. You can think about Narrative as expressing three dimensions of this purpose.  

  • Differentiation: Why your approach is different than others (Path to Purpose)
  • Authenticity: Why you are genuinely qualified to fulfill this purpose (Company DNA)
  • Relationship: How you relate to others and how they relate to you (Contribution & Brand Roles)

Here’s how the other elements fit in:

  • Engagement: How you pull people into your orbit (Mindshift)
  • Progress: How you stay aligned to your purpose and measure success (Metrics)

So how do these all come together? We use a test called Bring It On.

Bring It On is the element of your Narrative that is the essence of what you are about. The ground on which you want to compete. The thing that you know you are better at than anyone else.

Find your Bring It On

If a competitor said they wanted to compete on this thing, you would say “Bring it on!”

Your Bring It On is the one thing you are better at than anyone in the world.

We aren’t looking for a value proposition here, although it might be related to that.

Your Bring It On is the focal point of your Narrative.

The tricky part of finding your Bring It On is that it is not as obvious as you might think. We often take our greatest gift for granted. It's so obvious to us that we assume others can see it too. Or it comes so easily that we assume it can’t be a source of real differentiation or advantage.

Examples

  • Imagine if Microsoft said, “We are going to compete by being user-friendly and having elegant design.” Apple would say “Bring it on!”
  • Imagine if Dunkin Donuts said, “We are going to create more inviting environments as a third place.” Starbucks would say “Bring it on!”

Exercise

Bring It On

Take a look through your Narrative and see which of the elements you feel really defines and distinguishes your business.

See if you can boil it down to a phrase or saying that captures the essence of the Narrative.

Ask yourself: on what would we happily compete against anyone in the world?

Use the worksheet to record your Bring It On.

Recap

What is the thing you know you’re better at than anyone else?

  • Bring It On is the essence of what you’re about, the ground on which you want to compete.
  • Here’s the test: if a competitor said they wanted to compete with you on this thing, you would say “Bring it on!”