Strategic Narrative Marketing with Guy Murrel

[00:00:00] Guy Murrel: So just the act of putting yourself out there and defining what you think the category is and taking a leadership role instantly differentiates you from your competitors.

[00:00:13] Edwin Frondozo: Good morning. Good afternoon. And good evening biz leaders. Welcome to another episode of the business leadership podcast. I'm your host Edwin friend dozo. Today, we have a very special guest. Who's an expert in strategic narrative marketing. And category leadership. Our guests has guy Morel, a thought leader who has really shaped. How companies positioned themselves in the market with innovative strategies. Guys a ton of experience in PR medium relations and strategic marketing. He's here to share his valuable insights on why category leadership is so important for B2B tech firms and how strategic narrative plays a key role in modern marketing.

In our conversation. Guy. Guy will. Guy, we'll dive deep into the details of category leadership, explaining how it can boost the company's industry. Standing he'll share. He'll share practical advice and great examples, including some wisdom from his book. Quote a practice. Quote, a practice guide to strategic narrative marketing end quote. Which offers a fresh. Which offers a fresh approach. Which offers a fresh approach. To marketing. We'll also break down the difference between the category creation and category leadership. And how aligning these ideas with a. With a company's core values can lead to success. Guy will provide tips on how business leaders can put these strategies into action to ensure their organization stands out. In the market.

So without further ado, Here we go.

Welcome to the Business Leadership Podcast, guy.

[00:02:04] Guy Murrel: you for having me.

[00:02:05] Edwin: What are your thoughts on the importance of achieving category leadership for B2B tech firms in the current market?

[00:02:11] Guy Murrel: most companies, obviously want to be category leaders. But sometimes they don't take the steps necessary to do that. So, at a higher level, category leadership is, it's always been important, but from a business standpoint, it's category leaders that are ones that, you know, they raise the most money, they get bought, and they even achieve Uh, the holy grail of like doing the IPO. So from a business standpoint, it's category leaders that really have the most business valuation to their company. From a, positioning and, and marketing standpoint, you know, in today's market, it's just increasingly harder to stand out. So. A lot of companies are all saying the same thing, and there's just so much noise and chatter in the market, it's hard to have a unique voice.

So focusing on defining and leading a category, it really provides an opportunity to have a differentiated voice, one that's, a little bit higher than what the company does. and gives them an opportunity to align around a common cause or purpose. So that's really important. A lot of companies shift around a lot. They have a lot of different positioning and messaging. There's different trends that happen and they find themselves shifting around and not being consistent in their messaging.

Defining a category. is a very purposeful effort. And also I think a lot of companies leave it up to others to define their market when every company has an opportunity to do so.

it helps with marketing. It helps with organizational alignment. And, it provides what we call like a North Star. So what does a company stand for? What is it really trying to, to move forward in the industry? And talking about yourself and what you do and your features and functions does not do that.

It provides a green field, let's say. Of thought leadership of industry vision and then defining the category. It could be a new category or or even an existing one. With ai and everything that's going on right now. Everything is changing.

So the definition of an existing category may not be current so it's an opportunity for organizations to really Kind of step up and have a higher vision and to share what they see in the market. And where their market is going. The companies that do that are the ones that stand out and are the ones that are differentiated.

[00:05:02] Edwin Frondozo: for our listeners and perhaps for clarification on my end as well. Could you delve into the concept of category creation versus category leadership? How do these concepts intersect with the company's core principles? Focus and values. I mean. In the process of defining a category. How essential is it to align with our vision, mission, and purpose.

[00:05:27] Guy Murrel: those are important. So think of the category narrative, let's say serving as an umbrella that kind of, uh, hangs over the company and not hangs over, but hangs over the messaging framework. So you have this umbrella, which is your higher level, You know, here's our purpose. Here's our, the category narrative, and then what you do, your features and functions, your mission, your values, all of those things kind of hang off of that, if that makes sense. To be honest, most companies have very similar, vision, and mission, you know, integrity, putting customer first, all of those things, and they're great. You need to have those. But the category narrative is, like I said, serves as an umbrella, for those things to hang off of, which can change, right?​

[00:06:25] Edwin Frondozo: Yeah, 100%. That that makes sense to me. Guy, you authored a book on strategic narrative marketing. It's a concept that might be new to some of our listeners. Could you briefly explain what strategic narrative marketing is. And maybe if you could also share some examples of how this approach has significantly influenced. Uh, company's position within its category.

[00:06:49] Guy Murrel: So I wrote, I wrote a book about a category strategic narrative marketing. The book, uh, really outlines the process that we use to, help a company uncover its own strategic narrative. And the trick about defining your strategic narrative is first off. It's not about you. So when we do workshops on strategic narratives, the rule is you can't talk about yourself. And that's really hard for companies to do. They love to talk about themselves. They talk about themselves all the time. So what we like to do and what the book focuses on, it's really is a, is a guide to, to doing this Which is starting off as, looking at what is the lay of the land today?

What what does the world look like today? What are the trends that are happening that are impacting our industry not our company and not our our customers? But our our industry and then what are the perceptions and misperceptions? Because there are a lot of ingrained perceptions in in markets or misperceptions and those are opportunities For companies to change the way people think about those perceptions and and to pivot off of those from there You have to define you have to put into words what you how you define the category And then you also the book also helps people Outline the tenets of the category.

I do a lot of narrative assessments of websites And I may see two or three different category concepts sprinkled throughout a website, but creating a category is not a tagline and it is not just mentioning it in, your language. So the idea with, uh, strategic narrative marketing, the output is really a category position paper. And the paper follows that outline of like, here's the world we live in. Here's the trends, here's the perceptions, misperceptions. And then here's what we see. Here's what we see is, is, is the, uh, uh, the current state of the category or a new category. Um, and then here are the tenants that make up. category itself. And again, nowhere in that paper will you see the company mentioned or its products. And that is a big challenge for companies not to talk about themselves. So that's part of the beauty of the category leadership or having a strategic narrative. It's kind of like a little side door that a lot of people don't see that side door and they don't, they don't even do that. So just the act of putting yourself out there and defining what you think the category is and taking a leadership role instantly differentiates you from your competitors. Does that make sense?

[00:09:57] Edwin Frondozo: Yeah. So what I'm hearing guy is it's one thing to define. A category that a company may want to place the flag into the, onto the hill and say, this is our category. It's another thing to be strategic and what you call strategic narrative marketing is to have that discipline to ensure that you have these, as you say, these 10 tenants or, um, to ensure that.

It's consistent throughout the language, the marketing material, I guess the organization as well.

[00:10:32] Guy Murrel: Yes, it does. It really can serve as an organizational alignment. Um, we, we have had, uh, clients where the CEO is frustrated because everybody is saying something different about the company. Everybody has a different view of it.

So you asked for an example, we do a lot of work in the software development tool space, and you may be familiar with Agile and Scrum technologies. So when that first started, there was a company in Boulder called rally software and rally had a platform to help developers implement agile, and scrum. So what they did is they knew that they had to evangelize agile to build up the credibility for people to adopt the methodology to need a tool. So we spent a lot of time focusing, Not so much on their burndown charts and the different features and functions, but more about being evangelist for agile. So rally equal to agile, right? They're just, everyone goes to work, agile, agile, agile. They're all about agile. So the whole company Was focused on, building awareness and credibility and helping people adopt it. And they were clearly the category leader, they also help, found the agile Alliance , which turned into the agile conferences, which became very big and rally was the title sponsor. They were always the category leader. in that space. Subsequently, they did an IPO and then they got purchased by, CA software for quite a bit of money.

And again, it's kind of a dual track. It's not that you're not talking about yourself. You're not doing product demos. You're not, promoting your new products and features. But they kind of had this higher level purpose, which was evangelizing and building acceptance and credibility for agile and scrum methodologies.

A lot of the bigger companies are laggards to get into the market. So when they do get into the market, they often acquire technologies and companies to supplement that. And that's exactly what happened, with rally.

[00:13:07] Edwin Frondozo: Guy. was the title of your book, strategic narrative marketing, part of your strategy to carve out a unique niche or category for your brand.

[00:13:16] Guy Murrel: So, the book that I wrote could have been a long white paper, right? I think it's about 7, 000 words. It's not a 150 page book, but the fact that I had it published and I have an ISDN number and it's in Amazon, so that's the other thing about category building.

And one, one of the nice things about it today is we live in a world of self publishing. So companies spend a lot of time writing blogs. writing papers. you can write books. You can self publish a book. Like 20 years ago, you couldn't do that. You know, now you, you can go to these self publishing houses and they'll, they'll create the book, they'll fulfill it.

They'll put it on Barnes and Noble and Amazon and all the other different places. And then again, when we go back, to the mothership of being, of awareness, which is Google, they recognize books as, great thought leadership.

Google used to have snippets, right? Which when you ask a question, it would give a snippet. And if you looked up, strategic narrative marketing or narrative marketing. A lot of times, my copy from my book would end up as being the snippet . So, yeah, it's a, an example of a case study in and of itself. I don't know if that's the right way to say it, but it helps people, walk through the process. Of developing a strategic narrative, but it is category building in and of itself.

[00:14:52] Edwin Frondozo: Yeah, a hundred percent. and to add to the list of, Platforms people could use. Podcasts is one of them as well. I would, I would assume.

[00:15:00] Guy Murrel: Yes

[00:15:01] Edwin Frondozo: For the listeners who include business leaders, executives, and startups who are interested in establishing their own category. What. Initial steps. Would you recommend for bringing it to market? Similar to how you use your book to define your category.

[00:15:19] Guy Murrel: Well, yeah So the first thing is you have to think differently you have to step back and look up higher and then you have to create , whether it's a Position paper you have to create some you have to create content around it and what we so my background is in You PR media relations. So the way that we view it is once you have all of your assets and you, you're going to update your website and your content, you have, blogs and papers ready to go.

You really need to launch it almost like a product. So we will often, tie it to a news hook. Let's say you have a new feature, Or you have something that's moving you in that's newsworthy because just announcing a new category, no one's going to pay attention to that. But it, but a news, a news hook, is an opportunity to introduce the new category and then you have your blogs go live, you make, you're doing digital marketing, making your paper available, you're doing social media. And you, it really kicks off an ongoing process really of just hammering, it's almost like a political campaign, right? It's like Bill Clinton, it's the economy stupid, doesn't matter what they talked about, it always went back to the economy. So, you know, you, you want to understand that you have to evangelize this and you can't leave it up to others.

[00:17:01] Edwin Frondozo: It's like in what I'm hearing guy. It's like a celebration to like, because, as an organization or business leader, with conviction, you're putting it out there. And you need to be communicating, celebrating. And

[00:17:13] Guy Murrel: You're exactly right You not only do you launch it externally, but you launch it internally too. Some of our, clients, they find the internal organizational alignment as valuable as the external, um, piece of it as well. So you're right. It is, you are celebrating. Kind of a new vision and a new way of thinking and new approaches. And that's exciting, right? That's a lot more exciting than announcing like the latest version of your product,

It also provides a platform for, let's say the CEO to have, you know, they often don't know what to talk about, you know, and they don't, they don't want to talk about themselves. So it also provides an opportunity. executives to really have really a framework of things to, to share with the market, to, to establish themselves as thought leaders in the category.

[00:18:16] Edwin Frondozo: Based on your experience when a company Cheves internal buy-in and it aligns its messaging effectively, how can businesses measure the success of these efforts? Is it. About the number of followers or fans, or does it come down to new signups? Are perhaps are there other metrics involved?

[00:18:36] Guy Murrel: that's a really good question. , I think the alignment piece is one of it with sales and marketing. A lot of our clients see a great improvement in their Google awareness around the category. These are hard to measure. There's not really specific metrics, the other thing that we also see, we have seen is that , others in the market start to adopt ,the narrative of the company that's introduced, let's say the new category definition. So, It's a form of flattery. The companies that are leading the category are the ones that are being mimicked. So while it may be frustrating on the surface, it really is an indicator of like the narrative is gaining traction.

If your competitors start to use it as well

[00:19:32] Edwin Frondozo: how do you see, I mean, the role of category leadership and narrative marketing evolved with technology investments like AI and consumer behavior

[00:19:42] Guy Murrel: Yeah. As I mentioned, we now live in a self publishing world and the days of having to get on airplanes and go to Boston, New York, and meet with trade magazines, that's where I come from and in my long career in this industry. So I think the opportunity is that you have more availability of platforms and places to define your own, to share your category leadership. So, I think that it's leveled the playing field. There's just more avenues now to share your vision with the new technologies that are out there, but it's still a human endeavor.

[00:20:32] Edwin Frondozo: Yeah, 100%. I appreciate that. Any final thoughts guy? , maybe some observations, actionable recommendations that you could share to those business leaders that get executives who are listening today.

[00:20:45] Guy Murrel: I think the first step in category leadership is just, educating yourself and also being willing to step outside of your own story, so to speak, to really put your ego aside. And to think differently.

[00:21:04] Edwin Frondozo: Guy, it's been an absolutee pleasure. Thank you for joining us on the business leadership podcast.

[00:21:09] Guy Murrel: Thank you, Edwin, and I appreciate the opportunity. and, look forward to staying in touch.

[00:21:14] Edwin Frondozo: That's it biz leaders. Thank you for joining me on another episode of the business leadership podcast. It's been an insightful chat with guy morale. Exploring the world of strategic narrative marketing and category leadership. Don't forget to check the show notes in the app. You're listening to right now. Four. For the links to other resources we discuss and to connect with our guests guy Morel, you can also find his book. Quote, a practice guide to strategic narrative marketing. And quote, and his thought provoking articles on Forbes. If you found value in this episode? If you've found any value. If you found value in this episode? I'd love it.

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Edwin Frondozo
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Edwin Frondozo
Host & Producer of The Business Leadership Podcast
Strategic Narrative Marketing with Guy Murrel
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