Every company has a story
A core narrative is an epic story, without which customers, supply chain partners, investors, and the world, simply would not believe in, or care about what a company says or has to offer.
There are different kinds of "core narratives." Below are examples of each, from the past to the future, for businesses large and small.
The Market Position
The Technology Trajectory
The Historical Perspective
The Customer Experience
The Crossroads. Amdahl Corporation, 1989
IBM has represented the "bellwether" of American business for over 80 years. With the advent of commercial computing in the 1950's, the company embarked on a journey to communicate the virtues of the new technologies. IBM engaged the services of the legendary architects and designers Charles and Ray Eames (http://www.eamesoffice.com) to create a series of films and exhibits. When IBM engineer Gene Amdahl split from the company and started Amdahl corporation as a competitor, it was a daunting task. Who could match the Eames' work? Blue Circle Branding partner Robert Lundahl accepted the challenge on behalf of Gene Amdahl's new company.
"The Crossroads" met the challenge by showing, like IBM, Amdahl was "everywhere," from planet Neptune (Voyager Spacecraft), to the ATM's we take for granted. Lundahl matched IBM's quality image by telling a visual story that speaks as much with pictures as with words.
Internet on Sun: No Barriers. Sun Microsystems, 1995
In the early years of Sun Microsystems the company communicated from an engineering perspective. Sales engineer training and detailed software explanations were common. As the internet came into being, Sun's mission clarified beyond the limited market of engineering workstations. Director of the Science Office, John Gage, had coined the phrase "The Network is the Computer," re-defining and re-positioning the company's products and purpose. How would this new vision be given voice?
The enlightened, yet serious tone underscored the lights were on at Sun. Those lights not only included Gage and CEO Scott McNealy, but Chief Technical Officer Eric Schmidt, who would later become Google's CEO and Chairman. "Internet on Sun: No Barriers" established a technology trajectory for Sun -- and for the industry -- that literally wrote history in advance. Produced and Directed by Robert Lundahl, written by Robert Lundahl and Dan Schwartz.
SPARC: THE POWER OF IDEAS. Sun Microsystems, 2002
Sun Microsystems' industry leading servers (now Oracle) achieved dominance based on chip architecture of their own design. In the 00's, the multi-core, multi-threaded SPARC chips, manufactured by Texas Instruments, began to face market competition from AMD and Intel. The question, "Is SPARC dead?" began to be heard. Sun "doubled down," reinforcing that SPARC would indeed remain the core of the Sun line of products. That meant telling an "epic story" about how the development of the chips "made" the company. The SPARC story was the "core narrative," it's very DNA. The fact that this story had not been told was a serious liability. The early Sun, with an engineering-only mindset, focused on short cycle product releases and tactics, overlooking its most basic narrative. That would become a cautionary tale. Released at the launch of Sun's "Compute Ranch," a multi-million dollar data processing facility. Written, Produced and Directed by Robert Lundahl, Executive Producers, David Howard and Rob Ludeman.
The Evolution of Communication. Adobe systems, 2006.
Adobe Systems Co-CEO Charles "Chuck" Geschke appears in this positioning film, highlighting advances in modern communication technologies. Our story begins with famed technology "guru" Douglas Engelbart, inventor of the mouse, and "father of multimedia," delivering his famed multimedia demo -- based on work completed at SRI (Stanford Research Institute) in 1968. Also appearing in the film alongside Geschke and Engelbart are Wired editor, Gary Wolf, and inventor of the cell phone, Martin Cooper. Adobe sought to position development of open publishing tools including the .pdf, next to seminal technologies like Gutenberg's printing press. The film celebrates freedom to publish and access to tools. Written and produced by Robert Lundahl.
A MASSIVE CHANGE IN THINKING. STANTIVE TECHNOLOGIES/SALESFORCE, 2014
Salesforce AppExchange partner, Stantive Technologies, hired our team to create a management training seminar for VP level executives to facilitate communication, exchange of ideas, and provide tools for adopting a communications and messaging approach. Part of this opportunity included creating a "Corporate Constitution" video based on the experience. As the executive team was relatively new to the company and to one another, the goal of achieving alignment on content and style was elusive. Coaching was required. That "Real Time" coaching focused on communicating from the "customer perspective." This "Internal-only" document represents that quest. This resulted in a "massive shift in thinking," which happens to be the title of the video. Produced by Robert Lundahl and Lura Lee.
FREAK SHOW: ANDY WARHOL IN LA JOLLA, 1968. TIM BESSELL SURFBOARDS, 2014
What do the world's top grossing artist, a San Diego surfboard manufacturer, and corporations across the world have in common? Their businesses depend on a "Core Narrative." Tim Bessell's business had to grow to exist in a competitive action sports marketplace. In 2011, he negotiated for the rights to use 48,000 images from Pop Art legend Andy Warhol's estate, to manufacture the world's first Andy Warhol surfboards. But if the perception were to be that Tim's was as an art world "carpetbagger," his creations would have no authenticity, and their value would be reduced. For Tim, a Fine Arts major, he had not only an affinity, but a shared experience. Telling that story was key to the credibility of his work, and profits. Tim is so proud of our work, he displays this film prominently on his homepage http://timbessell.com. Produced by Robert Lundahl and Will Griffith. Written and Directed by Robert Lundahl, ©Copyright, Robert Lundahl & Tim Bessell. As seen in Vogue Magazine.