Essential storytelling tips every startup could use: Google Venture’s Shernaz Daver on Building It Up with Bertelsmann


We all love stories. Stories are an essential part of our day-to-day communications and an effective narrative has the potential to breathe life into your brand. It’s important for brands to integrate storytelling into their marketing strategy in a way that they evoke emotions in potential and existing customers and build personal relationships with potential and existing customers. If done well, brand narratives can do wonders for the business: from turning a brand into a legacy to generating profit and winning the trust and loyalty of audiences.

That’s precisely why brands like Apple, Netflix, Google, et al. have been able to build an extremely loyal customer base. And as per Shernaz Daver, Executive Advisor, Google Ventures, this story exists in every business. All that founders need to do is understand and represent it in a way that it becomes an essential component of their existence.

“No founder can start a company without a definite story. It is always there when you are starting your company or thinking about your product-market-fit, your first funding, or what kind of employees you need. So, whether you are talking about it or not, your story is unknowingly always there in your journey. You tell it to your employees, consumers, investors and all the relevant stakeholders on a daily basis," explains Shernaz.

Shernaz also believes that these narratives play a crucial role in the face of competition or at a time when a start-up goes through its inevitable pangs such as downsizing, buyouts, investors exiting. But sometimes even after getting the story right, founders get trapped in misunderstanding who their significant stakeholders are and how should the narratives change while talking to them.

Storytelling to stakeholders

A business that aims to grow, must be absolutely clear about who they are building the company for. In most of the cases, the expectation is that the product and the company will offer great value to the consumers - who will benefit directly from the product, and the investors- who will see the value in the product and will invest.

But what most of the founders seem to overlook is that employees, who are key to building the product and the company as a whole, are the first and probably the most important stakeholders. It is therefore critical that the story and vision of the brand is first most effectively communicated to them. As Shernaz puts it, “Your internal audience is your harshest critic and the most valued stakeholders. If they walk out of the door, a lot of your knowledge, and ability to execute the next level of the company, walks out too.”

Shernaz also shares how to be an effective communicator while scaling up, how the narratives change and why Netflix’s Reed Hastings is one of the effective storytellers in this episode of Building It Up.

Click here to hear the how to build a narrative that boosts your brand’s value proposition.

Building It Up with Bertelsmann is India’s first growth focused podcast. It features honest, candid and to-the-point conversations on entrepreneurship and growth-pangs of start-ups. Listen to leaders of the start-up community share what goes behind taking a company from 10 to 100 and how to solve some of the biggest growth challenges.


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