Opportunity Story: Strategic Narrative Underground Session 6

This weekend, my family and I are staying at the Truckee Donner Lodge. It’s a standard hotel, with standard amenities and nothing exciting. From the front desk to the bathroom, the whole experience is a well-known, well-rehearsed process. Check-in happens the same way it happens in thousands of other places. The room has a TV, WIFI, A/C, etc. Although this hotel does not belong to a chain, it feels like it was designed based on the identical narrative that thousands of US hotels re-enact every day: providing shelter.

We picked this place because we needed somewhere to sleep while visiting relatives in Tahoe. It’s the first time we’ve come here. For us, this hotel promises an uneventful stay in an uncommon location. That’s the opportunity that we’re interested in.

The strategic narrative of this business requires almost no creative effort. It’s all predictable. Guests get no surprise. The owner makes a profit and perhaps fulfills a personal dream. The hotel provides economic opportunities for the local community.

Say you wanted to open a similar hotel in Truckee, you could do it based on the same strategy. You would share a piece of the market. However, you would probably need to lower your costs because offering the same promise constantly means that customers choose between you and the Truckee Donner Lodge. They will pick whoever is cheaper. The Truckee Donner Lodge already got read of hair conditioner in the shower. The shampoo bottle now says “conditioning shampoo”. That saved a few cents. And if another similar hotel opens in Truckee, now you need to cut even more.

But what if you could avoid that race to the bottom? You would then need to start a more innovative kind of hotel, with a new promise. You would have to build a strategic narrative based on a different opportunity.

That’s true for any innovative business.


The opportunity story is one of the four stories of my strategic narrative model.

Last Thursday, in my Strategic Narrative Underground Session, we explored the decisions you have to make to create a compelling one. You can watch the replay here.

Here is what we covered.

Talking points

  1. A strategic narrative is a system of stories.
  2. There are four sources of inspiration in a narrative - the four stories.
  3. The question it answers: “Where are you taking us?”.
  4. Where are How Blue Moon Burger, Slack, and Mod Pizza taking us?
  5. A powerful way to invite your audience into participants.
  6. You’re not the main character anymore.
  7. Create a sense of belonging.
  8. A threat can also create an opportunity.
  9. Make sure that the opportunity is within reach.
  10. Success stories help make the opportunity reachable.
  11. A basic archetype to get you started with your opportunity story.

Enjoying this? Join us next Thursday, June 10th, at 9:00 am Pacific. It’s FREE.

I am inviting you every Thursday at 9:00 am Pacific to attend a free 30-minute talk+conversation about one of the strategic narrative principles in the book I am writing. I call these meetings Strategic Narrative Underground Sessions.

It is an opportunity to connect, learn and provide input on a piece of work that you might end up using for your own benefit. For me, it’s a chance to test new ideas.

If you’d like to check out what we’ve covered so far, you can now watch the recordings of our previous sessions here on Youtube.

Register in advance for this meeting here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

A bientôt!

Your Strategic Narrative In 30 Seconds Or Less
What Gets Noticed