We all love a challenge but imagine being landed with a brief to promote a company with the following characteristics…
- The business won’t be profitable for 50 years
- It’s launching next week but there won’t be clarity over its future for another decade
- It will require technology that doesn’t exist yet
Impossible? Then how did such a company with exactly all of these characteristics achieve widespread global media coverage last week?
The company in question is Planetary Resources and the answer is simple – they told a story that captured the imagination of your average man or woman. A story that involved space, celebrities, money, the great unknown and a sense of adventure. Now that’s a story.
For me, two of the most important elements of the Planetary Resources story were heroes and the sense of adventure.
- Real-life heroes – Any great story revolves around a hero. In this case there were two heroes. Firstly, Planetary Resources has Google co-founder Larry Page as an investor. Google is the pioneer search engine and has facilitated information gatherers for years now, so much so that Google is now a verb in the English language. Planetary Resources also has film-maker James Cameron on board, a man who was the first human to tweet from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Both heroes of our time, in my mind.
- The great unknown – The focus of Planetary Resources, we learnt last week, is to mine asteroids in space. Space has always interested human-kind due to its enormity and because it represents endless possibilities and worlds. The first landing on the moon captured the imagination of the world but our fascination with the great unknown remains as strong as ever.
The real stand-out of this story, however, was its ability to tap into something central to some of the best stories ever told – a sense of adventure. As human beings we’re always looking at the ‘what’s next’, and what new places we can explore. That includes space. As Cosmologist Carl Sagan once wrote: “We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.”
Of course, few companies have the backing of major personalities or benefit from huge upfront investment, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have exciting stories to tell. Whether it’s the drive of a CEO to go it alone and establish a new business or the aim of a company to do battle against the established guard isn’t important. What’s important is uncovering the exciting tales within a business and telling those stories to people that matter.
What’s the most exciting story within your organisation, and how have you been telling it to date?