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The power of story at NewCo Boston

Tayler Hough

Innovators, connectors, and creatives dispersed throughout the city of Boston for yesterday’s first annual MassTLC NewCo Boston event. Attendees toured the offices of members of the tech community and learned about the ideas, tools, and people that make these organizations exceptional. In reflecting on what I learned throughout the day, each session came back to something that we live and breathe by here at Experian Data Quality: it’s all about the story you tell.

While traditionally we might think of a story as something that is told through the pages of a book, or in talking with a friend, the companies at NewCo yesterday changed that narrative. Just like an author may spend weeks developing a perfect chapter, members of the tech community have identified key tactics to which individuals devote significant time, all to be sure that the story they are putting out in the market is heard.

The first example of these tactics is content

The concept of producing content, whether through research, blog posts, white papers, or websites, may seem fairly straightforward. But rather than simply finding the right words to say and discovering the right places to publish it, NewCo companies are taking that a step further. HubSpot, for example, has shifted the way they view content. “We are changing how people market and sell to be more human and holistic,” says HubSpot’s VP of Marketing Cindy Goodrich. Through their Inbound Marketing plan, they produce content that is meant to be helpful and useful for the target audience.

Additionally, we all know a good story has engaging photos. Wayfair is taking that quite literally. This online furniture company is consistently pushing the envelope with images on their site, and how they can assist and engage users. Whether through their TV advertisements, or their work to allow customers to use imagery of their actual home to envision what their new pieces will look like, they are allowing their content to speak to users, painting a picture for them and easing the buying process. And with brand awareness growing 72% since 2011, it’s safe to say it is working.

Reading the story you write, using the data you collect

Whether you are an individual or an organization, we all have a desire to know how our brand and messaging is being perceived, and how effective our initiatives are. Companies involved with NewCo Boston were constantly finding ways to both analyze their results and their story, as well as developing software that can do just that.  

Emotion Mining specifically points out the important details you can gather in relation to how people feel when they interact with your brand or product. Through a highly developed survey, rooted in psychological theory, Emotion Mining puts together results that allow companies to see how consumers are interacting with them, based on conscious and subconscious emotions. Companies are able to understand if consumers take a passive or active approach to their brand, associate it with pleasant or unpleasant feelings, or if these emotions are inward or outward. These are all key points that help businesses dive into the story they are telling, and how it is actually being read—all backed by data.

The inside story

Going inside a company is a lot like opening up a book. We can all see what’s on the cover, and we have our opinions on what’s on the inside. But once we open up the pages and have a chance to look inside, we discover the details that are pieced together to make it whole. NewCo Boston allowed these companies to tell their people stories, and culture played a significant part in writing the future of the businesses.

Whether it’s bringing your dog to work, working in a collaborative space with other startups, joining in on the standing desk trend, or any of the other perks offered at tech businesses in Boston, companies are making sure that the story of their people is just as strong as the story of their brand. One specific company is working to help other organizations do just that. WeSpire, with a slogan of “Inspiring People. Transforming Business.” has built software to ignite action among employees, and to address one of the biggest issues facing executives today: employee engagement.

With only 13 percent of employees reporting they feel engaged with their work, WeSpire’s platform allows companies to create “actions” or “projects” that their entire company can support. Through engaging employees with actions designed to change behavior, the technology is solving significant internal challenges, allowing a business’s people to continue to grow.

NewCo Boston, through the networking opportunities it created and the knowledge it shared, has perhaps helped to write some new stories. Whether it is new product innovations, culture changes, or new relationships, this was a significant day for the Boston Tech Community. So let’s continue that story. What did you learn at NewCo, and what is your company’s story?

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