I first saw this painting (Salute to the Brave) at the Battle of Britain Air Show at Duxford in September 2019. Wandering around some of the tented stalls during a rain delay, I walked into an exhibition of WWII art and the painting, one of artist Anthony Saunders’ latest, demanded attention among the hundreds of other works.
I was attracted by the technical mastery of the artist, such incredible detail, but confused by what the artist was trying to portray – a damaged B-17 flying next to a German Messerschmitt yet, apparently, not in a fight manoeuvre?
Before I could ponder further, a voice behind me asked if I knew the backstory. The stall owner proceeded to explain that the painting depicted a real event from 1943 when a B-17 was returning, badly damaged, from a bombing mission over Germany and was intercepted by the German fighter. Rather than finish off the stricken bomber, the Luftwaffe ace showed incredible compassion and, risking court martial and subsequent execution, he escorted the B-17 back to the safety of England. The Flying Fortress pilot was Charlie Brown, and the compassionate German was Franz Stigler. They met years later and remained close friends until their deaths in 2008.
Suddenly the painting came alive, given its context, and went from a piece of 2-D technical excellence to a multi-dimensional story alive on the canvas and in my mind. It went from something I’d have forgotten about within an hour to something that will live long in my memory.
It’s this kind of context, your backstory, that will bring your solution alive. It’s what Simon Sinek called ‘the Why’.
It’s what Jim Collins refers to as ‘Purpose’ – an organisation’s “fundamental reason for existence beyond just making money”. Coupled with a set of essential and enduring tenets, or ‘core values’, Collins demonstrated in his book ‘Built to Last’ how companies operating under this ‘core ideology’ outperformed the stock market by a factor of 15x.
Here at Domino, our Purpose (the Why) is ‘to help small B2B tech companies succeed’. We have an affinity for tech founders who, having created some traction themselves, are now looking to scale their business with more formal sales and marketing processes. But, it’s not easy as we discussed in this recent post on making that first sales hire and why B2B digital marketing is more important.
Why does it matter that small B2B tech companies are successful? Because we believe that solutions to many of the major world problems will be fixed by technology. For example, taking plastic from the sea and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These innovations are generally coming from smaller tech companies, not larger ones, hence our purpose being to help small B2B tech companies succeed.
Helping founders with, quite possibly, their greatest existential threat (once they’ve got some market traction) by smoothing that transition to a formal marketing and sales function is our ‘why’. We do this by leveraging advanced digital marketing techniques to generate sales leads for our clients.
It wasn’t lead generation that was the issue that made this personal for me, it was the cap raise, board management and some personal issues. But it is personal, and where we can best help others then that’s where we’re going to focus our efforts. Our expertise is in B2B digital marketing, we deliver leads, thereby, helping our clients with that transition to a formal, working, scalable, marketing and sales function.
What’s your backstory and how can you use that to communicate your company to the outside world?