When GovDelivery first entered the Federal market in 2003, we were a small company serving mostly local governments and a few state agencies. With our team based in Minnesota we were told to “avoid Federal government like the plague” because we would never be able to serve such a confusing bureaucracy as a small company based out of the Midwest. What we found was something entirely different than we expected: a city and many agencies packed with passionate and committed communicators yearning for the latest technology to help them support large and complicated mission objectives.
We also found tough customers with high expectations. These customers wanted proofs of concepts and case studies, deep security documents, and demonstrable service level commitments. It took us a year to get our first pilot client — the Office of Recruitment at the State Department. Now, we serve every Federal department in some capacity and are the largest outside referrer of traffic to that first client (see referral stats here) as well as to newer Federal endeavors such as HealthCare.gov.
What we learned along the way is that the information our clients wanted to share and the stories they wanted to tell the public were powerful indeed. Our clients knew intuitively that these stories could drive better outcomes, and our role was to bring the technology and insight to the table to help bring this belief to fruition.
With stories in mind, we are bringing in Paul Smith, author of Lead with a Story, as the keynote speaker for GovDelivery’s Digital Communication Event next week in Washington, D.C. There are over 900 people registered for the event, and they are in for a treat. Lead with a Story is a masterpiece, and I am confident that Paul Smith will deliver a keynote worthy of his excellent book. Stories matter. As Paul says, they move people to take action, change behavior, and interact in new ways. They are also memorable when so many other forms of modern communication can be forgettable. Stories play an important role in a communications strategy oriented around driving awesome results.
I look forward to hearing from Paul and the other speakers next week including some amazing government communicators and technologists who will sit on our panel. Join us! I can’t wait to see you there.