Why would you share your story?

Many commercial businesses employ professional archivists because of the economic and operational benefits they gain from exploiting their materials and sharing their stories. These are just some of the ways in which they use their archival materials:

  • Marketing their stories to inspire nostalgia, a feeling of connection or confidence in a business or product
  • Providing background information for stakeholders, such as potential funders, investors, new staff, volunteers, and customers
  • As a source of inspiration for them to develop new services and products
  • Sharing stories with staff and volunteers to engender a feeling of belonging and ownership and encourage commitment to the business
  • For celebrating events, such as anniversaries and retirements

They may also share their stories for the indirect benefits brought through good public relations by using their archive materials for:

  • Responding to enquiries from people researching ancestors, local history or business history
  • Creating educational and therapeutic resources

A wide variety of business sectors including publishing, manufacturing, finance, retail, hospitality and energy have invested in their archive as an asset. Smaller businesses and third sector organisations can learn from them and share their stories for their own benefit and that of the wider community.

Heritage half-hour

Activity C1

Using your story as an asset

In this activity you will consider the ways businesses use their archive materials to share their stories and note down ideas for your own organisation. 

This is a good activity for a group to get involved in and contribute their ideas. If you use it in a meeting it’s best to ask members to prepare steps 1-2 in advance. Alternatively, you could create a poster for people to add their ideas.

Open the Activity booklet and click on Activity C1.