The legend has it that in the beginning every brand tried to engage the audience by selling them different advertisements in order to meet their KPIs. After a while, some of the kingdoms in the Brandland gather together to discuss the results. The Marketing Queen, the BrandManger Lord alongside the Sales Master wanted to find out why the tides turned and the customers found refuge on a different island where another Brand existed.
Coming back from a land far far away into our not so glamorous world, in order to understand the WHY I think we should sketch some rules about HOW storytelling is best used in this context.
Ok… the first rule of storytelling for branding is… no, I`m just kidding. There is no Fight Club approach when it comes to putting your brand forward. But there are some DO and DON'Ts.
1. Create meaningful stories. DO NOT try to turn a story into a selling covered ops tool. Meaningful is something your reader/viewer can identify as a universal truth which reflects his point of view. The story should speak about some higher common values the brand and the customer share.
2. Be authentic. DO NOT make up new values, instead, embrace the existing ones. Everybody tries to “be real” but most of the time this simple thing is misinterpreted so badly it hurts. Being authentic creates a believable story already aligned with the perception in the mindset of the consumer.
3. Make it personal. DO NOT be abstract and over conceptual. Try to identify or create characters relevant to your brand promises and build around them. Make those characters the symbols of your values, the heroes of the story so that the customer can easily relate with them.
4. Keep it simple. DO NOT try to be the next James Joyce of brand awareness. Take your time, elaborate on what you are trying to say but always keep in mind the PSS (problem, solution, success). Use a linear narrative that can be followed by anyone in every format.
5. Reflect your customer. DO NOT pitch a story before you know your audience. Remember, it is about THEM, not YOU! It's about reflecting your brand in the values of your customer, about making them feel like they could be characters of the story.
Having read many many articles on storytelling in branding and after writing a few of our own the main reason that storytelling works, in this brand-driven age, can be found in our millennia-old hunger for stories. We want to believe good will prevail. We want to hope in the end all things will be as they should. We want to feel some sort of connection with others who feel as we do.