Why is Brand Storytelling so Effective in Marketing?
Before we can dive into brand storytelling it is important to understand exactly what a brand is – in this case, it’s easier to start with what it’s not…
A brand is not the product being sold, nor is it created from designs, colours or logos; a brand is not it’s branding. This is a company’s unique identifier, a way to differentiate a product from the competition. Through certain marketing techniques, perceptions can be forged in people’s minds about the attributes of a product – this perception is what makes a brand. Jerry McLaughlin summarises it as, “your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind.”
Using storytelling as a marketing technique is a way of building a certain perception about a company, or an emotional connection to an everyday product.
So What Exactly is Brand Storytelling?
Simply put, it’s placing your creative work into a structure that has a beginning, a middle and an end – just like a story – but it’s also about making that story compelling and truthful, just as you would in film making. If it’s done well, a story has the power to elevate a brand above others by making it memorable in an emotional way.
Developing a brand story isn’t just about standing out or getting noticed, it should be used as a Content Marketing technique to build meaningful relationships and loyalty with your customers; a tool to establish your brand in the market as a trusted name that people would want to buy into. Below are two brilliant examples of companies that have illustrated their brand story through some stunning advertising and storytelling:
Canal+ – The Bear
“The more you watch Canal+, the more you love cinema”
The core message is that Canal+ have a wealth of films within their online library that will make you passionate about cinema. They could have simply revealed a montage of film clips that are currently available, or stated the number of films they have online, but that would be really generic. Would you have formed an emotional connection to that? Probably not. Instead, by creating and telling the story of a memorable character like the bear, a movie-watching bear turned Hollywood director, it instantly becomes an engaging, funny and memorable campaign.
John Lewis – Always a Woman
“Never Knowingly Undersold on quality, price and service. Our lifelong commitment to you”
John Lewis certainly knows how to tug at our heartstrings when it comes to their advertising campaigns. They heavily concentrate on making their campaigns memorable and relatable and in this example created by Adam & Eve, we are immersed into the life of a female character from infancy to a maturity. The story takes you on a 90-second journey through the ups and downs of this woman’s life and you feel as if you can relate to her successes and struggles. Just as you begin to create that emotional connection, the message “Our lifelong commitment to you” appears on the screen, simultaneously reiterating the John Lewis brand values, whilst shaping our perception.
In my opinion, storytelling makes any campaign richer; it helps the audience understand what a brand stands for and builds a relationship between the customer and the brand. It also brings more value to an idea, lifting it from a concept to another level, where it can connect better with the right customers.
Why do Brands Tell Stories?
Narrative has been a key feature of human interaction for thousands of years, so it is not surprising that audiences buy into a brand with a great story behind it. Scientifically, a story is the most powerful and effective way to communicate a message in an interesting, entertaining way, which is why storytelling is so successful when utilised in marketing.
Brand storytelling isn’t just about memory; it’s about our emotional connections too. Stories engage our emotions, and this is why they resonate with us and deliver information so effectively.
Storytelling can act as a creative marketing tool for companies to influence their target audience towards a desired perception of their brand. If the brand continues to live up to this perception, the customer will be more inclined to trust and stay loyal to the brand, building a meaningful and lasting relationship.
Do you have a brand story? How are you sharing it? We’d love to hear about it, reach us via @gmdesignltd!
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