Posts Tagged ‘brand storytelling’

☞ Whatever brand storytelling is, it is clear that it is more than just a minimalist approach to storytelling, where narratives are merely defined in terms of a stringing of events. The more traditional conception of narrative, with interesting plots, characters and even heroes, is at work here. The approach in brand storytelling is also qualitative, where value judgments are passed on what makes a good or effective narrative: not every story would do the job. This article looks at the hero. One difference from the traditional hero however, is that the hero of a brand story may not necessarily be anthropomorphic, but could very well be the brand itself. Thematically, the brand story should also involve a big idea which promises to improve the lot of everyone who makes use of the brand.

“At the center of every brand story is a hero. The hero could be an idea, a person, or a thing– to be effective at brand storytelling, it’s critical to know what attributes define the inner character of the hero. The hero, of course, is the brand itself. Like any good story that teaches and informs us about a higher ideal, brand storytelling is about the higher purpose of why the hero exists and why we should care.

The notion of brand storytelling is one that is growing in popularity among marketers these days. Yet so much “storytelling” continues to be nothing more than outbound messaging and selling. That’s no surprise because it’s the job of every marketer to message and sell. If you’re not selling something, then you’re not marketing right?

For this reason it’s in the marketer’s self interest to “message” out directly, rather than engage people in the ideas and lessons they care about.

Improving our condition

Every enduring story is based on a transcendent idea bigger than the story itself. The elements of any story – characters, plot, and environment – can clarify, focus, and influence the idea’s expression, but it’s always the big idea that drives the brand story.

The hero of the story is the character who possesses the big idea. And the heart of that idea “teaches us to improve our condition”.  And it’s our “condition” we care most about! Creating value is about improving the condition of people’s lives.  From the dawn of language, stories have taught humans how to improve the conditions of life.

To break through the clutter of messaging bombarding the mind, every brand must represent a single idea that improves the condition of the customer. Our hero the brand has committed to embarking on that journey. Through the hero’s example we are more in touch with what makes us all the better for it.”

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☞ Brand storytelling is a much used term. But what does it mean? Here is an attempt to define it. Like all such attempts, one suspects that not everyone will agree with how it is defined here.

“What is brand storytelling, really? There’s a lot of hype around it these days. But in a business context, what does “storytelling” really mean? And more importantly, what’s the net takeaway of all the discourse surrounding it?

When seeking to align on what something really means, when all else fails, ask Merriam. According to Merriam-Webster, storytelling is: (1) the accounting of events or incidents, and (2) the stating of facts pertinent to solving a particular question.

The second definition is the most relevant in a business context, considering that the ultimate goal of brand marketing and corporate communications is to convince target consumers that they (still) need the brand. Likewise, “brand storytelling” really means the accounting of facts that solve the question: “Why do I (the consumer) need the brand?” The unspoken part of that mandate, of course, is to do so with creativity, innovation, utility and entertainment value. A difficult challenge to be sure. But when planned and executed well, thoughtful brand storytelling can increase revenue and brand value.”

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☞ Authenticity appears to be a more important issue, thus far, on my Cinematic Narrative blog. The following article, on brand storytelling, highlights its general importance. As we have seen on the Cinematic Narrative blog, the issue of authenticity is not only confined to narratives that purport to be non-fictional, such as Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, but it might also be an issue in some fictional narratives, such as Tarantino’s Django Unchained. It is therefore an issue that applies to narrative in general, especially if the narrative touches on some contentious concerns of the real world.

“One thing that all good stories have in common is authenticity; the ability to portray characters and plotlines in a way that give them both longevity and a very real impact in our lives, whether fictional or based on true life experience.

So, why shouldn’t storytelling transcend to today’s fast-paced, always-connected world and more particularly play a crucial role in the way a brand engages people?

Enter the narrative and its ability to convey and establish a brand that rings true to its consumers. Based on the fundamentals of storytelling it can play an invaluable role in the way creatives develop and deliver communication messages and campaigns that go beyond the clutter in today’s flooded marketplace.

Explains Ricardo Rocha, executive creative director at Etiket, an Irene-based, multi-award winning advertising agency: “A brand should be seen as a person that has a story to tell. People build their personalities through context which is the direct result of narrative that develops through their past, present and future.””

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