Brand Storytelling – Part of a Marketing MIX

This week I received a copy of the book ‘Around The World in 80 Brands’.

It’s a great selection of brand stories from around the world as the authoring pair travel and interview the people behind the brands. Letting readers understand what they stand for and how they have come to get where they are.

coolbrands - Around the world in 80 brands

They have also been releasing chapters online at http://aroundtheworldin80brands.wordpress.com. Well worth a follow and inspirational to take storytelling further with your own brands.

Good Storytelling enables you to connect deeply with your audience

Storytelling at a brand and marketing level is a great tool to build affinity with your audience. They see people, not a Brand, and it resonates.

Throughout the book the typical storytelling skeleton is present. One we have seen in countless books and more recently in great movies. Even the situational stories of how they managed to get interviews with some very busy owners are easy to relate to. You build an affinity with them and their journey, wondering what the next level of cheeky intro or table ‘invading’ will be.

Storytelling and the plot most used with brands has ancient roots. It’s success is proven. You’ll see this timeline and plot ring through many of my favourites and yours.

Saving Private Ryan, Star Wars, Toy Story, Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Romeo And Juliet, The Old Man And The Sea and even 50 Shades of Grey (they tell me).

The plots follow a skeleton of:

  1. Hero we can all relate to shows their likeable or understandable personality – we relate to their situation,
  2. trouble comes and they deal with it, they will be knocked down, face adversity and
  3. they get up and are where they are today.

And even storytelling Steve Jobs’ life follows a similar path. The story of Richard Branson, Mandela and most successful entrepreneurs have similar stories to tell. Adversity bringing strength.

Today’s podcast

I’ve recorded some additional comments here on the topic. (Oh, and the Volkswagen Beetle – tough in its latest rendition – has a great story, even in its name “people’s wagon”).

Storytelling is a technique with its own unique intricacies

I highlighted MIX in the title of this post as storytelling is powerful tool if used correctly. Yet is is a different beast to content marketing, how to guides and sales decks or brochures.

You might be the CMO, or even the Marketing specialist creating the pages on the website. But understanding that storytelling is about connecting with people, characters and personalities behind a brand is key.

You all have sales and the rest of the business breathing down your neck to show the ROI of marketing, to have some good consistent quick wins. Maybe your Harlem Shake clip generated some traffic and ‘buzz’ but nothing leading to sales. Then when you talk about the REASON, behind your company – it’s direction and how it got to today – the sales team have something to run with. Clients empathise, market share rises and you are closer to the companies overall goal.

It is nothing to do with product specifications or the number of high level clients your service has.
It has no spin, it is honest and as transparent as possible.

Few will get it right, but some key tips that you’ve got it wrong are:

  • Titles replace names in your storytelling.
  • Product specifications get mentioned.
  • Price is mentioned, heck, any of the 6 P’s that isn’t PEOPLE sneaks in!

Again, knowing when and how to use this tool in your marketing mix is paramount. Find where it fits with your brand and their path (story).