|May 8, 2018|
You’ve probably heard about using storytelling in marketing and, if so, you’ve probably also heard about how powerful a tool of brand building it is.
You’ve probably also asked yourself, “What the heck does that even mean?”
While it might sound like an ill-defined industry term, used to baffle clients into upping their marketing spend, the power of storytelling has long been used to make brands more memorable and more engaging.
And it makes sense. People love stories.
From cave paintings to Hollywood blockbusters, storytelling has been with us in one form or another, since before recorded history. We all watch movies and TV series, we read books and newspapers; we follow the latest political scandals and we keep tabs on the latest goings-on of the rich and the famous.
These are all stories that we invest ourselves in on a daily basis. Even if you’ve never stopped to think about it before, you know as well as we do that there is power to storytelling.
So, the question is less about whether or not storytelling works, and more about how to make it work for your brand.
The term “storytelling” in the context of brand building can be a bit of a misnomer.
In brand storytelling, you are not necessarily telling a story in the traditional, “once upon a time” sense – you’re crafting narratives and inviting your audience to share in them. Sure, you’ll definitely produce ads that tells a story of someone facing a problem that only your products or services can provide.
On the other hand though, the most important story you can tell, the story that will allow your audience to identify with your brand, is the story of your brand. And this isn’t a story with a beginning, a middle and an end – it’s an ongoing story, the development of the character that is your brand, and an opportunity to invite your audience to be a part of the story as it unfolds.
Take the inimitable Nando’s as an example.
Each Nando’s advert is a self-contained (and usually controversially attention-grabbing) story. They’re funny little stories that most of us enjoy, remember and are sure to start a conversation about at some point.
These are good examples of storytelling in advertising, but the storytelling goes deeper than that and each of those adverts, those little stories, is a piece of the larger tale: the character development of the Nando’s brand.
Thanks to the power of their storytelling, we all know who the Nando’s brand is.
Anyone can sell chicken, but what sets Nando’s apart from any potential competitors is the unique value of their brand’s character – the quirky and irreverent South African jokester who found international success while having fun at the expense of society’s villains. We know that brand. We love that brand. And it’s because of that brand’s story that we buy their chicken.
As often as not, the presence of chicken in Nando’s commercials seems as much an afterthought as anything else. Nando’s uses storytelling to sell the Nando’s brand more than they sell their actual product.
Transparency and the expectation of it are by-products of the internet age.
Consumers expect to know what your brand is all about, and the more success you find, the more people will care about who you are as much as what you’re trying to sell.
You express that through stories. Whether they’re fictional stories, based on hypothetical situations and the buyer profiles you’ve developed over the years, or the true life story of how your company came to be, what matters is the sense of authenticity you communicate and how well your stories allow your target market to identify with your brand.
At the end of the day, your products are probably not unique, your value-adds are a dime a dozen, and your quality of service can be matched by any competitor who cares about keeping their customers.
People are looking for stories, so if you want to set yourself apart from the field, isn’t it about time your brand started telling some?
If you need help telling your story, contact Wetpaint Advertising and let our brand mechanics, craftsmen and storytellers bring your brand to life with creative, effective, results-driven marketing and advertising.