Using simple narratives to build powerful brands

by Litmus Branding  |  11th Feb, 2017 in Branding
Using simple narratives to build powerful brands

A few days back I came across a South African TV ad of Bell’s Whisky. If you haven’t watched it yet, I recommend you do.

It is a simple story that talks about the efforts that a father puts in to learn how to read, only because he wants to read the book that his son has written. It overwhelms the son when the father finally tells him that he read his book. The joy calls for a small celebration with a glass of Bell’s Whisky.

Of course the objective of the ad was to build on the brand… Of course the entire thing was staged…. but then who cares? The fact is that it did create a remarkable impact on the minds of the viewers. The Brand gained its share of visibility with more than a million views and the only thing that made this possible was a story that was engaging and remarkable.

No matter how good your Brand Story is; if you cannot narrate it in a simple and compelling way, it can do you no good.

An excellent example is the simple story template that Donald Trump used for winning the American election. Of course the win did put the entire country of America into a state of shock. Nevertheless, it is the simple narrative technique that did the trick.

Often it is not the story but the narration that makes all the difference. As human beings, there are certain core narrative elements that we tend to react to, in a strong way. Many savvy leaders have understood this and managed to gain influence; yet there are thousands who have failed to capture the attention of the masses despite their best intentions. The reason is only one – They did not apply the correct narrative structure.

So, if you want your story to be heard, you have to stick to a singular narrative and a few simple rules.

As a marketer, if you manage to understand this core narrative structure thoroughly, you can get your brand story heard by using the very same story techniques that Mr. Trump used.

Ford, the car giant, understands this very well, which is why the company has decided to emphasize the passion that it has for its products through simple and effective storytelling. It came up with an eight-part documentary for the launch of its Focus RS Sports Car in January this year.

The documentary (which was released as weekly episodes on YouTube) included all the setbacks, conflicts and compromises that Ford’s team of engineers faced, while working under tremendous pressure so as to meet the deadlines. In case you do happen to watch this, you will understand the kind of passion that went into creating this amazing sports car.

Nike has been inspiring people with its ‘Just do it’ slogan for years now. This time it used a compelling brand story that focused on athletic accomplishment. It all started with profiling Steve Prefontaine, the American Athlete and ever since then it has been gaining momentum, reinforcing its story through many prominent athletes. It is a dream that Nike wants to sell… the dream of achieving an athletic accomplishment…. and to sell this dream it uses storytelling that is not only emotive but also aspirational.

Richard Branson uses his own story of chasing his dream to promote the group of Virgin companies that he started. He talks about how he left school, started his own magazine, opened his own record company, before he built up his portfolio of 200 companies.

A brand story is often the foundation on which you build your future growth strategy. It is not something you keep referring to every time you launch your marketing campaign or issue your press release.

Storytelling in the world of business is not about spinning a fairy tale. It is about how your product or service came into existence… who you are… what you do…. in what way you add value to the lives of people…. how you plan to meet their needs and ease their troubles…. and so on.

It is not actually about narrating a story; it is about telling what is true. You have to narrate your facts, but in a simple, understandable and compelling way. So, how do you make your Brand Story Compelling enough for your customers?

There are a few things you need to keep in mind in order to make your brand story simple yet compelling:

Tell the truth

Truth should be the cornerstone of anything that you create. Include real people, real situations, true facts and genuine emotions. Focus more on showing instead of telling. Explain it in a way that helps people relate to it. Emphasize on adding value to the lives of your customers.

Make it Human

You may be a B2B business; but ultimately it is people who use your products and services. So, whatever you create, it needs to be about people. It should be believable and also universal enough so as to be relevant.

Keep the Genuineness intact

Offer your audience a fresh perspective through your story. Tell that interesting facts about your company. Explain to them why it is important for them to listen to you.

Add Value to the lives of your customers

No one wants to know how good you are at what you do. Your target audience is not there to applaud you. This is why many brand stories come across as boring and corporate-centric. If you fail to offer value through your content (text, images, videos, slideshows or audio files), you are only wasting your time and efforts.

If you wish to build a powerful brand, you will have to create a brand story that is memorable and compelling. It should create interest for your brand and help people connect with your brand. It is this connection that can help convert your target audience into your loyal customers.

So, have you crafted your Brand story yet?

Litmus Branding is a 21-Year-Old branding, advertising, and digital marketing agency. We have clients all across the world in various sectors such as FMCG, construction, automotive, industries, education, and eCommerce, to name a few. At Litmus, we enjoy the process of building brands, every day.

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