Storytelling is nothing new. Brands have always sought to communicate their message in an entertaining and memorable way that seeks an emotional investment from their customers. It is how successful marketers have created much-loved brands. It’s only recently that the advertising industry has felt the need to name this act. Still, there is plenty to learn from the brands that are doing storytelling right.
Some interesting lessons lie in The Brand Storytelling Survey, which Aesop and OnePoll conducted. It recognized brands that demonstrate a “heroic sense of who they are, what they stand for, and what their ultimate purpose is.” Or, in more conventional terms, the application of effective brand strategy.
The questions the survey asked were telling: Which brands are you intrigued to see what they’ll do next? Which brands create their own world? Which brands produce content that you want to hear/see?
It would surprise no one that Apple ranked highest in the results for those questions. Not only is Apple a great storyteller, but it also entices through innovation. Millions of people around the globe believe Apple’s products are highly relevant to their lifestyle and simply can’t wait to see what’s coming next. They buy into the Apple world with multiple devices, syncing to Apple’s cloud services and populating them with content and tools from iTunes, the App Store, Newsstand and much more. It’s this entire world that builds a preference for an Apple product whenever a new device is considered.
Other top “storytelling brands” included Cadbury, Walkers, McDonald’s and Guinness.
Of course, a large part of the story lies in the craft in which it is told, especially as we all became far more visually driven beings. “The Power of Visual Storytelling,” authored on behalf of the leading content marketing platform NewsCred and Getty Images, makes a number of interesting points. At the center of it all is the belief that images “help to capture your audience’s attention, reach deep into the hearts and minds, and they can accomplish all this (literally) at the speed of light.” Again, nothing new here, except for the fact that the proliferation of mobile has made compelling imagery all the more powerful and necessary.
All told, in an age of digital excess, people yearn for something that speaks to them personally. The brands that ignite emotions and speak to the human experience are the ones likely to ignite the kind of connection that secures a strong and stable bond with their customers for life. And that’s the story all brands want to see come true.
Belinda Green – digital strategist, gyro Manchester
Belinda has 15+ years agency experience gained in a number of roles, including Creative Director of both digital and integrated agencies, Copywriter, Brand Planner and now Digital Strategist. Before joining gyro, Belinda taught on both undergraduate and post-graduate courses in the School of Design at The University of Leeds, UK.