Storytelling: Your Brand, Your Myth, Your Legend
I was watching a Disney movie with my family. When the end of the second act hit, I leaned over and whispered to my spouse, “I always hate this part of these movies.”
“What part?” my son asked because he hears everything (unless it’s, “Time to practice piano,” or “Did you finish your homework?”).
So, I paused the movie and launched into a lengthy diatribe about the hero’s journey and Jungian archetypes and how every story essentially follows the same arc, whether it’s a young farm boy who goes on to defeat an empire or a princess who has to overcome a curse. Or…I would have if my spouse didn’t give me a look that said, “We are in the middle of Moana, you cork it.”
Still, the end of the second act is always tough. It’s the part where the hero is at the lowest point, all allies have been pushed away, and all hope seems lost. Every story has this moment, but Disney movies and romantic comedies seem to hit it the hardest. Then, the third act is the fun part – the redemption where the team gets back together and wins the day.
Typically, that’s where you want your brand messaging – the third act. But, for a consumer to truly appreciate what you bring to the table, you have to take them on a journey – tell them a story.
Of course, a marketing story is conveyed in more than just words. It is told through your brand colors and image choices, through your font and delivery channel.
In the end, a brand’s story is as much about its consumers as it is about the brand itself. It can be a tricky line to walk, so here are a few tips that will help tell your brand’s story.
Photo Credit: UX Collective
Bring the Audience into Your Story
The digital channels we are all so familiar with have made it easier than ever to open a communication with your customers. They have also changed brand marketing forever.
Through these channels, communication becomes immediate and actionable. There’s a perception of one-on-one discussions even with a message sent to thousands of followers. This level of “personal” involvement helps consumers see themselves as a part of a brand’s story. These are the interactions that convert customers into brand ambassadors.
It is also valuable audience research. Really dig in and uncover your audience’s story. The more personalized, the better. That way, you’ll learn about them and be better prepared to answer their concerns when the need arises.
Weight Watchers recently made an interesting choice for their official social media ambassador: DJ Khaled. While the decision may at first seem a little unorthodox, DJ Khaled has a fun-loving, oversized personality on social media. He also appeals to a young demographic.
In his communications, he talks about the weight loss he is experiencing due to Weight Watchers and asks that his audience join him in his journey. According to CNN, the move was effective, Weight Watchers’ shares rose by six percent thanks to the addition of DJ Khaled.
Photo Credit: Hip Hop Enquirer
Create a Following
The is a second benefit of the DJ Khaled pairing. Weight Watchers has been interested in reaching a younger demographic. Utilizing DJ Khaled is just one step of many. Others include pivoting away from terms like “diet” to an emphasis on “healthy.”
The company has moved away from being a diet product into a lifestyle brand – and it has done so by listening to the needs of its consumers and responding.
It is the story a brand tells in response to consumer needs that will successfully create a following.
Know Your Audience So Your Story Speaks to Them
You will never achieve an appreciative audience if you are speaking a different language than them (this is meant metaphorically, but it’s likely true literally, as well).
If you understand your audience, you will understand not only what will appeal to them but also how it will appeal to them.
Think about the Beats by Dr. Dre ad featuring Kevin Garnett. It’s a spot that featured the athlete enduring negativity from a variety of sources, including TV commentators and the fans. But once he put on his headphones, all the pessimism was drowned out, and he could focus on the task at hand – getting ready for the upcoming game.
It’s a message that speaks to everybody, but it very explicitly targeted at a younger audience who often feel that the world is against them and trying to shout them down. The moment of serenity and solitude promised by the headphones is an attractive story indeed.
Photo Credit: Clio Sports
There are Stories to be Found in the Everyday
There are products and services that we use every day where we either don’t think about what brand we buy or brand loyalty is mostly due to habit. Examples include paper towels, tissue, and soap.
Well, Dove Soap has taken an inventive track for its branding. Instead of positioning its brand against the competition, it has instead turned the focus toward its audience. It’s initial attempt, the Campaign for Real Beauty, challenged stereotypical views of female beauty. More recently, the brand has a new series of body confidence and self-esteem geared toward adolescents.
In fact, Dove is barely visible in the ads – the brand is only mentioned in the title of the project (the Dove Self-Esteem Project).
Lean into the End of the Second Act
Mistakes happen. To err is human. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn something new.
There are so many clichés about mistakes because we all make them. Even brands. Accepting this – even embracing it – can make your story that much more engaging.
The best example of this is probably a series of Domino’s Pizza ads. In the spots, the CEO and other Domino’s employees would read negative comments about their product (the crust tasting like cardboard was a repeated theme) and then acknowledge how the company has addressed the issue.
The ads were shocking in their honesty, and the approach worked. The public trust in the company was renewed, and its stock rebounded by 1,500 percent.
That’s probably the most important takeaway. That regardless of the story your brand puts before the consumer, it has to be authentic. Audiences are incredibly savvy and more than capable of sniffing out half-truths and misrepresentations. Your brand has a story. Tell it, and people will respond.
For more tips about positioning your brand’s story to grab the most people’s attention, give Event Architecture a call at 972-323-9433.