Disruptive advertising defines brand storytelling as organizations/brands using a narrative that they have carefully crafted, to create an authentic and genuine connection with their audience. Brands craft these stories to evoke emotions in their target audience, to forge long lasting relationships and create their mark within the industry in which they exist. Maverick marketers and advertisers encourage brands to look beyond the facts and figures about their product/service and dive deeper into the people and/or ideas behind the product/service. They look to connect with the brand at a level deeper than the purchase offer. The idea of brand storytelling seeks to remove the forced persuasion that brands use to sell their products and also remove the sense of facelessness and disconnect that brands present to consumers. Consumers now want to engage with a story of the organizations.
Brand storytelling is certainly not a new phenomenon that has been encouraged by the modern era of consumer skepticism. On the contrary, brand storytelling manifested itself through different tools dating back to the 1920s. That is, it is as old as the days of traditional marketing and advertising, but only became more prominent as a separate entity recently. Brand storytelling has evolved and has definitely become its own discussion. It dates back to the 1910s when companies used the telephone to reach out to consumers and sell their products using a scripted story. A trained representative of the company would be used to call potential clients. Brand storytelling moved to radio, where companies would sponsor ads and the radio broadcasters would sell the company stories for them.
Fast forward to 2019, brand storytelling has become the consumers’ playfield. Brands now create an authentic story that resonates with its consumers, who then, in turn, share the story to their own networks. Storytelling has become a way for the brand’s supporters to become a true part of the brand; to become advocates for the brand-it is not the brand’s story, it is the brand and its tribe’s story. Large brands like Coca-Cola have pioneered brand storytelling through various activities like the Coca-Cola Journey which aims to bring to life the stories “bubbling beneath the surface of the brand”. The new-age brand storytelling draws from some olden day methods like John Deere who had launched the Furrow in the 1930s and telephone marketing in the 1930s.
In a new-age filled with brands trying to throw all the “perfect, glossy” facts and figures about the products/services, standing out is a necessity in order for your story as a brand to uniquely resonate with your intended audience. This is where storytelling comes in for brand.- it helps brands to become memorable and unique in a pool of tonnes of brands trying to capture the attention of the same audience. Crafting an authentic story that highlights the mission and vision of the brand, the problems it is solving, its challenges and successes and how it has addressed the pain points of the consumers will go a long way in developing a solid story that cannot be duplicated.
Brand storytelling also helps organizations build a tribe of loyal consumers who feel like they are a part of the brand and understand the “human” in the brand. Building a tribe of loyal customers means turning a brand into a full experience that the audience can be a part of. For example, Apple has built experience by firstly making its brand about being bold, taking risks and being modern. It has attached forward-thinking to its brand and does this through the release of new versions of the iPhone for example, which its loyal customers have to keep up with and be “bold” enough to take the risk of investing in the new, modern version.
Lastly, stories make the brand more human, as opposed to the facelessness entities that dictate their own stories to the audience as traditional marketing portrayed brands to be. Through their stories, brands can now engage in social impact stories by taking stands for or against social issues.
Brand storytelling is crucial for brands in this day and age. People are driven by emotions, and consumer decisions to make purchases are influenced by how they feel about the brand. How consumers feel about a brand now heavily depends on the story they tell, and how that story fits into the consumer’s life.