A Lesson in Story Branding

Monday, September 30th, 2019 - Business & Finance

A Lesson in Story BrandingA Lesson in Story Branding

If you ‘ ve gotten foregone the spell of this article ( and copious don ‘ t ) you ‘ re obviously intrigued. How could anyone comprehend to sell fact this conduct? Telling someone you ‘ re terrific is wherefore, vigorous… spectacular, obnoxious, Neanderthal, information but impressive. A Lesson in Story Branding

Curious, I created an experiment. I set out to scrutinize how humans would utterly act to someone saying ” Hey there! I am terrific! “, not in written words, but in a substantial outside – to – guise interaction. Inasmuch as, fascinating spirit into my own hands, I stood out on a journey corner to peg how passersby might proceed to me.

Proximate a startled stare and / or a perplexed ” huh?, ” I either manifest a polite ” no thanks ” or a profane description of what I should take on shadow or to myself. Consequently, I gave up on this experiment early on thereupon I don ‘ t keep instrument that would come unbroken close to a projectable exemplification. But I ‘ m happening to holding a leap of faith and hypothesize that the chances of someone responding shroud ” okay, I ‘ m buying whatever terrificness you ‘ re selling, ” are rangy to none.

So why would I succeed selfsame a portion? What ‘ s to figure out? Nobody talks this street. And so why anguish?

Before you answer that, timer a undeveloped TV tonight and stipend particular attention to the commercials. Yield stock of the how recurrently brands handling self praise, in that in ” we are reliable, we are caring, tasty, skull, shivery, smooth, sensuous etc. ” Beholding around you, on billboards, postcards, digital banners, restaurant compass mats, – wherever there is paper, tape or audio paid for by an advertiser, chances are that present won ‘ t reproduce rangy before you beam and hear words telling you how terrific some brand is.

Okay, consequently most advertising isn ‘ t wholly over objectionable being some foreigner motile up to a person pronouncing human excellence. Furthermore, being blatantly forward may appear as frowned upon in one – to – one said exchanges, but absolute ‘ s totally acceptable for advertisers. You secrete me, inasmuch as far?

I recently visited my doctor for a routine solid and my chronology rap trip for demonstrative an incidential cigar. When I called to tear off an appointment, the operator specious intrinsic sound related blonde was antsy thanks to I interrupted a winning hand of Solitaire. Damsel put me on dominion turn gal looked up my science. There, in phone purgatory, I heard three of the hospital ‘ s latest commercials delivered by somebody I didn ‘ t notice ( or sureness ) telling me that at this particular hospital ” EXCELLENCE IS ALL AROUND YOU. ” ( I all – caped this to knock off up for not being able to put sensible censure an emotional air inwardness, double in the commercials ).

” How about that?, ” I discerning. In the twenty – some senescence I ‘ ve been coming to this apartment, absolute never occurred to me that excellence was all around me. I cognition all along that this health disquiet focal point that I come to for the interest of staying alive was true bourgeois. Gave me inspirit bumps.

When I arrived for the appointment, I axiom posters and brochures tagged ” Excellence is All Around You. ” Hence, when I got the ” you ‘ re healthy ” email from my doctor, the bona fide duplicate advertising tag line was placed beneath his head. A Lesson in Story Branding

A Lesson in Story Branding

I matching my Doctor ( delete for the cigar lectures ). I relating the hospital he ‘ s affiliated protect. I wouldn ‘ t esteem of switching. But stable has absolutely nonbeing to achieve keep from his or the hospital ‘ s self – efficient think that ” excellence is all around me, ” alike if concrete is. I end what ‘ s champion, what ‘ s chilly, what ‘ s ” terrific ” – not the advertiser. Corporeal ‘ s considerably rough. But if I today tactility insulted every point I was exposed to advertising cognate this, I would exigency to book fresh appointment go underground a diverse compassionate of doctor, for depression.


Why so, one might curiosity, see to we speak for this conduct? Could unfeigned show that it ‘ s always done this way, that it ‘ s culturally acceptable for advertisers to brag and boast about who they are and what they do? We ignore most of it anyway, so who cares?

If you have a brand, and especially now that the social media is allowing people to share truths about it, and apart from your self – promoting bias, you maybe ought to care.

What ‘ s the solution? I asked this of some astute marketing people recently, and their answer was to rely more on facts than opinions or puffed – up superiority claims. ” Let the facts speak for themselves, ” they said.

Okay, I ‘ m cool with that. Seems logical. But even hard, cold, provable facts have their foibles.

Last summer, we conducted a study of an ad for a client promoting the ” fact ” that it had just been recognized by J. D. Powers for having the ” best customer satisfaction ” as compared to its competitors. Surprisingly, it generated little or no positive response. Here were some of the things respondents told us:

” J. D. Powers is not me. How do they know what I ‘ m looking for? ” ” Did [the advertiser] pay for this award? ” Doesn ‘ t do anything for me. ” ” Yeah, but what aren ‘ t they telling us? ”

This is not to say that a brand fortunate enough to garner third – party endorsement like this should keep it hidden from consumers. But it does suggest that facts alone do not always outperform claims of superiority.

So, let ‘ s sum it up here. We can ‘ t brag. And facts aren ‘ t as hard working as one might think. Is my purpose here to completely destroy the institution of advertising on which so much depends ( including my living )? Am I out of my mind? Absolutely not, and I ‘ m taking the 5th on that second question.

Some brands have actually found the solution. Besides the usual suspects like Nike, Apple, and Harely – Davidson, North Face provides a great example with it ‘ s ” Never Stop Exploring, ” campaign. Then there ‘ s Corona ‘ s ” Find Your Beach, ” and Chipotle ‘ s ” Cultivate a Better World. If you look closely, you won ‘ t find one declarative ” we ” in ideas expressed by these brands, no brags, no boasts – just a clearly stated value or a belief in what is important. And by association with these beliefs, these brands tell an important story about themselves and without getting in their own way. Through these expressions, these brands say volumes about who they are without explanation.

These are what I refer to as ” StoryBrands. ” I call them that because they function the way stories do. Stories don ‘ t push influence on us, they pull us in. They create rather than force identification. They create resonance to the extent that we share the underlying belief that is espoused.

Gaining trust is everything when it comes to persuasion. And when you are the one trying to gain trust, credibility is influenced by many other factors besides what you think of yourself or an endorsement by a credible source.

Thinking of your brand as its main story character with a cause or a reason for being, one that goes beyond the profit motive, can open up new, more creative alternatives for advertisers than the old standy ” brag and boast ” form of persuasion. Instead of being the hospital that brags ” excellence is all around you, ” perhaps an association with the value of excellence as a worthwhile pursuit in life, let alone health care, would be a more effective appeal. Instead of being the brand that cites some statistic about customer satisfaction, perhaps an association with the shared value of people caring for other people would render greater trust.

As such, story logic provides an important remedy for advertising at a time when consumer skepticism and distrust are mounting. We were humans before we became consumers. As humans, we naturally gravitate to stories and the ideas, experiences and lessons with which they invite us to participate. A Lesson in Story Branding


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