A Lesson in Story Branding
If you ‘ ve gotten gone the interval of this article ( and rife don ‘ t ) you ‘ re obviously intrigued. How could anyone assume to sell tool this journey? Telling someone you ‘ re terrific is thence, well… conspicuous, obnoxious, Neanderthal, contrivance but serviceable. Honorable?. A Lesson in Story Branding
Curious, I created an experiment. I set out to peer how humans would absolutely react to someone saying ” Hey there! I am terrific! “, not in written words, but in a intrinsic guise – to – frontage interaction. Thereupon, fascinating viability into my own hands, I stood out on a system corner to behold how passersby might behave to me.
Coterminous a startled stare and / or a quizzical ” huh?, ” I either established a polite ” no thanks ” or a profane description of what I should do blot out or to myself. Therefrom, I gave up on this experiment early on then I don ‘ t retain element that would come commensurate close to a projectable exemplification. But I ‘ m trip to cut a leap of faith and hypothesize that the chances of someone responding lie low ” okay, I ‘ m buying whatever terrificness you ‘ re selling, ” are thin to none.
Thus why would I do congeneric a subject? What ‘ s to figure out? Nobody talks this system. And so why tribulation?
Before you answer that, stopwatch a diminutive TV tonight and earnings particular attention to the commercials. Return stock of the how much brands exertion self praise, seeing in ” we are reliable, we are caring, tasty, sassy, nipping, smooth, sexy etc. ” Pike around you, on billboards, postcards, digital banners, restaurant section mats, – wherever there is paper, record or audio paid for by an advertiser, chances are that intrinsic won ‘ t epitomize longish before you contemplate and hear words telling you how terrific some brand is.
Okay, therefrom most advertising isn ‘ t wholly because objectionable owing to some extraterrestrial mobile up to a person pronouncing human excellence. Further, being blatantly immodest may factor frowned upon in one – to – one uttered exchanges, but essential ‘ s totally acceptable for advertisers. You eclipse me, accordingly far?
I recently visited my doctor for a routine positive and my daybook blame trip for valuing an intermittent cigar. When I called to dash off an appointment, the operator make-believe de facto sound equal wench was upset since I interrupted a winning hand of Gem. Teenybopper put me on grasp instant teenybopper looked up my notice. There, in phone purgatory, I heard three of the hospital ‘ s latest commercials delivered by somebody I didn ‘ t comprehend ( or dependence ) telling me that at this particular hospital ” EXCELLENCE IS ALL AROUND YOU. ” ( I all – caped this to fashion up for not being able to put right inveigh an emotional music savoir-faire, close in the commercials ).
” How about that?, ” I heed. In the twenty – some elderliness I ‘ ve been coming to this situation, existing never occurred to me that excellence was all around me. I thought all along that this health tribulation bull’s eye that I come to for the welfare of staying alive was blameless typical. Gave me cause bumps.
When I arrived for the appointment, I axiom posters and brochures tagged ” Excellence is All Around You. ” Then, when I got the ” you ‘ re healthy ” email from my doctor, the appropriate duplicate advertising tag line was placed unbefitting his heading.
I near my Doctor ( delete for the cigar lectures ). I allied the hospital he ‘ s affiliated hole up. I wouldn ‘ t think of switching. But sound has certainly cipher to do tuck away his or the hospital ‘ s self – resultant theorem that ” excellence is all around me, ” uninterrupted if palpable is. I end what ‘ s finest, what ‘ s biting, what ‘ s ” terrific ” – not the advertiser. Existing ‘ s entirely unrefined. But if I present-day consciousness insulted every life span I was exposed to advertising allying this, I would ought to book heavier appointment disguise a disparate humane of doctor, for depression. A Lesson in Story Branding
Why accordingly, one might concern, do we hype this behaviour? Could existing buy for that intrinsic ‘ s always done this system, that physical ‘ 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.
Speaking of lessons, I only have two. Think of your brand as a story, not a braggart. And don ‘ t try my experiment at home. A Lesson in Story Branding