John Montagu was the 4th Earl of Sandwich and he loved playing cards. He actually spent so much time at the cards table, that he hardly ever found time to eat. So he came up with the idea of eating meat between two slices of toast, so that he could eat with one hand, while keeping the other hand free for cards. And perhaps was invented one of the world’s most popular meals – the sandwich..
What’s fascinating about this story is that, although you are very likely going to forget who invented the sandwich, you are not going to forget how it was invented. Therein lies the power of storytelling..
Stories form the basis of all human interaction. We introduce ourselves with stories. We narrate incidents from holiday trips, we bring up events from daily life, all in the form of stories. They make life interesting and give us the best way to connect with people. We are always ready to listen to stories, and this is where the opportunity lies for brands to connect with its audience – with powerful, compelling stories..
The key to telling great stories
Everyone tells stories, from little children to great artists. But what sets storytellers apart is their ability to grab our attention and transport us into their story. They do this not only by capturing details in vivid colours, but also by moving dramatically to a chosen end-point.
Focus is the key to telling any great story. Most brands fall into the trap of talking about too many things and not having a single-minded focus to their story. Say, BMW could have said their cars are stylish, powerful and spacious. But no, they chose to stick one story for the last 40 years - BMWs are for people who love driving.
So, how to tell your brand story?
First, define your brand
What is it that you are offering? What consumer need you are fulfilling? What makes you different from others? By answering these questions, you will get that much closer to finding your brand story. Like, Diet Coke has a unique proposition for its consumers and it reflects in their stories they tell.
Next, understand your customers.
If you are going to craft a compelling brand story, you need to understand who your consumers are. Their wants, their dreams and their ambitions. For instance, Converse creates relatable stories by appealing to the rebellious nature of teenagers and twenty-something adults.
Then, find your hook
Once you have captured what your brand offers, what makes it different and what your audience wants, you arrive at a proposition for your brand that becomes your hook. For example, De Beers took the not-so-popular diamonds in 1940s, made it the ultimate symbol of ever-lasting love and romance, with one iconic tagline.
Here are 5 examples of storytelling that works:.
1. Paper Boat: Life is still beautiful
Paper Boat, the traditional Indian drinks brand, takes us on a nostalgic walk down memory lane and narrates stories from our childhoods.
2. Raymond: The Complete Man
Raymond’s ‘The Complete Man’ is one of those timeless brand propositions and it even finds relevance in today’s context, as told in this beautiful film.
3. Google Search: Reunion
The internet savvy generation needs no introduction to Google. But for the millions in India who still aren’t completely aware, this reunion story of two long lost friends perfectly captures how much Google is a part of our everyday lives.
4. Tipp-Ex YouTube Campaign: Tipp-Ex’s interactive YouTube campaign went viral in 2010 by letting viewers rewrite the ending to the story “A Hunter shoots a Bear”.
5. The Lego Movie: In what is perhaps the best example of brand storytelling ever, Lego managed to create a masterful, thoroughly entertaining and inspiring 90-minute story, using the product as the star.
It comes as no surprise that some of the best communication in the world are stories well told. Stories make the biggest impact and have the strongest emotional connect in the least amount of time. Which is why, behind the success of every great brand, lies a great story.
This article was originally published in CXOtoday.com.