Brand Storytelling … 8 Extraordinary Examples to Study
If you haven’t figured out how to employ brand storytelling well, you’re missing out on the huge revenue-boosting potential of your content marketing efforts. The right brand narrative has the power to increase the value of your business’s product or service by over 20 times.
Why does the story matter? It is what makes your brand significant. It’s the inspiring copy, the well-thought-out Instagram posts and website design, and the compelling video that turns mashed peanuts into Peter Pan Peanut Butter.
Brand storytelling … what defines great brand stories?
When marketing storytelling is done well, it:
- Establishes what your brand is all about – its purpose, core values, and mission
- Offers the consumer more than just a product or service, but rather an experience that transcends mundane reality
- Motivates the reader or viewer to step into that experience. This is done by crafting content in such a way that your audience feels as though they’d risk losing access to this somehow sublime experience of being a part of your brand if they don’t buy, follow, or sign up right now.
- Will boost your lead generationby as much as 16 times!
Whether you are trying to convince someone they can’t live without creamy peanut butter on toast or the financial advisory services that can set them up for a comfortable, vacation-filled retirement, it’s the way you tell the story of your brand and what you’re selling that you make an impact. This is how you can wield the true magic of experienced content marketers.
Here are the brand story examples that will show you just how powerful your content can be.
Brand storytelling examples … Guinness
Guinness is no stranger to effective brand storytelling. This video reached three million views within four days of online release. This is another exercise in concise brand storytelling with a big heart – the concept sees a group of guys playing wheelchair basketball. A simple plot; a game of wheelchair basketball followed by a pint of Guinness. The twist is that only one of the men in the group is an actual wheelchair user – the rest, it seems, are his friends who are playing wheelchair basketball so that they can all play together.
So what on Earth does this story have to do with Guinness? It is when the voiceover kicks in that the storytelling ramps up though: “Dedication, loyalty, friendship – the choices we make reveal the true nature of our character,” says a gravelly voiced chap.
The choice the men in the ad make to play wheelchair basketball is a testament to their character, and so is the choice they make when they are at the beer taps. It almost tells viewers to be the best person they can be, and drink the best quality drink they can get their hands on. You simply cannot argue with that as a memorable and evocative piece of brand storytelling – and the image of the group walking (and wheeling) away from the court will stick with you.
Marriott’s #at the Moxy
Moxy is Marriott International’s new boutique hotel brand that caters to millennial globetrotters. The brand is a trendy harmony of luxury-chic accommodation, youth hostel, and all-night bar.
The marketers for Moxy have crafted a brilliantly entertaining video series, Do Disturb, which features the host, Taryn Southern, dishing up her best cheeky antics with social media influencers like Amy Pham and Oli White.
Every episode, uber-cool Instagram shot and even the hip black and magenta site design tell the Moxy story – and allude to expert mixologist services. What wanderlust-struck 20 or 30-something can resist?
Warby Parker Eyewear
Positioning themselves as the alternative to the high-priced, oligopolize eyewear industry, Warby Parker doesn’t just sell quality glass frames and sunglasses. It invites its customers to become a part of the brand’s movement
Never heard of Parker Warby? As they write on their website, Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to create boutique-quality, classically crafted eyewear at a revolutionary price point.
Eyewear with a purpose
Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses. This means that 15% of the global population cannot effectively learn or work – a problem that Warby Parker is determined to address. They’ve partnered with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.
Eyewear startup Warby Parker’s 2013 Annual Report, is a perfect example of how important tone is in creating great visual content. This very different approach to a year-end report uses a calendar format, highlighting company events on each day. Some events are significant company milestones; others are little anecdotes showcasing office life and culture.
Wow … what a change from the typical financial results and strategic initiatives that typically fill the pages of annual reports.
The report is an excellent example of a brand showcasing its ideas, creativity, and culture in a visually engaging way. At its core, the strategy of content marketing is not just about distribution and visibility. It is about telling the world who you are and what you stand for. This design goes a long way in turning customers into brand advocates.
The design shows how to empower your content. So many companies just don’t take advantage of their great content, or they don’t know how to present their content creators. Often, in the end, they are fighting for survival as we all are. However, the brands that can express their personality, their creativity, passion, and manage their content in a way that speaks to people will create loyal customers.
That’s a story every hipster with less than 20/20 vision would appreciate – and tell their friends about. Warby Parker gets the whole storytelling thing right, providing a socially-conscious brand with a genuine vision. The company donates a portion of their monthly profits to their nonprofit partners to make basic eye care and affordable eyewear available to communities in developing countries. This huge gesture is just a part of the Warby Parker story. And one which can yield a lifetime commitment from customers.
Zendesk, the makers of customer support software, created one of the most hilarious and ingenious marketing campaigns to drum up interest in their company. Their ‘anti-storytelling’ has the effect of making their brand extremely likable and even trustworthy as they cast a very human impression – something any small business owner would appreciate from a SaaS provider.
Instead of creating a video to tell the story of Zendesk, they crafted an entertaining video about Zendesk Alternative. Which happens to be a fictional indie rock band, frustrated that a customer support company ‘stole’ their band name, yet admitting their need for Zendesk’s services to keep their careers going. To finish this masterful example off beautifully, the band writes a cheesy jingle about the importance of customer service.
We recently viewed a Dawn Liquid Detergent story told in one of their advertisements that caught our eye for several reasons. An effective TV ad that combined traditional advertising with advocacy advertising and creative storytelling. Something you don’t see very often.
Have you seen this recent Dawn story in their TV commercial? If not, you should invest 1 minute now and check it out. It will prove beneficial in reviewing their great story.
Interesting information, well presented, showing emotion, always holds attention, yes? Keep in mind that people don’t watch ads … they watch what interests them. Your stories must be interesting to your target communities.
This story message certainly grabs and holds attention based on emotion, superb visuals, and great issue advocacy.
Mouth is a living, breathing anthology for some of the most passionate food and beverage makers in America. The company exists to tell the (really interesting) brand stories behind the indie creators of everything from artisanal chocolates and hand-made pasta to small-batch tequila and gourmet honey – and to sell the food and beverage products as gift packages and subscriptions on their mouth-watering e-commerce site.
You have to admit, learning about apples, grown on a small orchard in upstate New York by people who view making cider as one of the last vestiges of true American folk culture, is pretty compelling marketing. By posting the personal stories of the small business owners who make these products, Mouth adds a whole new level of meaning and value to the items they sell.
Nike – equality campaign
Nike has always excelled at brand storytelling. One of their best campaigns is Equality. It makes a strong statement about the company as a force for positive social change, offering something more to today’s athletes than just a pair of sneakers and branded workout gear.
This is an example of using brand storytelling to connect with the audience, inviting them to become a part of a collective movement by wearing Nike products, or at the very least, engaging on social media, such as sharing one of the brands always inspiring videos.
Soulcycle – find your soul
SoulCycle has come up with a powerful story to compel people to pay close to the price equivalent of a monthly membership at your typical gym, for one 45-minute class. While this brand does offer a high-end fitness experience, with a focus on atmosphere (there’s music, the instructors are more inspirational speaker than fitness coaches, and there are candles), it’s the narrative that entices people to try it out.
SoulCycle offers a tribal, transcendent experience with each workout. “Our riders share a SOUL experience. We laugh, we cry, we grow – and we do it together, as a community.” There’s the promise of real motivation and a sense of belonging. The high-powered workout almost becomes an afterthought to the excitement of signing up for a SoulCycle cardio party.
Great brand stories may not change the world, but they will let your target market understand why your brand is worth their time and money.
The bottom line
To be effective in this new era, we as marketers need to see our jobs differently. No more just focusing on metrics like clicks, video views or social media shares. We must successfully integrate our function with other business functions to create entire brand experiences that serve the customer all the way through their experiences throughout the business.
We can do better. Much better. But first, we need to stop seeing ourselves as crafters of clever brand messages and become creators of positive brand experiences.
There can never be enough focus on continuous improvement on brand marketing, independent of how well the business is doing. It seems many brands are looking to take their success to a new level. This is an excellent time to make a statement with their brand storytelling marketing. Changing before you have to is always a good idea.
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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