Words are how we think, stories are how we link: 3 brands with great storytelling in their soul
You just can’t argue with a memorable or evocative piece of brand storytelling. For starters, our brain processes more information, 60,000 times faster when it is presented in a visual format, so stories that have a narrative structure mean our brains follow them more easily. Storytelling also engages the heart. Storytelling can give a brand soul. Storytelling can supercharge any brand’s marketing effectiveness. Storytelling can turn customers into fans.
Alberto Manguel wrote, “The telling of stories creates the real world.” Get it right and people won’t simply sign up for your story, they sign up for your brand. Here are a few examples of big brands that have hit huge home runs with their tales.
Yeah, yeah, beer ads are everywhere. We all fell in love with Budweiser’s adorable tales of the lost dog during more than one Super Bowl game (because it’s great storytelling), but beer ads are everywhere and that means it’s difficult for a beer brand to sell a point of difference.
Guinness is a more luxurious alternative to the standard pub beer fare, in part because it’s usually more expensive and also because it has a richer, deeper flavor. So the folks at Guinness came up with some ads with big heart, including “Empty Chair”. It’s the story of a bartender who leaves a pint of Guinness at an empty table every night and no one – the birthday party-goers nor the sports fans – ever sits at the table (and anyone who even thinks of sitting at the table gets a dirty look from the bartender). The frosted glass of Guinness that sits there each and every night is a powerful image because we don't know who the beer is for until the end when the mystery is solved. Spoiler alert: a soldier who’s returned home claims his Guinness. Watch the ad and you’re bound to order a Guinness next time.
Does Google still have to market themselves? Maybe not. Yet they continue to make their fans happy by telling stories – via video – that are compelling and moving. In fact, you might start out thinking you’re watching a movie.
The premise: In 1947, the India-Pakistan partition separated many friends. After six decades of separation a granddaughter in India – and with help from Google Search – manages to surprise her grandfather by reuniting him with his childhood friend (who is now in Pakistan). Can search engines change lives? This smart, clever story titled “Reunion” will convince you it can. The video has nearly 14 million views on YouTube.
Have you seen The Lego® Movie? I did. And I didn’t go the theater because I had children begging me to take them; I went because I saw a commercial – the Official (great storytelling) Movie Trailer – and that made me want to see the movie. It’s incredibly well written, it’s entertaining for kids and adults, and the product IS the movie. In my youth, I was a masterful Legos creator, but I’ve got nothing on the moviemakers. There are deep and uplifting messages throughout. They’re selling their Legos product throughout.
Yet this kind of storytelling is about a purpose beyond selling colorful little blocks. Legos are about imagination. They’re about possibilities. If telling people that we’re never too old (or too young) to create magic, that’s a brand story I can get behind. And if you’re wondering if it convinced me to go out and buy some Legos, it did. My son will certainly be getting Legos for Christmas this year.
Brand storytelling is about creating captivating content, and it’s a great way to attract the kinds of leads your brand needs. It can also add up to revenue. But it can be daunting. You don’t have to be a big brand with a big marketing budget to be a great storyteller, either. I’ll show you some small brands doing great storytelling in another post. In the meantime, P4 Sales Consultants would love to help your brand tell its story. We invite you to check out our Business Blog or complete this short contact form and we’ll reach out to you.