We’ve shared stories from the dawn of human civilization – for good reason. Stories capture our attention and build community by bringing ideas, feelings, and experiences to life in a memorable way. So much so that companies are increasingly adopting brand storytelling in the age of connected digital consumers.
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What is brand storytelling?
Brand storytelling is defined as the art of shaping a company’s identity through the use of stories and storytelling techniques to create an emotional response and establish meaningful connections.
When done right, research shows the powerful effects of storytelling on us:
Therefore, in an age where capturing consumer attention is the ultimate commodity, it has never been more important for companies to tell the right stories. Stories that make us stop on our way, stories that bring us to tears, stories that challenge us and change our perspective.
There’s a magical spark that happens when consumers truly connect with a brand’s story, but how do companies source those outlandish, one-of-a-kind stories? Inspired by our book, The Law of Brand Storytelling Here are three great examples of brand storytelling that you might have overlooked.
Brand Storytelling Example 1: Land Of Land Rovers Campaign
Land Rover showcases why the best stories come From other people
In celebration of Land Rover’s 70th Anniversary, the company has brought to life the true story of , “Land of Land Rovers”, a remote area in the Indian Himalayas. The video tells the story of local drivers who relied on a fleet of meticulously maintained 1957 Land Rovers for transport and refueling along the rugged mountain roads between two village lanes, Maneybhanjang and Sandakphu .
To bring this remarkable story to life, Land Rover’s team made the village of Maneybhanjang their home for ten days to get to know and experience these brave drivers in their daily lives. . The end result delights viewers with its stunning footage, while hearing from motorists and villagers only reinforces the Land Rover’s incredible off-road capabilities.
The Best Stories Aren’t Your Own
The Land Rover campaign provides a prime example and reminder that the best stories are not your own but those of your customers and fans. Finding those stories can be difficult, but when you find stories that truly touch people’s hearts, invest in bringing them to life and prioritizing them over your product message.
Your action item: Get to know your customers
To uncover the best customer stories, our best tip is to invest in getting to know your customers. Don’t ask customers to share their stories and memories with your company or products through social media or email campaigns, run contests to encourage stories, top brands Create a culture of sharing and storytelling.
Plus, consider the many direct customer touchpoints in your business, from sales to customer care, public relations, retail staff, and more. Frontline workers always have the best stories, but don’t necessarily know who to share them with. Whether it’s through regular check-ins, internal contests, or targeted employee communications in newsletters or in in-store employee break rooms, create processes for employee engagement. share member.
Brand Storytelling Example #2: Ikea Private Life Improvement Campaign
IKEA Singapore highlights the power of humor in storytelling
Every company speaks to the value of their products and services, but how many successfully turn those products or services into a funny yet relatable story? Consider taking a page from IKEA Singapore’s shelf help Guru campaign. The video campaign features Fille Güte, a ‘Shelf Help Guru’ who wants to take IKEA customers on a ‘shelf discovery’ journey to improve their private lives in the most private areas: their bedroom and bathroom.
What makes the video stand out is the way it uses bold scenarios and fun wordplay to illustrate real-life furniture and storage solutions from IKEA. The use of humor is noticed, which really engages the audience while positioning IKEA as the retail store worth buying to improve your home.
However, what’s interesting about this brand storytelling example from IKEA Singapore is how the company continues the story with its customers on Facebook with a Shelf Help Guru Contest. During the contest, IKEA Singapore challenged fans to ask Shelf Help Guru questions on how to improve their bedroom or bathroom for a chance to win $50 gift cards. While a seemingly simple idea, IKEA Singapore has an expert Shelf Help Guru personally respond to every comment with a humorous meme answering the person’s question with a link to the relevant IKEA product page .
Don’t try too hard to be personal with your customers
IKEA Singapore’s campaign speaks to the fact that companies shouldn’t be afraid to personalize with their customers, even if that means making a little fun of themselves. While humor can be hard to master, our best tip is to tailor your humor to your brand’s voice and values. Humor should be an extension of your brand voice and incorporated into your broader storytelling and marketing strategy. The brands with the best and most authentic tones, in addition to the funniest ones, are the ones that know deeply who they are and what makes them special. These brands also deeply understand how their customers perceive them, plus their needs, wants, and desires. The ‘secret sauce’ comes from translating these important insights, values and differentiators into a smart communication style that eliminates boredom and benefits personality.
In addition, IKEA’s campaign showcases how succeeding in today’s digital age is not just about campaigning, but about creating a positive experience for your customers.
Your Action Items: Connect with your Customer Service staff face-to-face so they understand key messages to communicate
One helpful tip is to connect with your customer-facing staff, such as community managers and customer service representatives. These people are always available to talk and interact with customers every day. This campaign is a good reminder of how valuable their efforts are in driving further engagement around your brand storytelling efforts.
Telling an unbelievable story is one thing, but in fact the story is just the beginning. For example, when we tell a story to our friends and family, it creates a reaction and conversation between the narrator and the receiver. Why don’t we want to be like companies? As you develop your brand story, make sure to engage in interactive activities to further amplify and activate your community around them. Make sure your employees who come into contact with your customers know the “back story,” inspiration, key messages, and why the story is important so they are empowered to continue the conversation.
Brand Storytelling Example #3: Sanlam Bank’s #OneRandMan Campaign
Sanlam Bank showcases Changeable Storytelling
Not to be outdone by their consumer counterparts, the financial services industry is still able to put the reality of people at the heart of their stories. The following example from Sanlam Bank may not be a tear, but it claims to be an example of how storytelling helps people lead better lives.
In South Africa, research shows that most people don’t save much of their paycheck. As much as that, that household debt averages about 75% of their after-tax income . To educate South Africans on the importance of saving money, Sanlam Bank has released a 5-part web series called One Rand Man, about a young professional embarking on a social experiment – only to be paid in one rand. For context, one rand in US currency is about seven cents. The video series chronicles his trials and tribulations when paying his daily expenses in coins. Each week, Sanlam Bank also partners with reputable local personal finance news outlets to share advice and tips based on issues facing One Rand Man.
Tell the story of One Rand Man, combined with value personal finance thought leader , has struck a chord in South Africans. The series of videos are Watch over 900,000 times , became the most viewed ad on YouTube in South Africa during the campaign. Moreover, the effort generates more than 74 million media impressions, earning more than 41 worth millions of rand when appearing in the media for the company (approximately $2.8 million US dollars). The huge success of One Rand Man spawned One Rand Family and other similar sequels, which continue to inspire and educate South Africans on the importance of personal finance and save money.
Whether you’re trying to spark change or demonstrate to customers why your product or service is right for them, learn the stories that are true or highly relevant.
While One Rand Man is not a true story, witnessing how quickly a large pile of one rand was spent in a month is highly intuitive and allows South Africans to empathize with the expenses in their daily lives. Humorous situations like trying to pay the bills with hundreds of cents make the content interesting, while using the plot to include expert advice and tips for added credibility. It also demonstrates the power of brand storytelling, combined with personalized content and thought leadership, which can drive web traffic, sales, demo requests, and more.
Your Actions: Visual Leverage Storytelling to bring your stories to life
One helpful tip for businesses is to leverage visual storytelling to bring your stories to life. As humans, we have the ability to process visual information more efficiently, to the point where it makes our stories more memorable:
For companies to cut through the clutter, focus on how your visuals can aid or lead in your storytelling efforts. Whether it’s a supported blog post Picture or inspirational videos, the more companies can ensure message consistency in every element of their storytelling efforts, the more they will connect with their audiences.
Are you ready to tell your Brand story?
Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio are co-authors of The Law of Brand Storytelling : Win ― and Keep ― Customer’s Heart and Mind (No v. 2018).