The best brand stories communicate emotions and authenticity. I understand that for the past 100 years marketing was all about ads, ego-boosting ads. Today, the world is moving at a fast pace. People don’t believe advertising any more and yet we still see companies communicating quality and best company messages. Yesterday, I went to a local bakery and asked the girl at the till if the cheese pie that I got was ‘quality’. She laughed and said yes. I think that it goes without saying that if you are selling cheese pies you will not say that they are rubbish, right? So why is this still happening? The simple answer is change. People don’t want to change because it’s hard, it’s uncomfortable, it’s the comfort zone. Look at the largest advertising agencies; they sell what their clients wants because it sells and they make money. For us at IQD Agency it’s much easier to go to a client and deliver what he believes is right. Sometimes, we think that we want candy and TV like children do but we know that candy and TV is not a healthy thing for kids to do. It’s the same in marketing. People are used to ego-boosting ads and still think that it works. They can even prove it to you with bullshit impressions metrics and, of course, the opinion of their friend who works in accounting.
Have a look around you and listen to advertising. Really pay attention. What do brands communicate? It’s the same messages that you don’t pay attention to. Even if you listen to an advert on the radio or like a picture on Instagram it doesn’t mean that you will remember it after 10 seconds. Content marketing gives us this enormous opportunity to storytell and engage with our clients on an emotional level. If we want to take our brand beyond we need to storytell emotions. We all know that a brand is no longer what we tell, it’s what the consumers tell each other. When we create stories, we create a core tagline which communicates our story and our beliefs. The tagline should never be about the product or what the companies does directly, it’s indirect. For example; if we are selling water, we shouldn’t communicate that it’s The Best Water; nobody will believe it. We should communicate our values.
The truth is that brand stories are not marketing materials, they are not ads, they are not sales pitches. Brand stories should have a persona and the brand’s core beliefs.
Brands that will win in the long term are brands that have room for new roles like brand creative content director, brands that communicate authentic stories. Honesty and transparency are very important in brand storytelling. When you are creating your story it needs to have meaning, it needs to be backed up. It needs to be rooted in the reality of your brand. If a brand story is inconsistent, consumers will get confused and will turn away from the brand to search for another brand that shares an authentic story. If they don’t turn away, that product that they are buying is just a product A, it’s not an iPhone or a Nike, it’s just a pair of shoes. Did you ever notice when people talk about things, sometimes they say “I bought a new pair of shoes” and sometimes they say “I bought new Nike shoes that are phenomenal”. It’s not a coincidence that Apple users always say “let me get my iPhone” – not my phone, but my iPhone. I always say “let’s go to Starbucks” not “let’s go for coffee”, but Starbucks. That’s the key in an authentic emotional brand story.
If you want to go beyond and build a great story, you should always have 90% emotion and 10% product – you need to mix emotion with your product. Your tagline should never be what you do in a cheesy way. If you want to see a great example of a story, you should take a look at one of our clients, Charmm. Their story is Passion Gives Shape To Lights and Shadows, and you can read their story here. Subconsciously, it’s Charmm that gives shape to lights and shadows. If we tried to communicate that we were great, firstly, people would not pay attention, and secondly, they wouldn’t be intrigued. It all depends on what you want to achieve.
- Hook the audience first, introduce your product second
- Focus your story on customers having a great feeling about your brand
- Be human, be sincere