By Rosanna Perri
The biggest obstacle most brands have today is staying relevant in this digitally overstimulated society. Who doesn’t like to hear a good story? Especially when it pertains to a product we consumers want to buy. Straightforward and honest. Relatable and personalized. No nonsense.
Bernadette Jiwa, a Brand marketing business advisor, blogger, bestselling author and storyteller does a great job explaining the importance of creating a brand story. A compelling story the customer wants to hear. Bernadette’s many blog posts have a consistent message; the customer experience is first and foremost. Her blog, The Five-Step Brand Story Framework, she summarizes that the reality today is that most businesses focus on the ‘how’ of storytelling rather than the ‘who’ and ‘why’. An approach that must be changed in order to survive in this highly competitive world.
A short brand history lesson…let’s go over how branding came to be and how brand storytelling has evolved over time.
Let’s get down to the basics…So what is branding? It is the process of creating a name, label, sign and/or design and applying it to a product, property or service that differentiates it from the rest. It is as old as ancient Babylon, Egypt, Greece and Rome when shopkeepers identified their shops with characters and markings. Who was the target audience? The consumers. Why did they do it? They did it to be uniquely identifiable to the population. The story was on ‘what’, the product/brand was.
With the industrial revolution came mass labor and the widespread distribution of publications. This provided a much bigger reach for anyone trying to feature their brands/products. The story was to highlight the brand, features, benefits and price. This enabled consumers to make a decision from afar giving them what they wanted.
Jumping ahead to the early twentieth century, the story brands told was convincing the consumers how their products are what they needed. In the 1950‘s, many businesses recognized this angle was no longer enough to gain an advantage in the market. Switching from ‘what’ to ‘who’, the consumer, by emotionally connecting to the audience and promoting the experience relevant for that era.
As we soar into the 21st century and the ever-changing digital era taking over the brand experience, it is more important now than ever that the story the brands tell must focus on a targeted consumer. Giving life to the brand by giving it a living and breathing character in the story narrative. Relating to the consumer on an emotional and personal level much faster and far-reaching across the globe through the many social and digital media. By selecting the appropriate media for the target audience for each brand story campaigns.
Dove did a great job for the past decade and a half of re-inventing its brand by connecting with the ‘real’ people and not the idealized versions of beauty. Honest and humble storytelling campaigns creating a brand persona relevant today. A lesson for many brands!
Bernadette Jiwa sums it up well…
What does the future hold for brands? Telling a brand story by focusing on the consumers. Being relatable, honest, adaptable and consistent.
This will make the world trust, support and follow them.
Making a brand…. ‘To Be or Not To Be’.