Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Evolution Of Strategic Brand Storytelling

Good marketing is good storytelling and for a product to be successful in this competitive era it must have an engaging story.  It may educate, inspire or entertain, but ultimately it must be memorable and it must extend across numerous media platforms.

As agencies, we must therefore figure out how to strategically craft the story structure of the brand using all the tools at our disposal.  Today’s marketer must think about story first before selling, because the way to the audience’s heart (and loyalty) is through compelling and memorable storytelling. In short, the foreseeable future of advertising may be less like David Ogilvy and more like Syd Field  and Joseph Campbell.

Field's most notable contribution is his articulation of the ideal storytelling paradigm "three-act structure".  Leveraging Field’s screenwriting devices such as the inciting incident, the controlling idea and genre, allows a brand story structure to be developed that motivates target customers, provides strategic clarity, builds emotional connection and most importantly, identifies the unique and authentic company characteristics that drive all brand story execution.

Joseph Campbell extends the modern storyteller an exploration of the classic hero cycle, including consistent and enduring hero patterns in literature, films, and real life.  Campbell essentially demonstrates how to apply the power of myth and symbolism with his 17 steps.

Ultimately, this power resides in the marketers' ability to cloak their product in the universal dreams, fantasies, and values of the masses.  We are therefore creating and selling modern myths that leverage the collective pool of cultural, psychological and mythical elements to create a "brand mythology."

Developing a compelling story for your brand is not an exercise in copywriting, instead strategic brand storytelling expresses the universal and differentiating truths behind your marketing.  If done effectively, brand storytelling captures engagement, defines and extends a winning narrative, responds to competitive threats, builds an emotional connection, shapes perceptions, and anchors the brand culture with an ‘ownable’ story that resonates with consumers.

The story itself is more important than the product or service.  As American Demographics put it, new media consumers will “be more tolerant of advertising because it will be more appropriate and customized.” In the new media, the goal of the marketing message is not the “purchase,” but “further interaction.” 

As life becomes a “perpetual marketing event” we will no longer be able to discern where advertising begins and where it ends. In a realm that could have been designed by Kafka, we shall all awake not as giant insects but as “productive reach” targets of an integrated brand story where we are the hero.

Need some help crafting an ‘ownable’ brand story that resonates with consumers?  We're here to help.
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Goodbuzz is a digital agency based in Toronto, Canada. We help brands create and capture value from emerging trends in technology, society and the workplace. We prototype the future - and believe the best way to predict it - is to create it.  Follow us on Facebook or Twitter or if you have any questions contact us directly.