The concept of a brand ‘telling a story’ has been with marketing as long as the discipline itself.
Lyft - the transportation network which is set to challenge Uber after a $530 million round of funding - is a good example of a company that’s taken to story-telling quickly.
They recently featured a blog which described a time when a photographer, called Marwan, picked up two customers who were on their way to get married. When he found out that they didn’t have a photographer for the wedding he offered his services for free. The couple were so appreciative that the groom made Marwan his best man. Obviously, this could have been a PR stunt, but it nevertheless serves a purpose. It paints Lyft drivers in an extremely positive light - something which taxi firms must strive to do considering some people are still wary of getting into taxis alone.
Another brand that deserves a mention is Taco Bell. Unlike Lyft, they’ve concentrated their efforts on Vine, where they regularly upload funny clips concerning the release of new menu options. Their recent ‘Breakfast Defector’ Vine was included in Marketing Magazine’s ‘Top Branded Vines of the Month’ list. Taco Bell’s content marketing has a young, lively tone and that helps to make its brand-story a compelling one, and sits in line with many other companies which are looking to appeal to the same market.
These examples, however, demonstrate how modern companies are constructing brand-stories, something that has existed well before social media. Levi Strauss, for example, had a string of adverts in the 1980’s which were not only entertaining, but emotive. They depicted a world where ‘real-men’ - who were not only admired by their own sex but irresistible to women too - were staunchly protective of their pair of Levi jeans. The campaigns were hugely successful and allowed the company to embark on a steep 12-year sales and profits increase.
Companies operating in today’s business environment have more opportunities to develop their brand story and also retell it when necessary. Although it will take considerable time and money, it will create loyalty and also attract new customers in the process.
It’s true that the ability or need for a company to tell a story is dependant on its industry focus. For companies operating in fashion, for example, it’s imperative. For companies selling carpets, perhaps not so much.
The best brands still tell the best stories.