A story is a narrative designed to interest, create a connection, amuse, or instruct. People are wired for story. Stories fire people up, inspire, strike a chord, capture imagination, and build affinity. Stories create memories. They transmit information efficiently.
Brand Stories are a powerful tool for building Brands. In addition to evoking emotional connections with consumers, Brand Stories can inspire employees and Agency Creatives. There are many different types of Brand Stories including:
- Historical stories (Tom’s Shoes One For One Movement)
- Consumer experience stories (J&J’s Our Stories)
- Brand Legends (Nordstrom’s Tire Return)
The apocryphal Nordstrom’s Tire return story has all the right stuff. A guy walks into a Fairbanks, Alaska, Nordstrom’s to return snow tires. Never mind that Nordstrom’s doesn’t sell tires. The clerk sees the price on the tires and hands the man $145. This legend has bolstered Nordstrom’s image by conveying that the customer is always right, even when he’s provably wrong. And it illustrates the qualities of an enduring Brand Story including:
- Linked to Brand Purpose and/or Promise
- Conflict/Tension with Brand as protagonist
- Short, Simple, Sticky, Spreadable
- Mildly incongruent
Brand Builders can also use Stories to share consumer insights and build consumer empathy (e.g. – Story sharing after ethnographic research).
It’s equally easy to create negative Brand Stories. On a recent trip to Asia, my luggage was lost. Rushed upon arrival, I asked the concierge if he could get me deodorant. He said “yes, but we’ll have to charge you 2x the price”. I paid extra bit, but won’t patronize that hotel and will post my story on-line. How are you leveraging the power of Story to build your Brand?