7 Posts Remind Us of Storytelling’s Role in Branding

By November 10, 2014Vantage Points

7 Posts Remind Us of Storytelling’s Role in Branding

by Stacie Hoffmeister

I will never forget the opening line of a seminar on luxury that I attended with several other brand stewards from the company where I worked at the time.  We were told, “The brands that you have been entrusted with were here before you were born and will be here after you die.”   I may be paraphrasing a bit, but not much.  The subtext was clear and daunting: don’t mess up.

As the seminar continued, our fear dissipated as we learned in depth stories about each brand.  It was a wonderful experience to feel as if we were part of each brand’s history and future.  We left the seminar confident, focused and on fire for our brands because we had come to more deeply understand our place in their stories.

The connection between storytelling and branding is a familiar one.  So it’s easy to take that connection for granted or consider it too basic for focus.  A strong story has the power to dissipate fear of the unknown, cultivate trust in something hardly known, and forges bonds.

The Atlantic Magazine recently published, “The Psychological Comforts of Storytelling,” by Cody C. Delistraty, an article that reminds us that storytelling is vital to human existence.  This article brings to mind others, which taken together provide empirical and intuitive proof that a feeling (supported by fact) based connection between consumer and brand is critical to long-term business success and that storytelling is a trusted driver of emotional connection.

In our current day where emotions are cultivated through online chats, texts and timelines, the role of storytelling in branding has never been more critical.  As millennial-influenced consumer behavior continues to rise, brand stories have more exposure and power to change consumer behavior for the good or the not so good.  As brand stewards, knowing our brand’s story and leading the conversation about it is necessary to avoid messing up.

Here are 7 pertinent articles on modern branding, storytelling and the importance of knowing the heart of a brand:

The Psychological Comforts of Storytelling: Stories can be a way for humans to feel that we have control over the world. They allow people to see patterns where there is chaos, meaning where there is randomness. – by ​Cody C. Delistraty – http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/11/the-psychological-comforts-of-storytelling/381964/

Know – and Harness – Your Brand’s Energy: Brands are more than their logos or their taglines. These elements are just the tip of the branding iceberg, explains , president of Sterling Marketing Group, a branding firm. – by Karen Leland – http://www.entrepreneur.com/video/239278

Understanding Branding Importance in Marketing Your Business: You may have heard something about marketing “branding,” but maybe you don’t truly understand what that that means exactly. Some people think branding is like positioning, but it is actually different. The main difference is that positioning is a fluid concept.  In other words, you can position yourself at different times in different markets as different things. Branding is more set in stone– it’s a hard-core recognition factor. – by Michael Cohn – http://www.business2community.com/branding/understanding-branding-importance-marketing-business-0975009

Will Gen Y change branding? Add to …: The Agenda 2020 series asks experts to discuss what business leaders should be doing now to prepare their organizations to be healthy, efficient and growing by 2020. Read more at tgam.ca/agenda2020. – by DAINA LAWRENCE – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/will-gen-y-change-branding/article20044054/

Building Your Brand’s Warmth and Competence: If you want more customers, you need to get warmer. It turns out customers stereotype companies the way they stereotype people. We want a combination of warmth and competence from our brands, just like we do from the people around us. – by Ray Hennessey – http://m.entrepreneur.com/article/231183

Busting the Myth of the Rational Buyer:  Intuitively, I’d always known that people often make decisions emotionally, and then justify them with logic. But I didn’t have the proof to back up this theory. Now, I understood why. – by Michael Harris –http://www.mpdailyfix.com/busting-the-myth-of-the-rational-buyer/

Three in 10 Millenials are skeptical about the ways brands market to them: One of the most difficult demographic nut to crack, Millenials, value trustworthiness of brands (31%) and overall are cynical about the ways brands market to them (33%), a recent global study by the London-based creative agency Initiative finds. – by Kate Belan – http://popsop.com/2014/09/three-in-10-millenials-are-skeptical-about-the-ways-brands-market-to-them/

Stacie Hoffmeister is the founder of FACTS + HERESIES, a branding consultancy that helps marketers to take control of their brands and unlock growth.  For over a decade she’s worked in global brand management with a focus on millennial consumers and luxury/premium categories.  Say hi on Twitter @factsheresies.  Subscribe to blog here.

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