To begin with, talking about a brand’s history requires recognizing endless factors that define what it is today. History is the sum of a past that converges in the brand’s “what” and “how” or stories that gave it life. That is why it is necessary to know those facts that marked the milestones of its history to understand the brand’s evolution. Also the stories that were shaping it. That is storytelling.
According to Kevin Keller, brands establish associations with their past and some significant historical events. These associations may have to do with personal experiences and episodes. Or, on the other hand, be related to past behaviors and experiences of friends, family, or others.
That means that brands build their history based on people. They are who ultimately validate them and make them part of their life. They do this through their personal experiences and interaction with their peers. Therein lies all the power of the brand’s history. And storytelling is a fundamental element to connecting with the emotional channel of the audience.
The importance of storytelling
As previously mentioned, the brand’s history is part of its brand equity and generates a capitalization effect throughout its life cycle. The result is the positioning point where you are today, your capital value. That point, usually established at a crossroads of Cartesian axes, will determine the strategies to maintain or improve your situation.
Despite this, you need more than knowing the facts that catapulted or brought down a brand to be successful. That is where the need arises to tell these facts in such a way that they reach the audience and cause a significant impact, transforming that story into a unique, credible, and exciting one. It also generates a deep connection with the consumer and provokes the resurgence of a cardinal element in branding and advertising: storytelling.
The rise of storytelling
According to Steven Kydd, this new boom in advertising stories had to adapt to an increasingly global and complex world. That is emerging in the digital age, and new generations are increasingly dispersed and disinterested. Thus, storytellers had to reinvent themselves and abandon the classic narratives of the last century. Back then, brands were too busy telling their own stories to see what was happening in consumers’ minds. Nowadays, we need a significant advertising investment to impress a concept on the consumer’s mind. If brands want to become good storytellers, they have to uncover the more profound stories hidden in the minds of their target audience.
In other words, to establish new connections with an audience dispersed in thousands of new communication channels, a good storyteller must connect his own narrative experience with those deep in his audience’s minds. These are narratives that people hardly remember and that even they would have a hard time telling. To this must be added a complete knowledge of what, how, and why brands do what they do. That has two challenges. On the one hand, to join the brand’s story and vision of the future. On the other, to link internal audiences, inspire and guide them, and conquer the hearts of external audiences. That is all part of storytelling.
How to create a good story?
A good story can permeate and enhance all areas of a brand. Events and people are connected through it, which gives it a powerful emotional charge. If a broad audience shares the associations established between the story and their memories, it can determine the story’s success. Consequently, we can understand today’s positioning as a story and the story as a positioning.
In the hyper-connectivity era, the audience’s lower attention span favors the consumption of only those stories that fit perfectly into the subject’s narrative. Then, the channels through which we access the content learn to prioritize what seems to interest or distract them.
The impact of storytelling
The challenge of telling stories that have an impact on the personal narrative and allow expanding it is increasing. Since novelty is one of the essential factors in capturing attention in a world of increasingly similar stories, a good storyteller has to work to make his story stands out from the rest.
However, storytellers can settle for more than just that. By connecting with the most profound issues in the audience’s minds, they will be able to challenge established conventions and gain an even more powerful connection. A good storyteller must detect stories that are not told and those that resonate in people’s heads and are transmitted in everyday life. They must learn to listen within a context, the noise, and the murmur. Moreover, they should try to recreate situations, extract latent memories and personal stories, and bring them to light. This way, engaging stories can be created, reaching consumers despite their different experiences. It is about rewriting mental chapters, opening new ideas, and offering new ways to resolve the tensions in each person’s stories.
How to capture the correct stories?
We can use some techniques to capture compelling stories. As Marcelo Rabinovich mentions, in the first place, there is observational research in the context. That includes the skill of knowing how to listen to stories. Others may be projective and training techniques. They deduce the interrelation between different themes and the emotions associated with the different characters of a personal story. Finally, there are cognitive interviews. This help to recreate the context and extract stories that are not usually told but have an enormous influence on the personal narrative.
By interpreting audience stories, qualitative researchers can provide brands with the essential raw material for bridging the gap between brand and personal stories.
Ultimately, hearing these stories can lead brands to question their internal narrative and their version of the world they have been shaping. We could see that as a sign of weakness, but it is the essence of powerful storytelling.
In conclusion, by understanding the narratives of others, storytellers can know what stories their audience needs to hear. To then learn how to count them effectively. Brands must aspire to be good storytellers. In addition to telling stories, they must accept the commitment to listen and interpret. As explained above, with qualitative interpretive research, brands that want to tell a good story can find the inspiration they need.