Brand Storytelling

Carl Jung once said, “Never do human beings speculate more, or have more opinions, than about things which they do not understand.” Unfortunately, brand storytelling is one of those things. Let’s try to unearth its meaning and find ways to leverage brand storytelling to support brand strategy.

“Never do human beings speculate more, or have more opinions, than about things which they do not understand.”

C.G. Jung

Why is storytelling important for customers?

While brand storytelling is a buzzword, storytelling has been around for eons. Historians think that oral storytelling might be around as long as human language. So, why did it become so famous now?

By sharing our stories we define “who we are” and “what we believe in.” Given that we live in a complex and ever-changing world, we all need guideposts. And today, brands act as a guide to complicated issues.

In a globalized, homogenized, and Disneyfied world, individuals are desperately yearning to define their identity. Iconic brands, in return, tell archetypal stories about who they are, why they exist, and how the world should be.

Every time we choose a high-involvement brand, we associate ourselves with their set of values. Consequently, brand storytelling empowers individuals, allowing them not to navigate in a stormy world.

Brand storytelling empowers individuals, allowing them not to navigate in a stormy world.

WHY IS STORYTELLING IMPORTANT FOR corporations?

From a corporate standpoint, stories reflect the values of the organization. They communicate what the brand stands for, not only externally but also internally. The latter is of particular importance.

As Margaret Wheatley, the renown organizational thinker says, a value is a field – some sort of an invisible force that shape behaviour.

A value is a field – some sort of an invisible force that shape behaviour.

Margaret Wheatley

Sadly for many companies, values are nothing but fancy -yet empty- words. They look right; sound catch; add gravitas to their annual reports. But they are nothing but words. You hear a company’s sacred values only to forget them in five minutes.

As a countermeasure, many companies use initialism so that their employees would remember (!) the organization’s values. For instance, try to guess whose values those are:

Brand storytelling is a much more effective method. 22 times more effective, actually, some researchers say.

Telling a genuine story about “a time when the company walked the talk” could inject real meaning into those “empty words” and rally your troops.

So how do you gather stories? The easiest way is to interview key employees, who have been with the company for a long time. There are other ways for unearthing, sharing and leveraging corporate stories. One book you may want to read is Branding Through Storytelling. Another nice one is Circle of the 9 Muses.

The answer is ENRON, an energy trading company that collapsed after a massive accounting fraud scheme was revealed.

11 thoughts on “Brand Storytelling

  1. Hi,

    I just came across this post and was interested in that book you mentioned. However, I couldn’t get any results when I ran a Google search. May I know who the author is and where I can get the book?

    Thanks!

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