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Brand storytelling is marketing with punk attitude

Florian Written by: Florian August 17, 2012  

“Don’t write slogans. Write truths!”, had The Clash singer Joe Strummer been quoted on the last weeks NME cover. The same statement is profoundly true for brand storytelling.
But brand storytelling and punk have even more similarities: both have strong and connecting identities inside. Both are committing to designated attitudes and to specific values. Both are writing songs or stories to please their fans. And they both have realized that they need to address individuals not elusive masses.

Brand storytelling is evolving with the new opportunity of corporates to publish their own brand related content through their own digital media channels. This allows companies to address a like minded audience accurate with their content, avoiding the usual spreading loss of classic marketing channels.

In the US brand storytelling is already a buzzword and it now seems to swap over to Europe. And we do have a strong need for storytelling expertise indeed: Whether they realize it or not, many companies don’t have an accurate sense of how they are presenting themselves to the public.

Why you wanna do it?
Jim Signorelli explains in his newly released book “StoryBranding”: “Consumers don’t like being sold a product or service, because they don’t like someone telling them what to think or how to behave. People prefer to arrive at purchase decisions and, ultimately, a sense of brand loyalty on their own. Brand storytelling lets brands connect with customers by creating memorable characters and engaging plots.”

So brand storytelling is a good way to build confidence to like minded individuals, to enthuse your audience and to provoke recommendation. At Co&Co we call this “to be top of heart”.

And: brand storytelling is more than campaigning. It’s not restricted to a certain period but it’s a continuous task every brand and every product has to master all day.

How you gonna do it?
Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger start their cluetrain manifesto with these three points:
1. Markets are conversations
2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.

But what kind of truths or stories do you finally have to tell in a human voice to human beings? And what kind of conversations shall they provoke?

First you’ll have to tell your past stories: What are your roots? What is your reason to exist? What is your mission? Establish your own myths. These stories are mainly told by a single author, they do have a narrative structure and they are often told linearly.

Second you’ll have to talk about your future stories. The goal of these stories is to anchor your values, your attitude and your principles with current stories related to your brand identity. These stories can have multiple entry points and can be generated in participatory settings together with your fans.

Third thing you can do is to curate brand know-how and brand expertise. These stories are closer to the products than to the brands and they can concern production issues, habit or consistency of materials, research results or advices.

Where you gonna spread it?
The heart of each brand storytelling architecture is an owned digital hub with social satellites to share unique and brand related content. This is what it’s called a content marketing architecture in comparison to a social media architecture where the focus of the marketing activity is located within the social networks themselves.

So brand storytelling is all about telling truths about brands to individuals who believe in the same truths. These truths build the strongest possible links between brands and humans and makes sure that The Clash won’t ever need to ask again: “Should I stay or should I go?”.

 
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