Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brand Storytelling

Storytelling is an often overlooked and undervalued communication method in branding. Using a metaphorical journey to describe aspects such as brand personalities and values is a unique way to get a client to understand a proposed brand idea. Stories are also metaphors and very powerful ones. They allow us to talk to the subconscious mind in such a way that the conscious mind does not reject or censor an underlying message (Developing Your NLP skills : Andrew Bradbury. P96)

Remember this point: A story can be used to communicate an underlying message that will not be questioned like an opinion or statement. A case study can be presented as a story to substantiate other claims or recommendations. Minimising confusion and conflict whilst providing clarity, a story becomes a very powerful tool in creative presentations. Selling an emotional concept in an analytical way results in a conflicting communication model. I agree with David Ogilvy that clients require rational reasons to make emotional decisions. However, they need to experience the emotional connection you're selling to understand the consumer's state of mind. It must be remembered that consumers make emotional choices and decisions just as much as logical choices. More importantly, it is emotional experiences that are remembered.

Therefore conveying an emotional value or idea with emotional language is clearly a more effective tool in a creative presentation. This is where telling a relevant story becomes so effective. For example, if selling a positioning that revolves around the concept of magic, a story that tells of the wonder of a child experiencing something like flying a kite for the first time can be extremely compelling. A concept like determination brings to mind some of the amazing stories of training that professional atheletes go through. The important point is to tell a story that the client will be able to personally relate to and let them recall a similar experience. If you can't tell the story yourself, there may be a video you can present that sells the experience you want to convey. This is another sensory method of selling a concept at a visual, auditory and kinesthetic level.

The average memory space of a person ranges from four to seven items at best, best represented by numerical sequences like phone numbers which are broken into digestible chunks for better retention. Research has also shown that worldwide attention spans are shrinking and people are more effectively blocking out the constant bombardment of visual stimulus such as advertising. Having methodologies to enhance a brand's memorability and recall is essential for success. I recently became interested in the way we record information after watching a world memory challenge.

What was fascinating was that nearly all the competitors used the same method to memorise what appeared to be a staggering amount of information such as numbers and patterns. An explanation from one competitor stated that by linking long number sequences to people and places he was already familar with, then creating a story as he walked through his imagination from person to person and place to place enabled him to remember the entire numerical sequence. It was compelling proof of the ability of a story to ensure maximum recall once you leave a presentation.

The conclusion was that stories are both emotively powerful and memorable. A very simple example I found effective was asking someone to write as many animal names as possible straight onto paper, then comparing it to someone who I asked to imagine walking through a jungle and naming animals they saw. A person who is able to internally visualise finds it much easier to recall items. Taking a conceptual journey stimulates more of our senses and sparks more links to existing
memories.

In oversaturated global markets every advantage to improve communication and heighten recall is beneficial. Brand stories should be part of every presentation and brand toolkit. Knowing that the brain works best by linking stories along a journey, telling a brand 'story' is a powerful tool in selling creative concepts. It also ensures the client experiences an emotional connection that is closer to the consumer experience.

7 comments:

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professional website said...

A brand's story comes from the company's own information, and if successful, it is accepted and integrated into the consumer's story. You must understand how your brand emotionally resonates with customers and then position your message in the right place to tell the right story at just the right time. The goal with corporate-brand storytelling is to transition the consumer from awareness to trial to advocacy. To be a successful brand storyteller, you must first understand how your brand's products and services meet a customer's emotional needs.

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