The traditional concept of Marketing revolves around business functions, or things that Marketing people do: sale, promotion, advertising, market research, distribution, public relations and so forth. As a matter of fact most of the marketing money is spent on activities and the personnel who handle them. However Marketing is also an orientation, an operating philosophy geared towards customer satisfaction, towards creating a brand experience, a connection and in this realm is where storytelling is a powerful tool.
Human beings have traditionally used stories to describe or explain things they could not explain otherwise. There are stories explaining the mysteries of creation, the afterlife, the apocalypse, heroes and more in cultures all over the world such as Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Hebrew, Indian, Greek, Christian, Hopi, Boshongo and in the modern age. Although most stories are very different in context they all share a basic structure that is very similar to one another, this is remarkable and significant because most of the stories where written at a time where cultures did not connect to one another. This implies that the stories that are perpetuated share elements that resonate deep into the human subconscious and become ingrained in our minds.
How does this translate into the business world? Apple is a great example, behind its marketing powerhouse is the foundation of the brand that dates to its very beginning. The story of Apple follows the classic journey of the "Hero", this has helped the brand go from underdog to a market leader and it is the single most effective tool that creates a cult-like following for the brand. The myth of the hero emerges from the many cultural versions and is seen as a universal metaphor for the human search for self-knowledge, to follow the hero is to lose ourselves in order to find ourselves. Jobs and Wozniak created the company in a humble garage, they did not wear suits and where part of a counter culture, Jobs went through trials and tribulations being fired from the company he created only to have a great comeback balancing his failure by sources of strength and completing his journey as a hero.
The best way to create a connection with your customer base is through storytelling, why would people wait months and pay a fortune for an Hermes bag? Because of the story of the brand, its history of craftsmanship the great feats it has to go through in order to acquire and manufacture the top materials. This connection can also be created using stories in your advertising, think of Budweiser's highly successful Super Bowl commercial "Puppy Love", it is a story of the adopted puppy going on a journey, going trough trials and tribulations until he finds his place in the world at the barn where he befriends a horse, they are separated and it seems that it will have a sad ending, but then the horses band together to save the puppy and bring him back home. The puppy succesfully embarked in the journey of the hero and Budweiser successfully created a long-lasting bond with consumers. In conclusion, the next time you think of marketing try to embed your own story into your plan, or create stories through carefully crafted communication in order to create emotional bonds and ingrain your brand in the hearts of consumers.
SEED Branding Studio