Brand Building – Art of Story & Craft of Telling
Storytelling isn’t anything new, it has been there for ages.
Just that in today’s age it has undergone a massive makeover.
The stages of storytelling keep crafting new fabrics to wear. The personality changes but the person inside is the same. The story remains but the way to tell has changed. Each civilization and every culture had its own share and shades of narrating stories. Stories are all about ideas, beliefs, imagery, anecdotes. opinions, views and viewpoints. The craft of combining the recipe to recite. There has to be poetry. It has been a tradition handed over from one generation to the next and is today a part of gen-next. They are made of different breed and they don’t brood on things. They take things on a stride. Storytelling has moved from the sides of bedtime to boardrooms. Corporate are wholeheartedly embracing the art of story and exploring the craft of telling. There are corporate who have already crafted specialized role titled as Chief Storyteller. Such has been the significance that a crafted role is attached to the art of storytelling and the impact it has on organisation and business are immense…
Though storytelling is an ancient form of art but yet to be recognized as a full-fledged art form to stand on its own.
Storytelling has evolved through human history from being an oral form of communication to defining the complete body of communication. It has now acquired multiple hues in the form of movies, theater, photo shoots, video series to web series. Multimedia has leveraged and transformed the mode of storytelling. This has definitely augmented the ability of a storyteller. Stories has always been there. The problem has been with the storytellers. The same story can create an impact if told differently. The craft of storytelling. Stories has the magical glue to hold people together and great storytellers have the creative craft to profoundly shape the minds of listeners.
A new parallel bridge is getting constructed. A two-way traffic in progress, there is a subtle shift from a state of merely telling stories to empowering people to tell their side of the tale. Not just in educational institutions but across corporate the role of telling stories are fast gaining the grip. The hold that matters.
The art of storytelling is so much about discovering the hidden gems and connecting the apparently disconnected dots.
We start seeing the images and a big picture is emerged…
It is about mastering the craft of putting together vision and values, and giving a unique voice to make our story stand out and count.
We can walk the talk…
The brand storytelling comes from the plethora of options opened up by the multitude of digital technology and social media channels. Each one of us are inborn storytellers just that we get involuntarily immersed in the ocean of digital distraction and confounding churning. We need to break free from the cobwebs of cluttered confinement.
Storytelling connects people and creates the bondage to build the brand.
The brand matters. It doesn’t matter whether one is an individual or an organization. It counts when we want to sell a product or a service. There is a price. There is a demand. There is a share. We are not alone. There are others who are jostling for the same space. Digital has redefined the way we have marketed our product and services. It no longer matters whether we are doing at our individual level or we are doing on behalf of an organization we are working.
The brand matters. Every brand has a story to tell. It just that some say it better than the other. The market if flooded. There is a clutter. We can see and feel the glut. There are so many good products and services that have not been able to get the traction that they deserve as they have failed in building the brand and telling the story behind brand that matters.
Telling stories is a very important part of building a brand.
No great stories no big brand…
Apple tells it story better than anybody else. The story of aspiration. There is a design engineering both at the soft and hard part of the product. No doubt its product is the best but that was never enough, and it is the story that does the ultimate spin needed to stay ahead of the curve.
Amazon is not lagging behind. The story of buying online. Google has its own story, the story of digital data and Facebook tells in its own inimitable style, the story of social networking.
Nike did it…so much by telling just do it. Disney did it…so much in the images of comic characters.
Airbnb is doing it…without owning a house. The home-stayers tell their experience and that’s where the story gets the comfort to connect. Uber is doing it…without owning a vehicle. The passengers tell their experience and that’s where the story gets the ride to pride.
It is important to have defining value built-in while building a brand but that is not enough. It is equally important to effectively communicate that story behind the brand.
Storytelling has been the most profound means to connect and communicate, and it has been there are ages. It is an art and it needs an artistic mind to visualize and conceptualize the elements on a canvas. It is only half done. The bigger challenge is in crafting the composition to tell the story.
As a customer beyond the basic need and broad choice of product or services we look for that story that comes along with that package. The experience we garnered during the buying. The emotion it evoked when we heard the story behind the brand. The way the brand has struggled much like us and fought through the tough times and have taken the beatings to emerge victorious. We relate to our life experience. It is not just about monetary exchange to the item we buy. It is the intangible that get exchanged does change our perception.
Brand is so much about managing perceptions.
The intangibles in terms of the way we were received, the way we were greeted, the way we were treated, the way we were cared, the way we were made to feel…and these are not accidental or incidental aspects of the engagement. These facets remain the cornerstone of the customer engagement. These are consciously created and crafted into the entire process of customer experience and becomes integral part of the ecosystem. Every touch point matters. There are much like religious and the rituals we follow as part of our strong belief system that we get bonded.
Customer feels the pulse and we need to have our fingers on the right pulse and things cannot merely be done impulsively.
Brand Building is also religiously ritual in its practice. Every point and every count it has to generate one such element of surprise, joy, and delight to excitement to happiness. These are all experienced and each such piece of experience connects to unlock the puzzle of mind.
We feel empowered.
We feel liberated.
It is beyond the product or the price or the service that comes with that buying of item. It is the story that the brand tells. Much like any story creation process it has the exposition, the composition, the conflict, the climax and the resolution. There are myriads ways to narrate the story. Here comes the role of the narrator and the paraphernalia that comes with the craft of storytelling.
Stories are not just about facts and figures, these are so much about the fiction and faith.
Stories are not just about people and places, these are so much about the culture of the place and customs of the people.
Stories are much more about the feelings and emotions than the components and structure that make up a story.
It has to have a history, it has to have a foundation than comes the bricks, blocks and the big picture that we can sketch on that frame. Not easy to piece together the nuggets of missing link to solve the mystery of magic hidden in every great product that makes a difference in the society.
Once the story is crafted with a flavor of authenticity, with a fabric of creativity and has the flair of inspiration…the brand just fly. There is a genuine connection, there is an emotional connect, there is an attachment and it is long lasting. Once set it just grows on us.
The brand story has the intrinsic power to keep influencing our mind and we are intuitively inspired.
As a customer we want to walk away with something special as we engage with a product or a service. The engagement is all-encompassing. The way people interacted with us. The way the product was showcased. The way surrounding was set up. The way we are valued.
What is that our brand needs to talk every time the customer interacts?
The interaction is no more restricted to a single point or a single place. It has multiplied. It has multiple touch points. It is independent of time. Any time the customer can connect and talk to our brand. They want to hear our story and hear it from different platforms. The narrative has to have the same fabric and smell the same fragrance. It is the feeling and the emotion it evokes that makes all the difference.
Each brand has its own play in the ingredients and that is what makes the recipe unique and special. The question always remains how do we create that deep emotional connection and continue the consistency with equal vigor and vitality. It has to each time and every time the customer connects with our brand. The brand communicates a message every time it interacts with the customers. We need to craft that message with color and creativity. If the story is not clearly conceptualized then we can see a distortion in color palettes and the creativity turns into confusion on the canvas. The messaging becomes inconsistent and ineffective.
A story needs no vehicle. It needs no fuel. It can travel in any form and it can reach far and wide without any passport and visa.
It is the power of sharing through word of mouth. Anybody to share the story needs to get touched, moved and inspired. The customer need to go through that experience and we need invite, engage and instill that connection which the customer would like to joyfully transmit. The factor of joy not just the enjoyment. The factor of passion not just the fashion. The factor that can fire imagination and stir our soul. It has to transcend the physical dimensions and transport us to an experiential dialogue which is self-explanatory and unfolds subtly. That’s what makes it truly sublime…
Facts can convince us but may not always inspire us, it is the experience and engagement that moves us and we get motivated and completely driven.
Every brand has evolved from an idea.
Every brand is governed by a vision and value.
The vision that inspires.
The value that anchors.
The brand story is encapsulated in the pockets of the powerful idea, the inspiring vision and the abiding values. How we wrap and pack the story in the brand that has to be told is the craft we need master before we embark on a brand building journey. The brand has to tell a thoughtful story. The brand has to tell a meaningful story. The brand has to evoke emotionally and also provoke rationally. The narration has to rhyme poetically and rhythm comes with practice. It is what we term as the brand narrative. Mapping the brand vision and making it then work in mission mode is the challenge. It is exciting to visualize the power of a brand but extremely critical to translate into doable items that can be engaged and experienced. Most falter at this very stage and as we attempt manage it we crumble never to face the reality and shape our perception of reality while building a brand of great value and vision.
It is the impact that brand makes.
It is the cause that the brand fights.
It is purpose that the brand serves.
The brand goes much beyond the economic connotation. The brand creates the emotional connection and nurtures the social engagement. This comes with the craft of telling the story. Storytelling has been the most powerful mode of communication and communication that brings diverse communities together and that creates a fascinating bridge for the cultural connect. Today society, nation and people have become increasingly self-centered and driven by the lust for power and inhuman growth. The growth is at the cost of human life but what cares.
“Brands and Stories” are not outside this world and are from any distance galaxy. They are part of the same air we breathe and the same water we drink. Hence we can see how brands behave and many have imbibed those inhuman qualities and we can see the stories these brands telecast. The stereotypes. The reprocessed. The recast from the same old mould. The hackneyed. The originality is gone with the wind. The authenticity is in question. The creativity is in tatters.
Storytelling is such as essential tool for effective communication and it augments the marketing effort significantly. It is about sharing a message. It is about making the message memorable. It is about establishing an engagement. An engagement that is meaningful. It is just about the content and information. It is so much about the context and way we communicate that message. The craft of storytelling. Great brands are build on simple ideas and it simplifies our life and the way of living. The brand understands our mind and aligns with the way we think and feel.
There is a warmth.
There is empathy.
It weaves the right combination of caring and sharing. It makes us count on the little things. It enables us to derive the joy from the small things that otherwise goes unnoticed. We are human and we make mistake and the brand helps us in correcting those mistakes and guides in moving ahead in life. The brand is not something that is elusive but it is something that is with us and supports us in our difficult time.
We derive the solace the moment we interact with a brand, every such interaction tells a story.
Our likes, our dislikes, our quirks, our queries, our thoughts, our emotions and our actions work together to create who we are…it is so much about the philosophy of life and lifestyle. These nuanced aspects that creates the layers of narration. This is where the story gets the threads to stitch together and convert into the beautiful fabric that makes our passion fashionable. The story of brand is in these initial interactions and the conversations that follows…
In today’s fast paced world where things are on a flyer and it is in micro seconds things are changing. There is an information glut. There is flood of product and services. The mind is bombarded with marketing blitzkrieg. There is very little with customers and is in a hurry.
Getting the attention.
Grabbing the space.
Going all out.
What matters is the power of the brand to hold the customer’s attention and it is the story behind the brand that empowers to speak out and stand out. The characters and the plots that hold the audience in place.
The story that the brand tells has to have the characters that are real and plots that powerful and profoundly played.
Nihar R Pradhan