At bbp, we hold Lunchspiration sessions where we share our knowledge with each other over a quinoa salad or two. And we love sharing our thoughts with the wider world too.

So grab a celery stick with crunchy peanut butter, sit back and have a nibble on our bite-sized insights on brand storytelling.

Storytelling is as old as time – we’ve been telling stories for thousands of years. It’s how we exchange information, allowing us to dramatise, elaborate and exaggerate with meaning and purpose.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar? The Tiger Who Came to Tea? Just think of your favourite book as a kid to remember how they can make you feel. They intrigue and engage, allowing people to share and experience similarities. They offer an emotional connection that helps define what we are and what we want to be.

 

The structure of stories

In his seminal work “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, Joseph Campbell divided stories into twelve stages. Known as The Hero’s Journey, it explains the narrative structure found in great myths, timeless fairy tales and modern action films.

Myth is storytelling at its most extreme; it’s the boogie man under your bed if you’re bad, Santa in the chimney if you’re good. It’s what great brands can turn into, generating influence beyond the story they originally tell. And by using The Hero’s Journey, brands can put the consumer at the heart of the narrative to generate lasting influence and resonance.

 

Why this matters

At their most successful, these stories powerfully narrate the relationship between the brands and their audience. Enabling meaningful interactions that go both ways, stories provide identity and purpose; without one, you’re just another commodity.

They reflect who the customer is, what they aspire to be and how they relate to other people – infused within an immersive brand experience. Immensely valuable for both the brand and consumers, stories can be rich, powerful and effective; even more so with the ongoing proliferation of content marketing.

When most people think about marketing, they think of print, radio, TV and digital. None, however, are ingrained in us as much as storytelling, which is actually a marketing tool, channel, platform or mechanism.

 

Getting it right

For stories to resonate, they need to be based on truth and adhere to the three primary steps of brand building: consistency, persistence and restraint. They also need elements of wonder, mystery, possibility, connection and engagement.

Great stories inspire and connect and create a positive lasting impression. They’re interesting, memorable and shareable, engendering loyalty and trust. When they’re done well, they demand a response. They will be what people remember, subsequently share and, ultimately, provide your brand with reach, relevance and resonance. Do it well and it’s a rewarding win-win.