The Importance of Storytelling

          When I think of a brand, I want that brand to mean something to me; I want that specific brand to affect me in a personal way. One might ask, what is the point?  As a consumer, isn’t all that you want out of a company or brand a product that you have use for and enjoy? Who cares about how they communicate and the story they tell? For me it is true that I will not buy a product from a brand that I do not have use for, but I will be more loyal and willing to support a brand that does tell a story and does communicate with its consumers the brand’s experience, message, and story.

            The difference between unsuccessful and successful brands is that successful ones will convey a story through the experience they share with the customer and not by the sneakers it makes, or by the chocolate bars it sells. Scott Bedbury writes, “Over time, products and services will come and go, but the brand that provides them will remain a constant. And brands will be defined by the sum total of those experiences, rather than the products or services themselves”(16). Bedbury’s point is that the products that brands make do not define brands. In this day in age, communication is just as important as the product a brand makes and that people care about a brand and will be invested in a brand that is reliable and trustworthy. Target audiences desire a brand that has a sense of identity, and inspires people. One article notes that Psychology Today says that, “our emotions have a lot more to do with what we buy than we might like to think”(Cowlin). Brands have a way of making consumers feel emotionally tied to them. The article goes on to say, “While most of us would like to believe that we make our purchase decisions based on our needs and carefully evaluated analysis of product benefits, more often than not, we buy because we want to, because of how the purchase makes us feel.” If a brand can successfully create an emotional relationship through storytelling with its customers then that brand has the ability to flourish. A brand’s ability to story tell enables a company to build an emotional connection with a customer, which will then lead to trust and loyalty that the customer feels for the brand. This customer will then likely share his or her experience with the brand to friends, which will over time increase the popularity and attraction of the brand.

            In class we have discussed some specific brands that do an excellent job of storytelling and therefore, have loyal customers and are successful brands. Some of these brands that come to mind right away are Nike, Southwest, Subaru, and Coca-Cola. These brands encapsulate the storytelling idea and they advertise and market their brand in a way that people will want to be a part of. Another article writes, “The purpose of storytelling is to let people know what your business can offer them in a memorable way that will not only connect with them but also make them think and act”(Komor). The article also points out that Beats By Dre headphones is a great example of a company that uses storytelling to improve its business and brand. Beats By Dre does not stand out from other high-end headphone companies because of their value or price, it instead presented a story that people were drawn to. Commercials like the Richard Sherman ad and the commercial that played during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil evoked emotion through storytelling and made a real-life connection with the audience that anyone could relate to.