Brand storytelling is powerful. It connects with your customers, helping you to build lasting relationships, trust, and loyalty that go beyond a preference for your product or service.
Of course, the only magic happens when you can tell a compelling, irresistible story.
Get it right, and you really can achieve great things – engaged customers, more leads, increased conversions, and a positive impact on the bottom line. But more than that, your brand story shows your true values, what you stand for, and why customers would want to buy from you. It shows your personality.
These four brands are masters of successful brand storytelling, and demonstrate just how powerful it can be.
The story of Burt’s Bees began in the early 1980s when founders Roxanne, an artist, and Burt, a beekeeper, met. Their first venture was making beeswax candles, and they started with the mission that “nature has the best answers.” This mission hasn’t changed to this day, despite the brand’s global success and wide range of body care product offerings.
Burt’s Bees has stayed true to their roots, living and breathing the philosophy that what you put on your body goes into your body, so it should be made from the best that nature has to offer.
This narrative is woven through their website, advertising, social media channels, and even on the products themselves. You’ll also find stories about sustainability, recycling, energy efficiency, and beekeeping outreach programs on the ‘About’ page of their website.
They use YouTube to promote their #Helpsavethebees campaign, educating customers about the importance of bees in our ecosystem and how to help them survive for the good of us all. As part of this campaign, they encouraged customers to post a #SelflessSelfie, and for everyone who did, Burt’s Bees donated wildflowers. Ultimately, more than 10,000 acres of honey bee-friendly flowers were planted.
Key takeaway: Burt’s Bees tell a story that many people can connect to, and they are open and transparent about their views. They show people how they’re helping, that they’re about more than the bottom line, and this in turn means we buy into their philosophy…and we buy their products.
Leveraging a strong company heritage (and a lot of marketing dollars) can be a very powerful way to create a brand story. Land Rover did just this for their 70th anniversary.
Rather than telling a story from the company’s point of view, they chose to tell it from the point of view of Land Rover drivers in a remote part of the Indian Himalayas. A small village in the mountains contains an amazing 40 Land Rovers, used by locals to traverse the treacherous road to a second village high in the mountains. And of course, they use Land Rovers because they are the most reliable, rugged vehicles around – even though they were made in 1957. The story is heartfelt, honest, and simply incredible to Western eyes.
Key takeaway: Land Rover could have created a great story for their 70th anniversary, told from their own point of view. But this story surpasses that because it brings Land Rover to life in a very personal way and doesn’t overtly sell the brand. Using a customer story rather than your own story can create an emotional connection with the audience – in this case between us and the drivers who traverse the astonishingly steep mountain pass in their Land Rovers every day.
In 2011, the founder of TOMS shoes asked his employees to spend one day barefoot to raise awareness for the children across the world who don’t have shoes. This is now an annual event, and it tells a story that connects with everyone – in its rawest form, the story is that children in developing countries need shoes to stay alive. During the campaign, the company gave a pair of shoes to a child in need every time someone purchased a pair of TOMS. Since then, TOMS has evolved the campaign, but the core concept remains the same – they give shoes to those who need them most.
So intrinsic is this to the brand, that even their Google search result references their charitable giving:
Key takeaway: Helping others is emotionally compelling, and makes people want to get involved. Telling the story of those less fortunate than ourselves and giving us the opportunity to help shows our values and principles, and in this case shows that TOMS is about more than just selling shoes.
Marriott hotels have recently opened a new brand of hotels called Moxy, a cool, boutique brand aimed at globetrotting millennials who aren’t quite backpackers but can’t afford full-on luxury, either. The brand is pitched as trendy accommodation with a little hint of luxe, a fun youth hostel vibe, and that all-important all-night bar. Moxy created an entertaining series of videos entitled Do Not Disturb, featuring happy-go-lucky high jinx from the host and a bucket list of social media influencers.
So cool and Instagrammable it hurts, the videos tell the Moxy story in such an irresistible way that they have over 2.4 million views and almost 70,000 posts on Instagram.
More recently, Moxy has teamed up with dating app Bumble to create “BumbleSpot #attheMoxy” experiences, which bring together digital and real-life connections.
Key takeaway: Telling your brand story with partners that your audience can connect with and whose influence you can use to reach new customers can help raise brand awareness.
Make sure your business stands out – read our brand guide for more branding advice or contact us to chat about brand development