From hieroglyphics to HDTV, storytelling has been around for centuries. And there’s a good reason for it. Aside from boosting our feel-good hormones, it helps create a sense of trust, compassion and empathy – making it oh so good for business. That’s exactly why storytelling should be sitting at the core of every marketing strategy. Not only does it build customer loyalty, it’s a unique way for brands to set themselves apart from competitors. Here are 10 of my favourite brands nailing the storytelling game.
In true Nike fashion, the athletic label has once again finessed the art of storytelling with their campaign Dream Crazy. Despite sparking controversy, the 2-minute video effortlessly combines stories of several athletes who created opportunity in the face of adversity. The catharsis-inducing message is simple and reinforces the brand’s DNA – Just Do It.
Rent The Runway
Fashion company Rent The Runway, has built a whole podcast around their inception as a female led start-up – Project Entrepreneur. This version of storytelling reinforces their mission of female empowerment as they strive to breakdown traditional barriers women face in the industry. By democratising knowledge and resources, they’re putting female founders in a better position to succeed.
As one of Australia’s leading media networks, Foxtel is obsessed with sharing stories that better connect people with brands. In 2018, the media powerhouse partnered with Land Rover to help cement their position as the #1 supporter of Australian Rugby. Together, with the content creation expertise of RCKT CO, they created compelling content around Australia’s top rugby players to celebrate their journey to the top. Fans were rewarded with unrivalled insight into the careers and lives of legends like Will Genia, Kurtley Beale and Michael Hooper.
IBM took to the Bondi Streets to deliver an important story for all Aussies – the dangers of melanoma. By letting super-computer Watson detect cancerous cells before the human eye, IBM quickly gave beach-going Aussies a compelling reason to slip, slop, slap. By engaging with consumers and local celebrities, they were able to raise awareness and elicit real emotions with a story helps save lives.
As a brand striving for female empowerment, Refinery29 partnered with Getty to change the narrative of women depicted in advertising. By creating a collection of images that better represents our diverse population, their No Apologies campaign raised an important conversation around challenging the biased stereotypes we are exposed to.
If you haven’t seen the Metro Trains’ campaign Dumb Ways to Die, then you are missing out. The undeniably catchy tune went viral and can attribute its success largely to the comedic simplicity of its story – death by train is just a dumb way to die. Not only did the PSA raise awareness, but had people pledging to be safer around trains.
Air New Zealand
The kiwi airline has found a niche way to use storytelling in an effort to combat safety complacency. Using anything from rap music to Lord of the Rings, Air New Zealand have made the cheeky videos totally synonymous with their brand. If the millions of online views are anything to go by, the safety videos have not only strengthened engagement but also elevated awareness for the brand.
The True North series by Great Northern Brewing Co is a prime example of branded storytelling. The simple idea celebrates the brand’s ‘good-life’ ethos by reconnecting with the great outdoors along with a few great mates.
Feminist brand Thinx, has quickly disrupted the feminine hygiene category. They’ve been breaking down stigmas around female menstruation by essentially becoming a content production house that happens to sell period gear. Their ads, but more specifically their blog – The Periodical, addresses everything from sustainable sanitation to period sex.
Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone’ campaign makes it to my list for the power of its visual storytelling. Yes, they could have told us iPhones take great pictures. Instead, they showed us. By leveraging traditional media, Apple showcased user generated content that evoked a sense of true authenticity.
So, from content creation to strategic partnerships, brands have limitless opportunities to tell their narrative. When it comes down to it: be original, be authentic and keep it simple.