Storytelling narratives are the pitch and perspectives through which your brand can tell a compelling story and associate itself with the same.
Understanding the different narratives of storytelling empowers brands to choose the best tone and topics to revolve their brand communication around.
Not every brand is compatible with every narrative, and not every narrative fits with every market.
Stories are a lot more personal than any other form of marketing and are hence more believable. If you get it right, you have it right and if you end up with a wrong narrative, there’s a hiccup in the road of your brand positioning.
In this article, we want to take you through the different ways your brand can tell its stories and benefit from its USPs by walking you through how existing brands have already done the same.
Let’s get started.
“Slice of life”
Humans respond to connections and emotions more than they do to rationale and utility. The more they feel connected to a brand, the better they respond to it.
Brands often use the “Slice of life” narrative to connect with the audience. This means integrating the events of everyday life to tell a story about the brand and its role in people’s life.
This is one of the most seen and done storytelling techniques and has a very high appeal to the audience.
Nestle’s Good Food, Good Life is a perfect example of this kind of storytelling.
The “bold, strong and unafraid”
This is when a brand tells a story and weaves its ideals into the values of the story. This is a straightforward brand story telling strategy that can be easily adapted and converted into a fruitful marketing campaign.
You can see examples of this in many sports brands that leverage the story of accomplished athletes and represent themselves through the story.
We want to give you an example that might stay with you for a while. Apple’s commercial, based on the George Orwell book 1984 showcased the importance of thinking different to associate themselves with ‘innovative bravery and novelty in thinking.’
Even though the advertisement did not fly as expected, ‘think different’ became the core of the brand’s identity.
3. “Walk with time”
Thought leadership is a great way to tell stories for your brand, especially when weaved into a social cause.
Especially in the social wall-break era, we are in, brands can really leverage by associating themselves with socially progressive ideas.
This is a huge shift that came about in the climate of advertising, especially for a decade or two. You must have seen washing powder or beauty ads representing more feminist and inclusive ideologies.
We especially love the advertisement for Raymonds, where the brand pivoted from the regressive and conventional idea of what it means to be a man with modern and refreshing ideals.
4. “Pioneers of a better world”
If we had to give this one a different name, we would call it the “Calling you out” narrative.
This is slightly similar to the previous model of storytelling where brands associate themselves with a progressive idea, but here brands go for a braver narrative by associating themselves with a ‘tabooed’ idea. This is a really effective tool for brand positioning.
Vicks Vaporub released an ad called ‘generations of care’ featuring the thought-provoking relationship between a child and her transgender mother, making us second-guess how we view the world. They furthered the campaign with the hashtag #Touchofcare for brand relevance.
5: “The larger identity”
When done right, this flies. This is when brands tell stories where they represent themselves as something that ‘belongs with you’ and vice versa.
That’s when brands give themselves a strong cultural or national identity. This is a fairly simple form of storytelling, but it mostly only works for extremely affordable products or products that have some direct cultural significance like ‘Khadi cloth’ for Indians.
An example of this is TATA salt’s advertisement featuring Mary Kom narrating the story of their perseverance in making it through the hurdles in the way of women in sports. She ends the story with ‘Maine desh ka namak khaya hai’. This weaves a citizen’s belongingness with a country and allows the brand to borrow that emotion for their benefit.
6. The “easy to swallow, hard to digest” (Laugh in the face of life)
This is one of the most intelligent and sensitive forms of advertisement. When done right, your brand will make a champion statement and really get the mass’s attention, but when gone stray it might add a hiccup or two in your brand image.
If you are a brand that deals with sensitive problems like road safety, healthcare, terminal illness or life insurance, you want to communicate the urgency without triggering the viewers and that’s exactly what it allows.
One of the brilliant advertisements that used this form of storytelling perfectly is Punjab National Bank for their life insurance ad, where a typical family of three stops by the road to watch a street magician perform. He turns the man of the family into a pigeon, and shortly after, the bird flies off and disappears between a flock of pigeons.
This advertisement mellows down the idea of death and captioned it with “Anything can happen in life. Get insured”.
7. “We see you, we get you” narrative
This one is a breeze and we advise you to check the temperament of your viewers before you play with this one. This is a type of incomplete, loose and broadly purposeless brand story telling telling to instigate relatability and connection with the audience.
This ad might not even much much sense from a moral or storytelling perspective and hence needs to be implemented with much creativity and zeal.
Brands usually do this by validating a viewer’s behaviours.
For Example, Imperial Blue launched a questionable yet winning campaign with the caption ‘Men will be men’.
8. “We make life possible”
This is a form of storytelling where a brand subtly indicates its role in your everyday life and presents itself like a true companion.
A long time ago, Vodafone composed a winning advertisement with a dog that follows a child everywhere to represent the strength of its network and connectivity.
A more recent example of this would be Google’s ‘Reunion’ advertisement where a young woman pulls a hundred strings and reunites her grandfather with his childhood friend whom he separated from during the India-Pakistan partition and how google made it possible (or how it would have been impossible without Google).
9. “We believe in you”
This is a type of storytelling where the brand places itself as the motivating figure that would never give up on you by asserting their faith in you.
They tell stories with the underlying message of eternal possibilities and how you are already great and you just need to see it.
Nike has done this successfully multiple times. Watch a collection of their campaign “Find your greatness” where they redefine greatness by proving that it’s easy to find within you.
10. “The main character” energy
Sorry for the gen-z title, but stay with us.
We want to deviate from the conventional idea of a brand as just a product or service and talk about persona brands.
We live in an era where influential people are brands. They have their own identity, ideals, image, stories, and reputation and how people feel about them is a huge determinant of their entrepreneurial success.
Here, brand stories are built by directly narrating personal stories and humanising what’s already human.
For example, Netflix launched a documentary-style production called Miss Americana, which narrates the story, struggle and deserved success of Taylor Swift. This content revolves around her combat with hate and its personal consequences and conquests that follow.
If you are a brand that sells on the face value of a person, this will certainly work for you.
The moral of the story
With great advertisement, you make a sale. With great storytelling, you make a place!
Your brand needs a story to sustain itself in the current consumer climate. Which of these storytelling narratives do you think would help your brand the best with building the right image in the market?