Brand storytelling: The next stage of marketing

Languages12 August 20143k

What goes into making a great brand? 

While a brand is only ever as good as its products and services, an effective storytelling campaign can make a big difference to its long-term success by sharing core values and outstripping the competition.

Connecting with customers is vitally important, especially if you want these people to return and become advocates of your brand and encourage others to do so as well. 

The 2nd Aesop 2014 Brand Storytelling Report has identified Apple as the best-in-class when it comes to brand storytelling, the second year in a row it has taken the number one spot. Cadbury, McDonald's, IKEA and Walkers rounded out the top five. 

As part of the research, consumers were asked about nine key brand storytelling elements; including brand personality, memorability, credibility and purpose. 

Ed Woodcock, director of narrative at Aesop Agency, is in no doubt about the importance of brand storytelling. "Marketers are waking up to storytelling's unique ability to engage and make an emotional connection with audiences in an age when they are fully in control," he said.

Apple reigns supreme

Apple has made a big deal of its product launches, indeed they have become major events in their own right. This approach of building up hype around their products has certainly worked, as the computer giant fared very well in the 'brands you're intrigued to know what they'll do next' category. 

However, it is not viewed as one of the more memorable brands, ranking only 18th in this category. This points out how there is still scope for major success if it hones its message.

Social media fail

Social media channels would have been expected to feature very prominently, as storytelling is woven into the very fabric of their operations. However, only YouTube managed to make the top ten (eighth), while Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin did not make that big an impact. 

"What's different about social media brands is that they're platforms for other people's stories," stated Mr Woodcock. "So whilst their own story can often be lost in the chatter, a number of the social media brands are still regarded as 'storytellers' because of the volume of content that gets channeled through them."

The case for localization

While brand storytelling is undoubtedly important, its potential to convert customers on a global scale hinges on the use of high-quality localization. If companies have international aspirations, translating their content so the message is heard by a wide audience is essential. Don't forget, 75 per cent of the world's population do not speak English.

Developing a unique character and personality within your brand will boost the chances of success, but will it resonate with people from all over the world? This is why localization is so important, as it prevents embarrassing cultural and linguistic faux pas from taking place. No one wants to follow in the footsteps of HSBC, which had to launch a $10 million rebranding campaign to repair the damage done after its slogan 'Assume Nothing' was mistranslated as 'Do Nothing' in various countries.

In fact, if brands want to take their storytelling seriously, consulting with a localization expert from the start is advised, as this way there is no chance of a message being chosen that will not easily translate into different communities and countries. 


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