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People love stories from children’s fairy tales to books and movies. A story is more memorable than a straightforward message. A story is easy to re-tell and pass on to other consumers, hence providing your brand with more Word of Mouth Marketing opportunities.

A brand story needs to be:

  • Real and authentic
  • Colourful and interesting

Advertisements are nothing more than stories with the best ones engaging their audience. Famous brands such as Virgin and Apple have real stories surrounding their founders and form an important element of their positioning strategy.

Most common marketing stories:

Blake Snyder (professional screenwriter) has story scenarios that align to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs:

  • Physical Needs
  • Safety Needs
  • Social Needs (Buddy Love & Rights of Passage)
  • Self Esteem Needs (Fool Triumphant & Superhero)
  • Cognitive Needs (Everyman v Big Brother)
  • Aesthetic Needs (Look good, Feel Good)
  • Self Actualisation (Search for Meaning & Personal Salvation)

Gerald Zaltman, author of “How Customers Think” and Professor at Harvard Business School identifies deep metaphors in the minds of consumers in “Marketing Metaphoria”:

  • Balance
  • Transformation
  • Journey
  • Container
  • Connection
  • Resource
  • Control

and Christopher Booker’s book, “Seven Basic Plots – Why We Tell Stories” (which took him 35 years to write) has the following:

  1. Overcoming the monster: Defeating a force which threatens safety, existence, success – David v Goliath
  2. The Quest: A group in search of something (who may find it or something ‘better’)
  3. Journey and Return: The hero journeys away from home and comes back (having experienced something and maybe having changed for the better)
  4. Comedy: Not necessarily ‘haha’ funny. a misunderstanding or ignorance is created that keeps parties apart, which is resolved, by the end, bringing them back together
  5. Tragedy: Someone, tempted (vanity, greed, etc), becomes increasingly desperate, or trapped by their actions, until the climax where they usually die
  6. Rebirth: Hero is captured or oppressed (a living death existence) until they are miraculously freed
  7. Rags to Riches: Overcoming a state of poverty, want, and/or need.

By telling your brand story you can differentiate your business and form a stronger connection with your customers and prospects. By understanding why you started the business, or for example why you named it in a certain way, customers will feel like they know you and understand you. After all it is hard to connect with someone you don’t understand.