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Storytelling: Some Brands That Are Getting It Right

‘Those who tell the stories rule society.’ – Plato

Storytelling has been around since the beginning of time, and these days it is seen as critical to modern marketing.

Brands have the ability to influence culture and change behaviour for the better by telling their story in an authentic way.  But without a guiding narrative weaving through a brand’s content marketing efforts, its product or service will just be that, a product or service, with no emotional connection to its customers.

The role of marketers is to burn through the indifference of consumers and give them compelling reasons as to why they should choose their brand over the next. The art of storytelling delivered through content marketing is that very tool.

As Louise mentioned in her post earlier this week, there are only a few brands that are getting ‘transmedia storytelling’ in digital, right. Those who do, however, have managed to successfully create emotional bonds with consumers by offering them a chance to immerse themselves in the brand story.

Here are a few examples of brands getting it right:

Red Bull’s Jump From Space

Red Bull has definitely been a frontrunner in the storytelling game. Using the theme of adventurous pursuit, the brand has done everything from creating its own sport (Flugtag), to outfitting adventurers with tools to blog about their exploits, to building an innovation platform for inventors and ultimately, sponsoring a man to jump from the edge of space.

 

Felix Baumgartner’s jump allowed for those viewing it to feel as if they were standing there with him.  Viewers were completely immersed in the story of taking a man to the edge of space. Not only could we watch live, but we could also interact with others watching the jump in real time and in social media via the #JumpLive hashtag.

With this event, Red Bull managed to create content and experience with audiences that inspired emotion. They created a perfect story matching their brand values and created synergy between the extreme event and the company’s existing marketing message. It hit the brand message spot on: ‘Red Bull gives you wings.’ This all happened without one single product mention or cutaway, but consumers instantly got the brand and what it was about.

In my mind, the brand managed the key principles of effective storytelling with this event. They were true to their values while adding value for their audiences as well. They were also bold enough to take the big risks that demand people’s attention and they created the opportunities they needed to most effectively tell their story.

Nike’s ‘Make It Count’

Nike hired Casey Neistat and Max Joseph to create a set of commercials for their new #makeitcount campaign. However, instead of filming a traditional commercial, the two took a bold risk and decided to use the money to go on an adventure, traveling to 13 countries, and filming it all.

 

Neistat and Joseph travelled 34,000 miles, visited 16 cities in 13 countries on three continents in 10 days. The result is a four-and-a-half-minute film, which features some Nike’s ‘Make It Count’ branding.

The two are shown running around and sampling local cuisine and customs in each new city, culminating in a new tattoo and a slow-motion jump off of a ridiculously high cliff. It all looks spontaneous and about as fun a time as anyone in Nike’s active demographic, could wish to have.

The film calls for us to not let life go by, but to live in the moment. Aside from 10 seconds of footage at the beginning, Nike’s Fuel Band isn’t featured again. Instead, viewers follow the filmmaker on his mission to go as far, and experience, as much as he can before the money runs out. The result is an inspiring homage to making the most out of life and enjoying new experiences.

Pentagram’s ‘The Forty Story’

On to something that tells a story a little differently to the two examples above.

It’s not just the really big brands that have stories to tell. Last year, Pentagram – a design agency with offices in London, New York and Berlin – marked their 40th birthday by producing a film that tells a story through the brands they’ve worked with.  Great writing and a linear storyline, combined with a simple and effective graphic device, interweaves their work and culture in a brilliant narrative.

The story follows a fictional boy, born on the same day Pentagram opened through a series of plot twists, represented on-screen with pieces from Pentagram’s huge library of work.

 

Although this agency is not a big as Red Bull or Nike, this simple video is a great, creative example of a brand also getting storytelling right.

Which brands, do you think, have managed the art of storytelling? Let us know in the ‘Make a comment’ block below.

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