Storytelling is the simple act of telling a story. Something that we do since the dawn of times, when tribes gathered around a fireplace to hear and pass them on. Neuroscience explains it as a way for the brain to recognize familiar patterns and create narrative structures that become easy to understand and process. A beginning (when everything seems apparently fine) a middle (something happens and actions are taken) and an end (the problem is fixed and lessons are learned).
So, what storytelling has to do with branding? Well, first of all, it’s an invitation for your consumer to gather around the “fireplace” with your brand. In other words, to engage. Secondly, if you want to surround it with meaning and motivation, you’ll need to communicate the why, the how and the what in a way that is compelling and entertaining. What’s better than telling a story?
But to give it a proper structure and address the right emotions you will need to follow a pattern. Enters the application of archetypes. Why use them? Because they make your narrative more consistent. Keep in mind that we have been hearing the same stories over and over again! Just look at Hollywood: how many times did we watch a movie about the Hero’s journey? Or the Cinderella “rags to riches” transformation?
To be more specific, if for example you have a Hero brand, the narrative will go around how to overcome challenges and difficult situations, how to be brave and persist. If it is a Lover brand, the key is to address the longing for intimacy and connection. Maybe, it’s the Jester and the message evolves around living in the moment and having fun. On the other hand, the Sage is all about knowledge and the search for truth, so you’ll need to create stories that show your expertise.
The secret is not letting a story turn into a cliché, something predictable, boring that doesn’t add. But if you know what you stand for and understand the cultural moment, you can build up to create relevant, well-structured and strong narratives that consumers will recognize and engage to because they want to be part and live this story with the brand.
Remember: your storytelling strategy must be authentic, relatable, consistent and clear. Don’t try to be all things to all people, find your tribe, find your voice and stick to it!