Creating a brand story requires connecting with a customer on a personal level. Maya Angelou once said, “They will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.” That theme seems to play out in the guidance major content marketers give their protégés when trying to develop meaningful content.
I was lucky enough to have Greg Monaco, Principal of Monaco Lange, the NYC based branding agency as our MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group) NJ Chapter workshop presenter a few weeks back and his advice is still ringing in my ears. These sage words of advice sum up the whole 3 hour interactive session: “Stop selling products and start telling stories: Connect your brand with emotion and relevance.”
Monaco started the presentation with a very interesting classified advertisement that is attributed to Ernest Hemingway. Someone bet that he couldn’t write a story in less than 10 words and to win the bet, he wrote this: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”
Wow. Impactful story, right? It has a beginning, a middle and an end. Besides that, Greg would say it has the three critical elements needed in a story:
- A Hero: in this case, it’s the parent(s)
- A Villain: here, it would be death
- Passion: completion or closure
Greg then took us through multiple brand examples, including UPS, (the hero is UPS, the villain is time or roadblocks and the passion is connecting, working, work flow), and Harley Davidson (the hero is Harley, the villain is convention and the passion is freedom).
Think about just about any brand/product and apply the same logic to it. It makes complete sense to me now! Of course, he went deeper into the process and made us to some visualizations and creative writing exercises but it all came from the core foundation described above. If you want to know more—give Greg a call and tell him I sent you!
If we look at luxury brands, one could say (and he did) that they live in parity to one another. All are fabulous, great quality, expensive, and highly sought-after—so what differentiates one brand from the other? Ahhh…now that’s the secret sauce now isn’t it? That secret sauce is the story behind the brand: it’s the hero/villain/passion triangle that gives the company the brand DNA we perceive as consumers. Gucci conjures up a different image than Ralph Lauren, than Chanel, right? I think we can all agree with the fact that the nuances are where the differentiators lie.
Applying the this logic to my own brand, onDemand CMO, the hero is me and my team, the villain is complexity and jargon and my passion is clarity. In longer form, the story of my brand would look like this: onDemand CMO is the hero because it uses the sword of clarity to cut through the clutter and jargon in the B2B world to create clear and concise marketing strategies and messages.
What would the story look like for your brand?