When Brands Compete, Story Wins

Visual Creatives is a Storytelling Company.

It is a little passe these days to call yourself a storyteller. Whole articles are being written on the “death of storytelling,” There is a great one here.  And here, a discussion of why scientists in particular should avoid the word storytelling.

Dig a little deeper, however, and you will find that the objection centers around the word “storyteller” itself, and not the craft of using story.  By all means tell a story, Just don’t tell us you are doing it!

What Smart Brands Know

Which brings me to why our core principle states that when brands compete, story wins. It is the simple truth.

Our brains are hardwired to process information presented in story form. We crave meaning, purpose and truth. We want to extrapolate these things for ourselves, and live new experiences through stories that fall outside the range of our normal, everyday life. We want to enter into a different world, and find there a reflection of our better selves.

The smartest brands know how to use the power of story – how to create and portray brand archetypes — and give us that magical world to live in. For a moment, we believe the story that Budweiser so brilliantly told us this month: that our dogs can inspire us to not drink and drive.  Chipotle, a masterful storytelling brand, spins us a great tale of taking the food chain back to the start set to the music of Coldplay and Willie Nelson. We buy into their plan to “Cultivate a better life.” Story persuades us.

Differentiate your Brand

The marketplace is cluttered with thousands and thousands of brands offering products and services that all pretty much sound the same. There are features, and benefits, and you should choose us because we offer slightly different features and benefits. Drink our beer, or eat our food, or fly our airline. Everything is amazing, but everything is the same.

Unless you are Budweiser, or Southwest Airlines, or Chipotle. Unless you are WestJet giving away dreams at Christmas. Or Chevrolet reminding us that the strength of our country is in its farms and farmers. Unless you are telling a story.

When brands compete, story wins.