The Briefing

Brand Storytelling

In this latest edition of The Briefing, we highlight the importance of authentic brand storytelling

Dalziel & Pow
By Dalziel & Pow
Posted 21. 04. 2023

This Briefing looks at how brands are needing to create storytelling that reflects the brand's values and mission. It is no longer an option for brands not to use storytelling however, it must be true to the brand to ensure authenticity and trustworthiness.

So the idea of brands telling their story is not exactly groundbreaking, we’ve all experienced this for a long time now. But while the concept isn’t new, the importance of having and telling an authentic brand story has never been greater. Without this, there is the danger of being lost in this loud, saturated world, brands can no longer afford to be quiet or faceless - they need to have a clear purpose, opinion, and point of view. A solid, well-known and reliable product, service or brand is no longer enough to keep people engaged. This is where the power of brand storytelling comes in - by communicating compelling narratives, you can set yourself apart and connect with people on a more personal and meaningful level. Competitors may fundamentally do the same thing as you, but if they articulate themselves better and position themselves in a memorable way, your brand will be the one that’s left behind. And add in the growth of DTC, purpose and founder-led brands, alongside the aftereffects of the pandemic, which has only accelerated the move toward consumers wanting brands to be more human and authentic in how they communicate.

Brand storytelling, according to Forbes, ‘is the cohesive narrative that weaves together the facts and emotions that your brand evokes’. It is the story behind the brand and why consumers should buy from them, and those brands doing it well are not only standing out in an overly competitive market but winning over consumers. Studies have found that ‘68% of consumers say that brand stories influence their purchasing decisions’ and that ‘companies with compelling brand stories have a 20% increase in customer loyalty’ (The Brand Shop).

Here at Dalziel & Pow we have a deep understanding of storytelling and how to uncover your brand story...

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Heinz puts community at the heart of their strategy

Heinz has been using storytelling to enable a constant dialogue with their community whilst reinforcing its position as an iconic brand. Heinz has been using current trends and listening to their community to put their customers at the heart of their branding. Heinz consistently uses storytelling throughout their branding strategy to remind us that ‘It has to be Heinz’ or that ‘Heinz is an icon’ and it is working. The brand has done a series of campaigns testing the influence of the brand through social experiments. In the ‘Draw Ketchup’ campaign, people were asked to simply draw ketchup, the result, branded Heinz ketchup bottles were drawn. This was later tested on AI with the same results, proving how much the brand’s story and legacy had infiltrated consumers' lives subconsciously.

The brand's most recent campaign, ‘ketchup fraud’ was inspired by social behaviour picked up by their community. A video went viral on social media where a restaurant was caught refilling Heinz with generic ketchup, proving that even just the Heinz bottle was enough to reinforce the brand's values and quality. Heinz's ability to use storytelling to create nostalgia whilst staying current keeps proving to be a strong strategy.

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Peoplehood show the importance of understanding brand’s story

Peoplehood has created a clear, simple strategy driven by acting on the insight of people needing human connection. The new wellness club comes from the creators of SoulCycle, where they discovered that their community would come for the workout but stay for ‘the connections they created in the studios’. Peoplehood’s mission is easily understood as they address the consumer directly and simply whilst telling the story of how they created the brand and the science behind the vision. The result of this makes the brand intuitively authentic and trustworthy.

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Patagonia ‘Not Mars’ campaign reflects the brands values in just two words

Patagonia is currently one of the strongest brand storytellers, so much so they rarely make ads as their values are so well known, loved and trusted. Patagonia’s storytelling focuses on its mission to save the plant, the brand itself is a call to action toward its community and other like-minded individuals creating the culture.

The brand's latest campaign, ‘Not Mars’, is a simple but powerful statement yet is intuitively recognisable as Patagonia. The predominant two words reflect of their brand mission whilst being political and powerful.It is not a surprise that brands look to Patagonia to replicate their legacy and community.

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Manors rebrand shows a new golf story through community

Manors, the golf brand, uses storytelling to reintroduce a new golf story through the eyes of their community. The clothing brand, which rebranded recently, highlights its mission to bring back the fundamentals of golf, which is to have fun, compared to the more modern golfers who focus more on the end score.

Manor's branding is underpinned by golf’s traditions and heritage but focused on a different culture and consumer. The storytelling enables a potential consumer to understand the community's mindset, what they represent and their values, creating a community of like-minded people.

The core value of ‘fun’ is woven throughout the brand's identity as shown through playful language and golf puns or campaign images capturing the personality of their community. The brand has managed to use storytelling to create a new gold brand that feels authentic and community lead.

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Dior uses storytelling to reflect the historic ties between the brand and Japan

The Christian Dior ‘Designer of Dreams’ exhibition has been shown in London, Denver and New York, with its latest location being Tokyo. The exhibition was tweaked specifically for Japan to highlight Dior's deep appreciation and relationship with Japanese culture. There is a dialogue between the Japanese aesthetic and Dior reflected in the exhibition, and gives viewers an insight into who the brand is and their values. The design of the space tells a story of culture and history as unseen content creating an impactful and memorable experience.

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David Hockney Bigger & Closer experience allows viewers to connect with the icon in a deeper level

David Hockney’s first immersive exhibition, ‘Bigger & Closer’ allows viewers to step into the mind of David Hockney whilst he narrates his work and story. The experience allows viewers to connect with the artist on a deeper level, building trust and an understanding of his values. Whilst not a traditional brand, David Hockney fulfils the same requirements: he must stand out in a competitive market and upload his iconic brand. Through storytelling, viewers have been connected to his process, and values in a memorable way.

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We have identified 4 key insights, why they are important and the possible opportunities

1. Consumers are looking to brands to help them to be more sustainable

2. Digital is encouraging sustainable actions within the physical world

3. Sustainability is creating brand communities

4. Creativity is paving the way for a more sustainable future

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A summary of what we’ve covered in this edition of the briefing

Trend Recap: Brands have shifted to engaging storytelling that reflects the brand's values and mission. It is no longer an option for brands not to use storytelling as it helps consumers trust and create deeper connections resulting in customer loyalty.

3 Takeaways:

1. Personal Innovation Favorite: Manor has used storytelling to challenge golf traditions and heritage by focusing and celebrating a similar like minded people.The storytelling enables a potential consumer to understand the community's mindset, what they represent and their values, creating a community and allowing potential consumers to view themselves in the brand.

2. Brands must have a clear understanding of their mission and values if they wish to use storytelling successfully and authenticity.

3. Storytelling is being used by brands to show their community they are actively listening, creating deeper relationships and loyalty

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