Stories seeking closure
Martin Bunce looks at ‘Fairy Tales’ and explains why a good brand story should enable it to forge a relationship with consumers
Some may argue that the most important function of any pack is to safely move a product through the supply chain and into the hands of the consumer. If a pack doesn’t do this, one would also argue that it’s a failure.
Of course, a more holistic view of the function of a pack reveals many extremely obvious opportunities for failure. Perhaps not with the same, easily identified, catastrophic outcomes, but a pack that does not advocate the second purchase, as well as it did the first, is in our highly competed, mass volume world of FMCG, arguably equal in the failure stakes.
This holism is best achieved through the understanding that brands are stories masquerading as things. A brand story is not just what you tell your consumers, it’s what you make consumers believe and feel. A great story makes us feel something and creates connections. Great story telling doesn’t happen by accident – be aware of the unwritten rules.
Christopher Booker has already informed us of ‘The Seven Basic Plots’: 1 Overcoming the monster , 2 Rags to riches, 3 The quest, 4 Voyage & return, 5 Comedy, 6 Tragedy, 7 Rebirth. But these may be a little difficult to superimpose on our understanding of brands.
However, a brand story enables a relationship to be forged between “things” and the consumer. Meaningful bonds and emotional connections are created. A great story builds brand loyalty and differentiates you.
So, in keeping with the magnificence of seven, we’ve pulled together 7 ‘A’s to help us with effective storytelling.
Alluring: Headline with something that builds interest and engagement to draw you in.
Anticipation: Create a tension by alluding to the future experience that makes us crave more.
Aspiring: Include something or someone that you can relate to and aspire to.
Adventure: Through the packaging, take the consumer on an experiential journey, with a beginning, middle and end.
Authentic: Know your roots and keep them alive to remain genuine, simple and trusted.
An original: Avoid crossing over with other well know brand stories. Being unique sticks!
‘And on and on and on’: Be prepared for the need of new chapters to continue the story. Even the longest standing brand stories find ways to reinvigorate and stimulate interest, both with new and existing consumers.
With the 7 ’A’s in mind remember that stories must be reinforced in everything you do. A brand story is all encompassing from communication to in-store, from user experience to user disposal, from what’s on the inside and what’s on the outside.
Knowing your audience is also fundamental and the contemporary targets for stories are our much documented millennials. They’re known to have a high demand for ‘realness’ and truth in the brands they choose, brands whose stories are clearly and explicitly written in the appearance and experience.
We recently helped Magnum relaunch the pint pot format. Here, the format had been unsuccessfully telling the heart of Magnum’s story of luxury and indulgence. The classic magnum tells it through the experiential, feel and sound, of the crack of thick chocolate. The new pot guides the consumer through a new gesture of squeezing that rewards with the ‘real’ sound of cracking chocolate: brand promise fulfilled, story delivered.