elements of a story
Since the beginning of time, stories have had the power to transport us to a different time and place. Great stories are compelling because they share an inner truth that resonates with us on an emotional level and reinforces our values. That connection inserts us "into" the story.
Movies are one example of compelling storytelling. It's why we laugh, cry, or yell at the TV when one of our values is violated. If you think about it, much of our everyday communications are in the form of a story: blogs, newspaper articles, reality shows, and even a casual conversation with a friend over coffee.
In its purest form, a story contains three essential elements: 1. a character 2. overcoming an obstacle 3. to reaching a goal. The same factors apply when building a story for your brand.
building a brand story
A Typical Story
Let's look at what a compelling brand story is not. Most strategies are product-focused rather than being experiential.
"Tom needs a new barbecue grill, and he chose the Montana XL800 gas grill with a searing station and easy-connect gas attachment. He loves how easy it is to use, and the food is great. Buy a Montana grill today!"
The story communicates the product, points of difference, and a call to action, but it doesn't create a connection between the brand and the consumer.
A BETTER APPROACH
Now let's create a personal connection with a story.
"To the backyard barbecuer who sees outdoor cooking as a uniquely satisfying experience. Who considers their backyard a place to relax and escape the fast pace of life. To the outdoor chef who finds cooking over a wood fire to be curiously instinctive. To the weekend griller who considers cooking and sharing a delicious meal with family and friends as time well spent. Move up to a Montana Grill."
The difference between the two stories is noticeable. The first one has no personal connection, and the second one puts a consumer into the story by connecting what the brand stands for with what the consumer believes or values.