We recently came across a quote from John Norman, CCO of The Martin Agency, which struck a familiar cord:
“We used to tell stories through campaigns. Now we build stories.”
As we mentioned in our August 2012 blog post, some companies communicate their Brand Stories better than others.
Telling a story is based more on a one-way communication and Building a story is based more on today’s demand for two-way communications between the brand and the customer and among many of the brand’s customers.
A good example of building a brand story is The Martin Agency’s “GEICO” campaign. How many companies have invested so much in a campaign, with a series of different ads to keep everyone entertained and informed on what the brand story is and does? This strategy is much more than the Gecko avatar, but he is its star no doubt. The campaign continues to live up to The Martin Agency’s philosophy to surprise, delight and break through the clutter with creativity.
Looking at a brand or company, its personality and its projected image is how consumers take that first step to becoming one of the brand’s customers. When the brand weaves a believable, relevant, entertaining or useful story about what it offers, the consumer is ready to connect and build a long-term relationship. The attraction was strong and the brand delivers on its brand promises, a longer relationship will hopefully develop and last over time.
Take for example the new TV and YouTube ads for CHICO’S: vibrant, enthusiastic, romantic dancing, cheeky, stylish for their target customer: fashion savvy women of 30 years and older, enjoying the joy of fashion, friendship, and life…
Or their sister brand, White House/Black Market, another spirited brand — building their story through an image that offers: “WORK IT, The Other Side of Work Wear.”
Connecting with another TV commercial and YouTube video presenting their dancing spirit with style and a fashion show. They are “dedicated to helping their customers feel that every place they go is more beautiful… simply because they are there.”
Both TV Commercials (YouTube links below) are strategically running during the popular TV show, “Dancing With The Stars.” A smart alignment of message and audience, wouldn’t you say?
The challenge for every brand in this fractious, chaotic media world, is to take a fresh look at and deeply know who is their audience. What are their new media habits? How can the brand’s biography, history, and interesting/relevant anecdotes resonate across media formats to this more well-understood audience?
So it may be time to ask: When was the last time you took a fresh look at your audience and your Brand Story? And moreover, have you built a relationship with your customers? Are they looking for you and connecting with the brand?
Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.