The art of story telling is as ancient as our species. Neuroscience has shown that our cognitive systems are wired for stories; indeed that it is through stories that our memories function. When we see something, or hear, or smell, or touch, or taste, our memory retrieves contextual information about the stimulus and builds a “narrative” about it. This is how we get to recognise and categorise what the stimulus is all about, and decide how to respond to it.
We can reverse engineer this cognitive process and ask ourselves how can we build recognisable brands that make people want to relate to them. Let me explain here that by “brand” I do not necessarily mean a commercial brand. It could be a charity, a scientific research organisation, a political party, a country, or a person – or anyone or anything that desires to be identified in positive terms by society at large. The key to building a brand is story-telling. If one can weave a compelling, emotive story around their brand, then people will react to it in a positive way. They will be able to identify with it. Importantly too, they will be able to “tell the story” to their friends, and therefore become links to a long chain of word-of-mouth.
But how do you build a story around a brand? This is where literary theory comes into play. Putting together the right words, creating excitement through a plot, sketching the main characters; all these are tools that can be used in putting together a compelling brand narrative. Starting from a stakeholder analysis and an organisational values analysis, the next step would be to compose representative and compelling vision and mission statements. These statements must somehow capture not only the keywords and the spirit of the brand, but also the narrative “yeast” to be used in putting together derivative narratives. Such derivative narratives, like stories within a story, could then be used to communicate the organisation across all channels and for every campaign.
Thus one does not need to keep inventing stories from scratch. The brand that possesses a strong narrative is a source of inspiration for any campaign; in advertising, lobbying or fundraising.
If you want to build a story for your brand, contact us!