Storytelling in Branding: How To Make A Lasting Impact

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When it comes to books and movies, people love a good story. There’s something entertaining about watching a hero face the impossible and still triumphing despite the odds. The hero is relatable – inspiring ordinary people to overcome challenges in their own lives. The same works for brand storytelling by “using a narrative to connect your brand to consumers, with a focus on linking what you stand for to the values you share with your customers”. According to OneSpot, 95% of consumers want ads that feel like a story. Here is what three marketing giants can teach us about successful storytelling in branding.

Creating A Community

Airbnb, a privately owned accommodation rental website, overwent a massive rebranding effort with storytelling at its center. Their brand went from a no-frills rentals angle to capturing inclusivity by enabling travelers to “belong anywhere“. By doing this, Airbnb solidifies their values of inclusivity and diversity. This strengthening of ethos also enables additional customers to share their own story, thus strengthening the branding. In fact, Airbnb hosts a blog where they share Experience in the Spotlight snippets.

In addition to reforming their company’s story, Airbnb positions themselves as the hero, fighting against the ridiculously high cost of renting a hotel room. They fight for inclusivity and diversity against the greedy hotel empire, a champion of the modern traveler. And it works! To date, Airbnb has gained massive popularity in the past 10+ years, hosting 600+ million guests since launching in 2008.

Takeaway: Bringing your consumers together as a community can help spread and strengthen your brand!

The breakdown of Airbnb’s logo (courtesy of Airbnb).

Highlighting Your Values

Storytelling in branding relies not only narrative, but also on a concrete value system. People want to rally behind a brand that leaves a positive impact on the world, also known as corporate social responsibility. In fact, 90% of Americans say they are more likely to trust and feel loyal to companies that back social causes. But how did you develop a brand that ignites a movement? TOMS – a retail company specializing in shoes and bags – says in order to spark a movement you must return to the human story.

Their brand focuses on charity after the founder witnessed children growing up without shoes in Argentina. TOMS most defining brand feature is their One for One® program, where every pair of shoes purchased is matched to a child in need. Since then, they have given 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need. TOMS has since expanded its charitable efforts to eyeglasses and bags – which respectively provide eyesight-saving care and birth kits to people in need.

TOMS not only builds a story of kindness and social responsibility but constantly strengthens it with their campaigns. In 2015, TOMS donated over 296,000 pairs of shoes as part of their One Day Without Shoes social campaign. The social campaign earned over 3 million impressions.

Takeaway: Your brand’s values do not need to be as lofty as inspiring world change, but they should be consistent in everything you do!


Image courtesy of Shorty Awards.

Make Storytelling Exciting

Warby Parker is known for revolutionizing the eyeglasses game in a short amount of time. Their rebellious spirit and lofty objective – to offer designer eyewear at a low cost – launched them ahead of their competitors. Warby Parker builds the consumer as the hero, struggling against the eyewear industry’s steep costs and limited styles. They make something as mundane as searching for the perfect pair of glasses fun and exciting through their branding.  Their packages are bright and whimsical, with adorable artwork and exclamations such as “GET EXCITED”. Their blog is bright and engaging. They even have a site where you can get glasses for your dogs (and it’s pretty incredible).

Image courtesy of Warby Barker.

Takeaway: Don’t take yourself too seriously! Allow your brand’s personality to develop into something fun through storytelling.

Brand storytelling makes your consumer the main character and strengthens your brand’s values. This type of marketing is on trend to earn more impressions, reach, and engagement than typical campaigns. Do you need help with developing your business’s story? Not to fear, Social Fire Media is here to help! Our expert analysts and graphic designers can help you refine your brand into something beautiful. Take a look at some of our stunning branding examples or contact Social Fire Media today!

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