Marketing Narrative is quietly and slowly gaining ground in marketing disciplines where brands and their managers historically tend to talk about themselves. Marketers can use Narratives to help address the strategic role that vision and leadership play in organizational growth and success by focusing on other people.
In summary, Leaders do lead. Companies that win are usually category leaders. They provide the definition of the market, shift perceptions, and play an integral role in stretching the boundaries of their sector. These companies see change, disruption, and innovation, and they embrace it. They stand out from the crowd by articulating a new perspective on their industry. All great cultures have employed narrative strategies to frame a unique view, communicate a clear vision, and chart a course of actions that support their aspirations and beliefs.
What is Brand Story?
Brand Story helps businesses tell stories about themselves. These stories help them answer the question, “Why do we exist?”. They also allow them to explain how they are different from other companies. Finally, they will enable them to share why customers should care about them.
For example, Apple Computers, Inc. was founded on April 1, 1976, by college dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. They brought the new company a vision of changing how people viewed computers. Jobs and Wozniak wanted to make computers small enough for people to have them in their homes or offices.
Brand Stories might be inspirational but do not provide a reason for selecting one brand or another. While they play an essential role in defining the Brand Roots, they often become part of the clutter surrounding brands.
What is Narrative Marketing?
Narrative marketing is an approach to marketing that focuses on the needs of your audience. It is centered around their lives, their problems, and overcoming their adversities. It is focused on the customer, not the brand. It engages your audience, making them active listeners, and bringing clarity to what you have available to offer them.
In a nutshell, it is a storytelling technique about how the brand “gets it” and “fits in” consumers’ lives.
Narrative marketing means using a story to communicate a message. The aim is to generate an emotional reaction from the viewer that will prompt them to take action. Storytelling in marketing can help consumers understand why they should care for something and can humanize your brand.
Stories can be told in any medium, visual, verbal, or written. They can be said across all platforms – from social media to television. Marketers can use accounts to create ads that resonate with people and stick.
But why do marketing narratives matter?
1) Stories are second only to experience in learning. They catalyze a better understanding of new and innovative products and services.
2) Storytelling flourishes in a creative setting, which has a dual benefit: it promotes uniqueness and elevates the critical attributes of the desired brand equity.
3) Storytelling is more memorable. Marketing narratives are more likely to be remembered by consumers, making brands more salient.
A framework for narratives
1) Learning objective: every good narrative has a learning objective, ultimately delivering an “a-ha” effect.
2) Uniqueness: copycatting narratives is terrible for businesses and brands. How is your narrative unique?
3) Relevant to your consumers: the narrative works when built around a clear and relevant insight. It’s not a brand-centric story. It’s a consumer centric-one.
4) Structure: storytelling works best when there is a clear beginning (Hook), middle (Learning), and end (Status) to the story.
5) Texture: narratives require realistic and relevant details that provide consistency and credibility.
Marketing Narrative and the challenge to traditional Brand Positioning
Brands are powerful assets. Brands drive massive value to companies and help consumers make better purchasing decisions. Not surprisingly, even CEOs from across industry sectors and company sizes admire the six brands that are top-of-mind for many consumers, including Apple, Amazon, Tesla, Google, Microsoft, and Nike.
We can use brand strategy frameworks to help build our and our client’s brands. Marketers have relied on these strategic principles for three-quarters of a century. Maybe there is an opportunity to rethink the principles of brand positioning when it comes to reimagining business and work.
Too often, this definition leads marketers into an overly simplistic, single-minded, museum piece of a brand positioning statement that ignores the nuances of their product or service. It may be because when Kotler first published these findings in 1967, he discussed the marketing of consumer products such as bars of soap, cans of peas, or boxes of tissues.
Today, competitive advantage grows from a broad range of activities and departments. Marketers need a brand framework that embraces a more comprehensive system of actions.
Many foresee an evolution from a particular brand position to a framework of five or seven core narrative positions that better reflect the company’s strategy, the desire to create brand equity, and the need for multiple target audiences. Each of the narratives is target-centric, where the target can be a group of employees, consumers, or B2B customers. This notion is based on the work of Nobel Prize-winner economist Robert Shiller. He demonstrated the positive relationship between narratives and economic activity throughout time, but we are probably at an early stage of this process!