Nine examples of brands that excel at storytelling

Have you ever seen such a good advert that you thought about the brand for weeks afterward? 

Brand storytelling is the answer to amazing ads. With a little imagination, it can help you grow your business by drawing in new customers and creating a more positive brand image.

Let’s explore some excellent brand storytelling examples and learn how to craft a story to entice customers. 

What is brand storytelling?

Brand storytelling is exactly what it sounds like. It's the story of your business in a short format that catches your audience's attention. 

You can do this through various mediums, such as social media, a comic on your website, a blog or even a TV commercial. You can also use YouTube, Facebook or a PowerPoint presentation. The possibilities are endless

Storytelling helps you connect with your customers, employees and clients. Good brand storytelling shows your brand is different and worth a second look in a sea of competition.

What defines great brand stories?

Brand stories that stand the test of time and define a business are memorable. Two examples are Cadbury and Disney.

Cadbury used rabbits as its mascot for years. Its commercials played on the rabbit theme, showing other animals wearing bunny ears, pretending to be the rabbit. It was cute and whimsical, fitting the Cadbury brand perfectly.

Disney uses its famous characters, which most of us recognize even as silhouettes. 

Why is brand storytelling significant?

Competition is fierce. From fashion to tech, it can be impossible to stand out. 

Everyone is passionate about their project. If they weren't, they wouldn't be running a business. Brand storytelling can tell us why they love what they do and why we should also love it.

Some brands are so popular that many people won't use another brand. 

Let’s take Dove, for example. Many people stand behind the Dove brand so firmly that they won’t use a product without the iconic blue text with the golden dove on it. 

Vans is another example. Some people consider Vans shoes integral to their identity and hate wearing other brands. 

These companies use storytelling to turn clients into ambassadors. Your storytelling campaign can do the same.

You can build awareness of your brand by crafting something so fantastic that others have to share it. Social media is an excellent method for this, especially if your content goes viral.

Many companies have become more prominent thanks to customers who share brand stories because the content moves or humors them. 

Storytelling can also define your brand in the minds of consumers.

Marty Neumeier, an author and brand adviser, said, "When enough individuals arrive at the same gut feeling, a company can be said to have a brand. In other words, a brand is not what you say it is. It's what they say it is."

Creating compelling stories for your customers is key to getting them on board with your brand.

Nine brand storytelling examples

Let’s examine the world's top companies to learn more about crafting compelling brand stories. Their brands evolve, but their stories remain true to their business models.

Clothing brand storytelling examples

Patagonia

Patagonia is a clothing brand that focuses on outdoor gear. It strives to educate its clients on how they can save the environment. 

Patagonia's activism page reveals that it wants customers to do more than just buy its clothing. It wants them to act. This makes Patagonia feel like a community, and its customers love getting involved.

Nike 

Few brands influence their customer base like Nike. This is possible thanks to Nike’s exceptional storytelling. 

Most of its stories are about athletes who have overcome the odds to become legendary. Nike skilfully pairs these stories with music to add to the emotion.

"Dream Crazy," starring Colin Kaepernick, is one example. It encourages everyone to chase their dreams, regardless of background or obstacles. 

It pulls at the heartstrings and makes the audience believe their dreams are worth chasing, even if it won't be easy.  

SPANX (and Sara Blakely)

Spanx started small and quickly grew into an undergarment empire. 

Its founder, Sara Blakely, came up with the idea when she didn't have the right garments for a party. Her solution was to cut the feet out of some pantyhose. From there, she revolutionized the undergarment industry.

Blakely's ability to make others laugh is part of what makes her brand stand out. She even uses standup comedy in her employee training, keeping her entire company on brand.

Food brand storytelling examples

Procter & Gamble

During the 2012 Olympics, Procter & Gamble incorporated athletes and their mothers into their ads. The Raising an Olympian campaign was a huge success. 

While we know the Olympians do much of the hard work, the campaign highlighted that they also had a lot of love and support from their mothers.

Procter & Gamble often focuses its campaigns on real people to make the ads relatable. It features genuine people who use its products instead of actors. 

In many cases, Procter & Gamble doesn't even need to mention its products. Placing their logo somewhere on the ad gets the message across loud and clear. 

Mouth Foods

Mouth Foods shares its brand storytelling through email. Since so many people have email accounts, this is the perfect way to contact your audience.

According to Intuit Mailchimp, Mouth Foods can take as much as eight hours to finish the subject line to ensure customers open the email. 

It may seem like overkill, but the click-through rate shows that people open and read the email. This translates into sales, which is the ultimate goal.

Haagen-Dazs

Haagen-Dazs is an American ice cream brand that tries to educate the public about life without bees.

One of their most successful methods is virtual reality (VR). One of their VR experiences is 'The Extraordinary Honey Bee, ' where viewers can experience what some honey bees go through. 

If you have the money to invest in VR, you could get in on the action early. Not many companies are using this area for brand storytelling.

Luxury brand storytelling examples

Formula One 

Formula One took a more complicated approach to brand storytelling by creating a full documentary series for Netflix called Drive to Survive. The series gives viewers an in-depth look at the racing world from behind the scenes.

Viewers become invested in the drivers' stories and experiences, learning more about F1 in the process. The stakes are incredibly high, and there’s a real sense that things may go wrong.

While viewers may not know about Formula One, they may become hooked on the sport if they notice Drive to Survive while flicking through Netflix. 

Volvo

Volvo aims to reduce new car accidents to zero. While many factors are outside the Swedish automaker's control, the company is doing its best to design and manufacture safer cars.

Still, Volvo understands that safety depends largely on the person behind the wheel. To encourage safer driving practices, Volvo released a video called 'For Life.' This video showcases real people sharing their stories, making it more relatable and impactful. 

Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe is a luxury watch company. Its ads showcase visually appealing family pictures, reminding its customers that the main goal of any generation is to set up the next for success

Every Patek Philippe ad has a watch somewhere in the photo. It's not always obvious, but once you realize which brand the photo is for, you can't help but look for the watch.

The message is clear: You can pass these watches on to your children as they’ll last for several generations. You're not just getting a piece of jewelry to impress your coworkers or friends—you're purchasing an heirloom. 

More examples of powerful brand storytelling

You won't have to look far if you want more examples. 

Other companies, such as Apple, Airbnb, SoulCycle, Warby Parker and Old Spice, are experts at powerful brand storytelling:

  • Apple’s products are more than just electronics: They're a way to make memories.
  • Airbnb shows how your holiday can be so much more if you have some privacy. 
  • Old Spice uses humor to showcase how its products are for everyone. 
  • SoulCycle uses its patrons' stories to show how their lives have improved since taking cycling classes. 
  • Warby Parker shares how its eyeglass frames business began by printing it on cleaning wipes.

While these stories are simple, they’re incredibly powerful and effective.

What makes a great brand narrative?

A great brand narrative understands emotions. It pulls the audience in and makes them care. 

You can do this through humor. Making your audience laugh helps them associate you with something positive. They'll be more likely to turn to you than a brand with no personality.

Using emotions can make them feel like they're making a difference by using your brand.

If you’re interested in climate change, you can draw attention to your product, which avoids ingredients that can harm the environment. When your customers choose you over the competition, they’re helping to save the planet.

Creating a unique logo is another way to craft a great brand narrative. Nike does this with the tick. It's simple, yet everyone knows it without needing any context.

If you can find something that’s easily recognizable at a glance and sets your brand apart from the competition, people will stand by your brand.

Tips for telling your brand story

When crafting a story, keep it relevant to your brand. You don't have to be literal, but you need to ensure the story ties into your brand somehow. 

For example, if you run a clothing line and love bears, you can use bears for your story. Perhaps Goldilocks broke into the Three Bears' house because Momma Bear has such great style that Goldilocks couldn't help herself. This showcases your storytelling ability and brand.

Another tip is to keep your audience in mind. You don't want to push them away. Just because you want to expand your audience doesn’t mean neglecting or insulting your current one. 

Nestle is a great example of this. In 2002, Nestle launched an “It’s not for girls” campaign for its Yorkie chocolate bar. Naturally, this didn’t go down very well with half of the population. While it’s far from the first brand to use controversy to market products, inclusivity wins out. 

Being honest and authentic gives people something they can respect, even if they disagree. They may choose to do business with you despite your differences.

Are you ready to craft a tale so compelling that your team, customers and clients will be eager to invest in your business? Get started today with the Storyteller Tactics Deck.

FAQs

What is the Amazon brand story?

Amazon started in 1994 as an online bookstore before introducing more products, from toilet paper to Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

In 2000, it became an online marketplace for other sellers. That led to Amazon introducing marketing features for sellers, including enhanced product descriptions and brand stories. This allows third-party sellers to tell their brand story to potential customers. 

What is my personal brand story?

Your brand story tells your customers who you are, what you do and why you do it. It’s the core of your business and a chance to connect with your audience. 

Why did you get started? What made you fall in love with your industry? How can you solve your customers’ problems?

Keeping your story authentic is a great way to get customers interested in your business. 

What is an example of a transmedia brand storytelling?

You don't have to restrict your storytelling campaign to one medium. You can do a TV commercial, a blog and even a comic. 

Some examples include the Harry Potter series, which began as a book series and expanded into movies, plays and a TV show. 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, which originated as a comic, is also popular in the mainstream after expanding across different types of media. 


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