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An occasional evening at the office... for brand storytelling.

"Safe to brag to friends about." How does this sound for a restaurant's tagline? A just-about-medium-sized thing in a suburb that is very sure about what it puts on the plates. We are talking about claims here. As the old saying goes, "You've got to name it to claim it." Which means that we have to be able to make a claim that's special, interesting, attractive, fresh, and unique and still be credible, relevant and make a point.

The train of logic is that if you really liked your meals at this restaurant, you'd find it worthy of mention to neighbors or other friends in the vicinity. There's also a customer insight here - everyone does like to be able to mention a name or two in a conversation where dining-out experiences are being discussed. They also like it to be a place which someone else in the conversation is not going to run down for another reason.

In marketing communication jargon, we call this the `benefit of the benefit' - it's that something that you are enabled to do because of a quality in our product/service. Like a particular car model whose cost of ownership (not just the price tag, but a comparison of what driving 10,000 miles in it would cost vis-a-vis another car in its price band) can suggest how financially savvy its owner is, which can matter to a whole bunch of industry professionals. So here the tagline would be about people whose money takes them farther.

Brand storytelling is all about visualizing a successful outcome (or an experience they would want again) for your customer. It's a snappy account of what they had in mind before, how they felt during, and what happened after their brand experience. Depending on the kind of point you need to establish about your brand (which depends on how new or familiar your brand is in its category), you can focus on some important detail or instead make some larger point or share a broader theme which greets the audience in a familiar way and helps in bonding with them.

You can read here (otismaxwell.com) about how a young copywriter, who'd go on to rise in fame, discovered an obscure part (a metal bar underneath called the Capo d'Astra) of a piano that nearly no one knew about and wrote a campaign for the brand based on it. There are variations of this campaign legend that tell you that the piano was a regular at the Carnegie Hall or at the Metropolitan Opera House, and it appears that the brand was Aeolian Piano. Our takeout: there's a story in there nearly every time, we've to find it and work on presenting it with gusto.

Once you have an interesting brand tagline, you can use it as a device to tell your stories. A strong tagline will usually suggest great campaign possibilities that create a signature style for your brand communication. e.g. In the last six weeks, 44 of Ralph's friends dropped in. They are unanimous about the Kohlrabi Spaghetti alla Foriana (this is for the restaurant that lives up to its hearsay).

Your brand's story-line must convey a promise - one that you are very certain that your brand can fulfill consistently. The other thing is that its narrative must be easy for your intended audience to follow, and agree with. Don't praise your product or service in every third line - they will not stay with you. Let them like the story itself first, then let that story work for your business.

Too many people, in their concern to have it work for their business, achieve the opposite by spoiling the story. Your sales pitch isn't by itself usually a story.

And then, your customers live happily ever after.

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