Brand storytelling has been hailed as the latest marketing innovation in recent years. But ‘brand storytelling’ is a broader term than you might think.
Far from being reserved for marketing alone, brand storytelling encompasses everything from brand leaders harnessing the power of storytelling for effective leadership, to companies adopting stories to structure their internal presentations.
Here’s our rundown of 6 of the best brand storytelling examples, from leadership techniques to marketing masterpieces.
Although recently gaining more popularity, brand storytelling has been around for a long time, and long been championed by sports giant, Nike.
It doesn’t get much simpler than Nike’s iconic “Just do it” campaign, which was launched over 30 years ago. The question resonates across genders, cultures and experiences, provoking an internal dialogue between the active and inactive versions of yourself.
In 1988, Nike released their first “Just do it” TV ad, which showed an 80-year-old man running shirtless across the Golden Gate Bridge. The story of this man’s impressive commitment and achievement was emotional, visual and, ultimately, hugely successful for the Nike brand.
Richard Branson is an avid storyteller, attributing much of Virgin’s success to “the Virgin story – its ups, downs, opportunities, and challenges.” This personal, emotional story, and the way in which he’s weaved it through the business, Branson believes, “is what attracts people to [Virgin’s] products and services”.
Branson has been telling stories for his whole life, most recently through his books, social media channels and blog. In fact, he’s so dedicated to the importance of storytelling in business that he dedicated a whole month in 2017 to teaching his team how to attract customers and investors through the power of stories.
We couldn’t write a list of brand storytelling examples without noting Branson’s experiences and business success.
Czech brewer Budweiser Budvar utilise effective brand storytelling in their business. Their unwavering focus on the stories of how the company came to be, how they make their products, and who makes them permeates through every aspect of their organisation, including on their social media platforms and the dedicated section of their website.
Storytelling techniques also help Budvar achieve success in their sales pitches. The robust and flexible sales presentation their sales team use on the road (which we helped Budvar to create) is built around the company’s story, with Budvar’s products being presented in relation to it. This helps their salespeople to build an emotional connection between their prospects and brand, increasing their chances of making the sale.
Airbnb have received praise for their branding efforts since they burst onto the scene as an innovative start-up in 2008. They’ve taken a different approach to storytelling by revolving their entire business and story around people. In particular, the people who open up their homes, and the people who choose to stay in them.
Airbnb don’t sell cheap stays in cool apartments. They sell unique, community-based travel experiences. And they’ve never shaken their focus on the hosts who provide them and their stories, as demonstrated by their ongoing “Host stories” YouTube series.
This storytelling journey has proven to be immensely successful for the Airbnb brand.
Skyscanner used storytelling to craft a compelling structure for an internal presentation to a large audience, which we supported them with.
In 2019, Skyscanner invited their entire team from across the globe to join them for a multi-day internal event, in which they showcased their rebrand, highlighted the year’s achievements and generated excitement for the year ahead.
To maintain their audience’s attention throughout and help their employees engage with the content on an emotional level, they built each presentation around a story. The story of the company’s conception, stories about individual achievements and stories from the employees themselves helped the event become a success.
Through clever brand storytelling, Skyscanner was able to effectively disperse their ideas and engage their audiences throughout.
Another leader who utilises the power of brand storytelling to enhance their personal brand and business is former Netflix Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord. McCord is famously the creator of Netflix’s ‘Freedom & Responsibility’ PowerPoint, which was published to attract eager new employees to the quickly growing company. The deck effectively told the story of Netflix’s appealing work culture, and has since been viewed over 20 million times.
Today, a modified version of the document remains on Netflix’s job site. In an article in Fast Company, McCord recalls how the PowerPoint (and its viral status) transformed the conversation during interviews, from “Tell me about you life,” to “How do you do productive work?”.
McCord’s experience at Netflix, and her success is making the company seem an exciting and desirable place to work, is another example of how useful brand storytelling can be to business.
From hiring and internal presentations, to marketing campaigns and personal brands, there’s no shortage of areas in which effective brand storytelling can be transformative in business.
For support in crafting your own narrative and achieving your presentation goals, get in touch with us today.