1
Brand Storytelling
Find the universal truth …
and find those who want to hear it.
Kim Donlan
KDonlan@RedSwan5.co
m
What‟s my story.
2
‣ Brand/Digital strategist
• Consumer: Beyonce to Nickelodeon to
Gillette
• Publishing: Scholastic to P...
3
Is the brain wired for story?
Understanding how we think.
Why storytelling?
Heroes, myths and legends. 1
2
Successful st...
4
Seth Godwin, All Marketers are
Liars
“Consumers believe
stories. Without this
belief, there is no
marketing.”
Storytelling Defined
5
‣ Narrative and
storytelling are
interchangeable
‣ Narratives are the
stories we tell ourselves
and...
Consumers Ignore Confusing Stories
6
Make snap decisions…they know when you are faking it.
Malcolm Gladwells, Blink.
‣ Hum...
Every Story has a Hero
7
‣ Based on ageless myth patterns and common
archetypes
‣ Universal stories in every culture calle...
8
A Hero‟s Journey
looks like this…but
transferred to a
brand
Crossing the
first
Threshold
Challenges
Revelation
Transform...
9
Crossing the
first
Threshold
Exists
Revelation
Transforme
d
Forgiv
e
Loyal
to the
Story
Refus
al
of the
Call
Call
to
Act...
10
Is the brain wired for story?
Understanding how we think.
Why storytelling?
Heroes, myths and legends. 1
2
Successful s...
11
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide.
“The reason emotions are
so intelligent is they turn
mistakes into educational
events.”
12
Emotional Thinking Drives
Decisions
‣ The sting of spending money
can‟t compete with the thrill
of getting something ne...
Humans Think in Story
‣ Human beings are social animals
‣ Seek connection and intimacy from exchange of
information and sh...
Story is Constant
14
5 hours per day on TV and movies (does
not include downloading)
2000 day dreams per day = 2 hours
14 ...
Brand Story Become Part of Your
Story
‣ How we saw it
‣ Used It
‣ What it was like
‣ Who told us
‣ What we heard about it
...
Stories have become social
activities?
16
Consumer decisions and behaviors are increasingly
driven by the opinions, tastes...
17
Is the brain wired for story?
Understanding how we think.
Why storytelling?
Heroes, myths and legends. 1
2
Successful s...
18
“Stories change in the
telling and in the
telling, they change you.”
The Secret Formula
19
‣ Reveal something personal and unknown about
the person or brand
‣ Tap into a specific emotion to m...
Tell simple stories in many ways?
20
Experience is becoming increasingly personalized, participatory
and social with shari...
People Seek Good Stories
21
From marketers who honestly believe their own stories
‣ Legos
• “We do not sell toys, we sell ...
The Story is What People Buy
22
Large Audiences Require Simple Stories*
‣ It is your brand truth
‣ It is not features, pro...
Competing with Competitor‟s Story
‣ Don‟t tell the same story, tell a different story
‣ Dig deep to find the classic, univ...
24
Jewish Proverb.
“What is truer than truth.
The story.”
25
We are beasts of emotion more than logic.
We are creatures of story, and the process
of changing one mind or the whole ...
26
Kim Donlan
KDonlan@RedSwan5.co
m
“Today‟s consumer
has the ability to
share their hero
journey and it is our
job as mar...
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Brand Storytelling: A Look at the Hero and Brand Journey

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Consumer decisions and behaviors are increasingly driven by the opinions, tastes and preferences of an exponentially large global pool of friends, peers and influencers. Social activities have become the place where consumers tell their stories. 70% of consumers hear of other's experience of brands and 65% learn about products and services. Brand storytelling is not about telling your brand story -- it is about making the consumer the hero. Today’s consumer has the ability to share their hero journey and it is our job as marketers to be the herald of their story.

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  • STORYTELLING IS MESSAGING DONE SO WELL IS BECOMES TRUTH. Stories are so powerful that when they feel authentic. If it ‘feels’ right to us, no matter what the ‘facts’ are. We will believe the story. This is what psychologists call salience or personal relevance. IF YOU ONLY LEARN ONE THING YOU LEARN TODAY. IT IS THAT AUTHENTICITY IS ABOUT PERCEPTION NOT ATTRIBUTES…
  • IF YOU ONLY LEARN ONE THING YOU LEARN TODAY. IT IS THAT AUTHENTICITY IS ABOUT PERCEPTION NOT ATTRIBUTES…
  • In one study, you make the decision weather to sue or not based on how the surgeon treats you before the surgery and not based on the outcome.If you are telling a story that isnt’ right, or compelling or hollow.Authenticity is an emotional response to the story’s relevanceOr is loses its momentum or falters than the snap decision is made
  • Joseph Campbell Studied everything: myths and legendsAnd found that all stories follow the ancient patterns of mythsAnd there is a universal story, occurring in every culture that he called the Hero’s Journey.Joseph Campbell’s: The Hero with a Thousand Faces: A Hero’s JourneyGeorge Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Francis Coppola and Classic examples: Sometimes the call to adventure happens of the character's own choice. In In narratives describing Gautama Buddha's journey, he leaves his ordinary life in pursuit of spiritual awakening after observing three men: an old man, a sick man, and a dead man, and raising the question as to why misery exists in the human world. Other times, the hero is plunged into adventure by unforeseen events. In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus is caught in the terrible winds of the angered god Poseidon and sent off to distant lands.[5]Modern Examples In The Matrix, Neo receives a literal phone call from Morpheus, imploring him to escape his dreary office life and come see him. In Star Wars: A New Hope Luke Skywalker discovers the message for Obi-wan Kenobi from Princess Leia in R2-D2. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, a letter arrives for Harry, telling him that he's been accepted into Hogwarts. In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf arrives on Frodo's doorstep and tells him he must take the ring out of the shire.
  • STORYTELLING IS MESSAGING DONE SO WELL IS BECOMES TRUTH. Stories are so powerful that when they feel authentic. If it ‘feels’ right to us, no matter what the ‘facts’ are. We will believe the story. This is what psychologists call salience or personal relevance. IF YOU ONLY LEARN ONE THING YOU LEARN TODAY. IT IS THAT AUTHENTICITY IS ABOUT PERCEPTION NOT ATTRIBUTES…
  • Consumer Reports tested 45 double blind Strawberry jam among experts and came out with a list of the the best jamsA few years later, Timothy Wilson asked his students to replicate the jam but only used 5 samples 1, 11, 24, 32 and 44, the students were statistically accurrate within .55 Then repeated the same taste test with a new group of students but this time he asked them why. Now all that thinking got people so confused they ranged the worst tasking jam as the best.When you are looking for a rational reason. For example, people ranked that they liked it because it was spreadable…when spreadibility wasn’t important to that person at all. He didn’t like it.people to analyze their strawberry decision. They made worse decisions because they had no idea what their Nacc really wanted. Instead of listening to their feelings they tried to deliberately decipher their pleasure.You Can’t ask the Naccquesitons. We can only listen to what it has to say. Retail decisions manipulate this. Soothe the insula and stroke the NAcc
  • What is going on here? Why are we putty in a storyteller’s hands? The psychologists Melanie Green and Tim Brock argue that entering fictional worlds “radically alters the way information is processed.” Green and Brock’s studies shows that the more absorbed readers are in a story, the more the story changes them. Highly absorbed readers also detected significantly fewer “false notes” in stories--inaccuracies, missteps--than less transported readers. Importantly, it is not just that highly absorbed readers detected the false notes and didn’t care about them (as when we watch a pleasurably idiotic action film). They were unable to detect the false notes in the first place.
  • Does not include gaming, texting, gossip, chatting with friends, business presentations, having a drink with friends, socializing….
  • IF YOU ONLY LEARN ONE THING YOU LEARN TODAY. IT IS THAT AUTHENTICITY IS ABOUT PERCEPTION NOT ATTRIBUTES…
  • And the shortest ones can sometimes be the best. Ernest Hemingway famously wrote the six-word story: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
  • Lego Does Not Sell ToysLego knew very early on that they were not selling toys; they understood that they were in the imagination business.“If Apple were like everyone else, a marketing message from them might sound like this: “We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. Want to buy one?” “Meh.”Here’s how Apple actually communicates. “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly.We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?Britian’s got talent. Sells dreams.
  • People want and are wired for truth.And it needs to be a story that has a
  • STORYTELLING IS MESSAGING DONE SO WELL IS BECOMES TRUTH. Stories are so powerful that when they feel authentic. If it ‘feels’ right to us, no matter what the ‘facts’ are. We will believe the story. This is what psychologists call salience or personal relevance. IF YOU ONLY LEARN ONE THING YOU LEARN TODAY. IT IS THAT AUTHENTICITY IS ABOUT PERCEPTION NOT ATTRIBUTES…
  •  All from The storytelling animal: pages 8 and 9Human beings are social animals Seeking connection and intimacy from exchange of information and shared experience When we think of storytelling, often, we think of children in make believe worlds. Story is in everything you do: Reading, writing, watching TV, films, chatting, presenting, your dreams are stories. It is not a passive activity.
  • Brand Storytelling: A Look at the Hero and Brand Journey

    1. 1. 1 Brand Storytelling Find the universal truth … and find those who want to hear it. Kim Donlan KDonlan@RedSwan5.co m
    2. 2. What‟s my story. 2 ‣ Brand/Digital strategist • Consumer: Beyonce to Nickelodeon to Gillette • Publishing: Scholastic to Pearson to Macmillian • Education: Harvard Business School and Harvard‟s Office of the Arts • Technology: Demandware to Where (PayPal) ‣ Media psychologist ‣ A girl who tells a great story A die-hard brander, idea launcher, entrepreneur, marketer
    3. 3. 3 Is the brain wired for story? Understanding how we think. Why storytelling? Heroes, myths and legends. 1 2 Successful stories formulas? Find the universal truth and let people talk about it. 3
    4. 4. 4 Seth Godwin, All Marketers are Liars “Consumers believe stories. Without this belief, there is no marketing.”
    5. 5. Storytelling Defined 5 ‣ Narrative and storytelling are interchangeable ‣ Narratives are the stories we tell ourselves and others about everything we do ‣ Stories seem authentic. Authenticity is perception not attributes Story is a reimagined experience narrated with enough detail and feeling to cause your listeners imaginations to experience it as real.
    6. 6. Consumers Ignore Confusing Stories 6 Make snap decisions…they know when you are faking it. Malcolm Gladwells, Blink. ‣ Humans make decisions without data and will do anything to not be proven wrong • Applies to interviews, dates, friends, products, services, brands ‣ Confusing stories are ignored (cause panic) ‣ Compelling stories are embraced • Even if it is fear. (Fear is irresistible)
    7. 7. Every Story has a Hero 7 ‣ Based on ageless myth patterns and common archetypes ‣ Universal stories in every culture called the Hero‟s Journey ‣ Archetypes – constantly repeating characters that occur in myths of all cultures • Young hero • Wise old woman/man • Shape shifter • Shadowy antagonist Heroes, Myths and Legends Joseph Campbell‟s: The Hero with a Thousand Faces: A Hero‟s Journey Carl G. Jung: Archetypes: The collective conscious
    8. 8. 8 A Hero‟s Journey looks like this…but transferred to a brand Crossing the first Threshold Challenges Revelation Transforme d Ordea l Retur n With Exlier Refus al of the Call Call to Action Central Ordeal Temptation s Rewar d Begin Transformatio n Resurrectio n The Road Back Test Transformatio n
    9. 9. 9 Crossing the first Threshold Exists Revelation Transforme d Forgiv e Loyal to the Story Refus al of the Call Call to Action Known for something I care about Known for Something Defend Begin Transformatio n The Road Back Test Transformatio n Represent s me Adapted from Google „s Presentation at Hubspot Conference 2012 is a new way to look at marketing where the consumer is the hero
    10. 10. 10 Is the brain wired for story? Understanding how we think. Why storytelling? Heroes, myths and legends. 1 2 Successful stories formulas? Find the universal truth and let people talk about it. 3
    11. 11. 11 Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide. “The reason emotions are so intelligent is they turn mistakes into educational events.”
    12. 12. 12 Emotional Thinking Drives Decisions ‣ The sting of spending money can‟t compete with the thrill of getting something new ‣ Whichever emotion you feel most intensely tends to dictate your shopping decision. Research based on Consider this Clever, Brain Knutson and George Loewenstein, Neural Predicto How we Decide, Jonah Lehrer
    13. 13. Humans Think in Story ‣ Human beings are social animals ‣ Seek connection and intimacy from exchange of information and shared experience ‣ Behavior is based on the believed story ‣ Humans organize and covey experiences to themselves and one another through story 13
    14. 14. Story is Constant 14 5 hours per day on TV and movies (does not include downloading) 2000 day dreams per day = 2 hours 14 seconds is average length of a day dream National endowment for the Arts 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics 2009 Shaffer et all, 2006 pg 623 Motion Picture Associations of America 2006 Solms 2003 Dream Researcher Owen Flanagan 2000 pg 10. 8 hours scientist believe we are in story- like dream state 50% of Americans still read fiction but only 20 minutes a day Awake and Asleep
    15. 15. Brand Story Become Part of Your Story ‣ How we saw it ‣ Used It ‣ What it was like ‣ Who told us ‣ What we heard about it ‣ Who we were with ‣ Where we are now because of it 15 The brand becomes part of our life through the experience of: Rutledge, Pamela, Narrative and Media 2012
    16. 16. Stories have become social activities? 16 Consumer decisions and behaviors are increasingly driven by the opinions, tastes and preferences of an exponentially large global pool of friends, peers and influencers. 70%Hear other‟s experience 65%Learn more about brands/products/services 53%Compliment brands 50%Express concerns and complaints 2012 Nielson Social Media Report 2012 Oxford handbook of media psychology
    17. 17. 17 Is the brain wired for story? Understanding how we think. Why storytelling? Heroes, myths and legends. 1 2 Successful stories formulas? Find the universal truth and let people talk about it. 3
    18. 18. 18 “Stories change in the telling and in the telling, they change you.”
    19. 19. The Secret Formula 19 ‣ Reveal something personal and unknown about the person or brand ‣ Tap into a specific emotion to move people to action • fear, desire, anger, or happiness ‣ Take a person on a journey where there is a transformation between the beginning, middle, and the end ‣ Be simple: tap into the audience‟s imagination so that they willingly go along for the journey Your Story Must:
    20. 20. Tell simple stories in many ways? 20 Experience is becoming increasingly personalized, participatory and social with sharing of information and stories. 92%Actively multi-source news/info 20%of media consumption on mobile devices (e.g. iPod) 21%Spending more time on pc and smartphone 2012 Oxford handbook of media psychology 76%Spend more time on mobile apps than mobile web
    21. 21. People Seek Good Stories 21 From marketers who honestly believe their own stories ‣ Legos • “We do not sell toys, we sell imagination” ‣ Apple • “We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. ‣ Britain‟s Got Talent • “We sell dreams” People don‟t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And if you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.* Simon Senek, Ted Talk: Start with Why.
    22. 22. The Story is What People Buy 22 Large Audiences Require Simple Stories* ‣ It is your brand truth ‣ It is not features, products, promise or attributes ‣ It is the story they tell you that they want reflected back Howard Gardner, Changing Minds: The art and science of changing your and other people‟s minds.
    23. 23. Competing with Competitor‟s Story ‣ Don‟t tell the same story, tell a different story ‣ Dig deep to find the classic, universal myth ‣ Tell the story to/for the people who want to hear it ‣ Frame it as a hero‟s journey – where the consumer is the hero – not you or your brand. 23 You can‟t change minds, but you can change the story
    24. 24. 24 Jewish Proverb. “What is truer than truth. The story.”
    25. 25. 25 We are beasts of emotion more than logic. We are creatures of story, and the process of changing one mind or the whole world must begin with “Once upon a time.” Gottschall, J. , 2012 The Storytelling Animal: How Stories make us Human
    26. 26. 26 Kim Donlan KDonlan@RedSwan5.co m “Today‟s consumer has the ability to share their hero journey and it is our job as marketers to be the herald of their story.”
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