On the Subject of Brand Narrative

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Slides from a presentation I delivered to a large technology client on the subject of branding and brand narrative.

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On the Subject of Brand Narrative

  1. 1. on the subject of brand narrative laurence vincent group director, strategy 11.20.08
  2. 2. brand narrative forms foundational The External View Promise Values Voice The Internal View
  3. 3. a story that permeates from the inside out
  4. 4. brand narrative forms foundational projective SIMPLIFY AMPLIFY Experience Web Communications Identity system Culture Interactive Transactions Print Environment Identity Advertising Products elements Logo(s) Product Strategies Imagery Vehicles Naming Color Retail BRAND Brand Typography Signage PLATFORM architecture Graphic motif Uniforms Messaging Format Environments Simplification Sound Identity Technology management + Amplifire™ + Namequest™
  5. 5. brand narrative forms foundational projective infective living folklore with… + strong basic story-appeal + foundation in actual belief + meaningful message or moral
  6. 6. narrative structure situation complication resolution act one act two act three Subject at rest until forces act Series of beats which raise Subject comes to rest in a upon it, setting it in motion. The the tension and complicate new, changed state (often the dramatic question is posed, the dramatic question. The polar opposite state of act tension is introduced. “meat” of the story unfolds one). All dramatic questions with several twists and turns. are answered and tension is relieved. dramatic tension/ conflict climax = beats
  7. 7. narration channels and devices narrative theme characters plot aesthetics
  8. 8. narration channels and devices narrative theme characters plot aesthetics cause stakeholders products touchpoints + visual system + voice promise
  9. 9. brand narrative mapping techniques narrative mapping attempts to connect past and present story points with current and future touchpoints, so that the desired story is more concrete. past era current era future era act one act two act three + shareholders + shareholders + shareholders stakeholders + b2c customers + b2c customers + b2b/b2c customers characters + media + developers + media + media + developers business challenger brand vs. the dominant brand vs. needs activity rest of the world innovator vs. wall street of the little guys plot conflicts identity elements limited to master brand + extended to a master aesthetics core product brand brand portfolio of products and platforms complete ecosystem
  10. 10. brand narrative forms foundational projective infective reflexive a brief history of identity formation in the u.s.a. early americans modern era identity linked to old- identity linked to consumption world customs and and feedback from generational norms environment and “others” tradition inner other transcendentalists identity linked to lessons learned in childhood and readings from the “inner compass”
  11. 11. brand use and personal narrative sequence: pre during post brand activity: selection use experience narrative driver: theme character plot aesthetics consumer engagement: role preparation performance evaluation / feedback influence: definition and presentation of others’ response to construction of identity identity to the others identity performance
  12. 12. narrative identity stored In consumer subconscious beats story beat exposed to consumers consumer matches beat to the narrative stored in identity centers of the subconscious brain narrative priming + the source narrative already exists in the consumer’s head + brand touchpoints prime the brain to recall the story + through repeated experiences, the brand is linked to the narrative in long term memory and validates identity constructs
  13. 13. “Unlike purely cognitively based priming effects, which decrease after a short delay, our results show that the effect was actually magnified: while participants primed with IBM (a goal-irrelevant brand) were uninfluenced by delay, Apple-primed participants’ creativity increased in strength over time, a hallmark of goal- directed behavior.” + Journal of Consumer Research June, 2008
  14. 14. harley-davidson + product use activates a narrative identity + behavior is driven by brand attributes + voice is tuned to resonate with personal identity drivers
  15. 15. brand narrative forms foundational projective infective reflexive communal + beliefs + culture brand mythology cycle + agents + narrative
  16. 16. the silicon valley narrative + setting the humble garage + characters two misfit inventors + plot rags to riches as a result of brilliant technological innovation + theme fortune rewards good ideas and hard work
  17. 17. + beliefs + agents + narrative
  18. 18. linking brands to cultural conflicts
  19. 19. 37 signals + poster brand for GTD and web 2.0 + a culture first, a collection of products second + navigating several cultural dramas with a solid foundation, but much uncertainty
  20. 20. brand narrative forms foundational projective infective reflexive communal universal Call to Adventure The Journey Home Meeting the Mentor The Ordinary World Crossing the Threshold The extraordinary World/ The World of Transformation Seizing Your Treasure Helpers & Challengers The Supreme Ordeal Into the Innermost Cave
  21. 21. archetypes + a personality type observed multiple times + persistent in literature throughout the world for centuries + used in Jungian psychology to suggest a heritable memory ingrained in the collective unconscious + driver of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth theory about the one great narrative that transcends time and geography
  22. 22. tapping the collective unconscious + ritual dimension of consumer behavior + tribal branding + mono-mythic experience design + phonetic symbolism + ‘basic level’ brand architecture
  23. 23. frish frosh
  24. 24. frish frosh
  25. 25. “...back vowels such as the [u] sound in dull or ugh are very often found in words expressing disgust or dislike (e.g., blunder, bung, bungle, clumsy, muck), and words beginning with sl also tend to have a negative connotation (slouch, slut, slime, sloven). Words beginning with fl often express movement (flutter, flap, flicker). Across languages and cultures, similarities have also been noted. Words connoting “little” in non-English languages are kleine (German), petite (French), piccola (Italian), and mikros (Greek), all of which have front vowel sounds for the initial syllable. The same is true for suffixes.” + Phonetic Symbolism and Brand Name Preference Journal of Consumer Research, 2007
  26. 26. brand architecture and prototype theory superordinate animals furniture Apple basic level bird chair iPhone subordinate sparrow Stickley 3G
  27. 27. summary + every brand has the potential to tell a story + some brands are more literal than others in the way they choose to narrate + other brands enable stories already at play in the mind of the consumer or in the community in which they participate + understanding the drivers of narration is key to managing brands over time
  28. 28. about siegel+gale
  29. 29. global strategic branding firm
  30. 30. Siegel+Gale applies the art and science of simplicity to create branding programs that help organizations excel.
  31. 31. 150+ people senior practitioners smart, nice, and unstoppable
  32. 32. serving clients around the world from strategic locations London New York Los Angeles Dubai
  33. 33. an Omnicom company global network full-service offering seamless integration
  34. 34. Global network through partnership with Fleishman-Hillard
  35. 35. What we do Research Visual Identity Design Brand Strategy Environmental Branding Brand Architecture Digital Strategy + Design Naming Experience Simplification Content Development Brand Alignment 39
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