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Authenticity in Fairy Tales


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Authenticity in Fairy Tales

  1. 1. Once Upon A TimeAuthenticity in FairyTales...
  2. 2. It seems everyone isclaiming a new ‘storytelling’expertise... Brands are flocking to ‘storytellers’ for help. Kevin Johnson, creative director at SeymourpowellIt seems everyone is claiming a new ‘storytelling’ expertise, that Beginning, middle and end, a cast of traditional ‘archetypes’,they are the new Aesop or Archer to find the ‘inner tale’ that your challenges, tasks, gifts and wisdom, where good triumphs overbrand must tell the world. Of course, we all know how compelling evil. We love it, who wouldn’t?great stories can be. Their structures are timeless and speak todeep-rooted human truths that stir emotions. That’s why they Hence so many brands are flocking to ‘storytellers’ for helpsurvive down the ages and why mankind continues to tell the same emotionally connecting with consumers to sell more stuff. But whatstories over again. if the story isn’t really true behind the scenes? Isn’t that just a con?A moving story though, doesn’t need to be true to be effective. Social media makes it increasingly impossible to control publicStories exist for entertainment and escapism, but also to teach opinion once a powerful idea takes hold. In Egypt, a thirty yearlessons and give the moral guidance we need through life. dictatorship was overthrown by a galvanized public in just eighteenThat doesn’t often happen neatly in real life, so the construction days. An extreme example, but what can that mean for brands,of a story becomes an airtight, predictable way to build and their owners, if it’s discovered they’re not all they imply?universal understanding. Many favourite brands are owned by multi-nationals beholden toConfidential. © Seymour Powell Limited, 2010. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. shareholders. In the constant drive for efficiencies many brands, entire brand behaviour. Incentivise them for legacy and consumeras part of portfolios, are actually made of the same stuff, on the loyalty, not simply sales.same lines, in the same bottles by the same people. In the questfor meaningful differentiation from the competition, as well as stable 4. Activate and innovate against your cause absolutely. We’re backmates, these brands rely on their ‘stories’: equity, often plundered in the middle-ages – if the blacksmith in the village is actually crap,from bygone days of independence, before the original company everyone will know very quickly!was absorbed.Now post-recession, brand owners want to retain value in thebrands they have ‘cost optimised’ for years, by returning to thecore idea that made the brand great in the first place. Re-writingits brand equity tool ‘de jour’ and redefining the brand’s centralpurpose – it’s reason for being.Great stuff - If it’s cause based and truthfully activated throughoutthe organization, from supply chain and marketing through to usageand disposal. It can take millions of dollars overtime to craft anHowever, the rise of consumer awareness might raise someawkward questions: “Are you in business to make a difference, orsimply make money? Who do you serve first: ‘me’ the consumer,or ‘them’ the shareholders - with me as the patsy?” image that people trustIf your new brand story is merely a cynical veneer, behind whichyou continue to go about the business of making the most money in...only for one piece offrom the least effort, then surely you run/ continue the risk of beingfound out and thus open to another, more honest and generousplayer coming along and eating your lunch. poor judgement to instantlyConsumers who buy a believable story, then discover it isn’t what ruin everything.they thought, can find the disappointment crushing. Reputationis increasingly the important currency in for consumers. A paltry Just ask Tiger Woods50% reputation score on ebay doesn’t exactly breed trust! It cantake millions of dollars over time to craft an image that people trustin, that they aspire to own a piece of, only for one piece of poorjudgment to instantly ruin everything. Just ask Tiger Woods.And the moral of this story?1. Be sure to really live the story and demonstrate real desire for thecause from start to finish, not just where it suits.2. Have brand teams enrolled in the legacy they leave behind, notjust short-term brand thrashing for the length of their assignment.3. Create a brand guardian to be the constant conscience for the To find out more please contact: design@seymourpowell.comConfidential. © Seymour Powell Limited, 2010. All rights reserved.