The Narrative of Branding
Storytelling is a part of the collective human unconscious. In almost all the ancient civilizations of the world— songs, dancing and dramatics were an imperative part of the culture, this is how the stories of battles, hunting, customs and traditions were perpetuated through the generations.
The world of advertising has started banking upon this primordial human tendency to relate to stories more than the facts. A brand is perhaps the perfect synthesis of the material and symbolic world. As the world has evolved, so has branding. Today, branding has seen a huge leap from being just ‘product-centric’ to ‘user-centric’. The consumer is the king and all the advertising revolves around appealing to his emotions.
The right kind of advertising begins with understanding one’s position in the market realm and cashing upon that position by creating an engaging narrative.
Airbnb is one example, where through its brand story, the company has challenged the hotel industry and told people to not only travel to new places, but to “live there”. GoPro is another company, known for its compelling brand stories, revolving around the theme of capturing moments spent with friends and family.
In India too, many companies owe the success of their brand to alluring television commercials and social media content, that strikes a chord with the emotional sensibilities of the audience.
Paper Boat for example, built the complete audio-visual narrative of the brand around childhood and nostalgia, embodying the brand’s philosophy “life still is beautiful.” The brand is now hugely popular with a considerable number of followers on its social media platforms.
Through storytelling, a brand tries to make a place for itself in the mind of the consumer. The consumers are now free to choose between the values proposed by different brands. When the consumer embraces the narrative of a particular brand, it can be said that a semiotic relationship has been built between the consumer and the brand, and is it this very relationship that spells success for a brand.
The political sphere, especially near the time of elections, is not very far from this narrative strategy. Different parties (or politicians) weave narratives based around their political ethics.
Thus, this relationship between narrative supply and product demand is a potent tool in the arsenal of advertisers. Storytelling is here to stay, and there’s no escape from it.