If you’ve been keeping up with my posts from the past few weeks, you should be catching onto the idea that brand storytelling is a really important part of marketing. Need some inspiration to spark your own brand’s story? Check out these 10 brand storytelling examples. If you want more guidance on how to create a compelling story feel free to read up on our Step by Step Guide to Brand Storytelling that we posted a few weeks back. The 10 storytelling examples below demonstrate the power of storytelling in forming a connection with your target audience.
Dove has done a good job of sharing their brand story through longer videos. 2 of which have gone viral. Dove’s brand story is centered around real beauty and self-love.
Their first viral video was called Dove Evolution and showed the full process of the makeup and hair team plus photo editing that’s done to make women look the way they do on billboards.
The second viral video called Real Beauty Sketches was comparing an artist sketch of a woman next to a sketch of how the woman described herself, highlighting that we are often more beautiful than we give ourselves credit for. Neither of these longer videos directly had to do with the soap, body wash, or other products that Dove sells, but they convey important aspects of Dove through a good story.
Air BnB’s brand story is centered around their customer’s user experience. In fact, their entire customer experience was inspired by a brand story board, where they crafted their ideal user experience as a story. A storyboard is a method for crafting videos in which you map out step by step the main scenes of the video. By crafting a storyboard, they were able to see important aspects that they needed to work on in order to tell the best customer story.
Oreo has done a beautiful thing, they have actually made advertisements fun to watch. Their social media content utilizes branded storytelling to make their ads engaging. Their videos amass upwards of 40,000 voluntary views. They do this by A) knowing their target audience and B) having a strong brand narrative that they stick to. Oreo’s brand narrative is to inspire the feeling of playful wonderment that people have as kids.
Social media is a vital part of digital marketing and, in turn digital storytelling. Oreo reaches out to their audience segments via social media videos. Oreo’s Instagram is nearly exclusively videos that dedicate an Oreo cookie to a segment of their audience. They have dedicated cookies to everyone from baseball lovers to cat moms, and many times their choices in who to honor reflect cultural events like the baseball playoffs or NYFW. The videos are animated and fun, which goes with the playful childlike personality of Oreo.
Something to keep in mind if you choose to use social media videos; most people watch them with the sound off, so add captions or make sound unnecessary to the understanding of the video.
The Ritz Carlton
One great way to tell your brand’s story is by sharing signature stories that back up your overarching brand narrative. As a luxury hotel chain, a huge part of The Ritz Carlton’s brand narrative is framing themselves as a provider of more than just exceptional service and great vacations.
The Ritz Carlton’s focus is on how a vacation can be a lifelong memory. Instead of simply using testimonials from their visitors on their services, they utilize visual storytelling by sharing animated video stories of the memories that were created at their hotels. These stories showcase the values that The Ritz holds dear and shares them with people in an engaging and creative way. The Let Us Stay With You initiative by The Ritz Carlton is a prime example of how to share your story creatively.
Another company that tells their brand story through their customer experiences is Spotify. Spotify uses user data to ask about people’s lives. They had an ad campaign that used user data to question things about the users lives in an anonymous way.
Spotify prides itself on the brand narrative that music connects people. They believe you can understand people through music. In these advertisements, they use user data to try and understand their listeners. Questioning the stories behind music choices makes people feel closer to the other Spotify users, and creates a story surrounding the Spotify community.
Burt’s Bees uses its founding story as a basis for its brand story. It’s hard to beat Burt’s Bees serendipitous story of an artist and a single mom meeting one day as she was hitchhiking along a road.
Everything about Burt’s Bees eludes to its start, the name, the passion behind the ingredients, and how everything should be simple and natural, just like it was when they began.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, brand stories aren't just for the customers. They show off the brand in an engaging way so that both employees and customers alike can relate with it. Their overarching brand narrative of Lyft is “we help you get where you want to go”. On one side they are helping their customers get to a location, but the narrative goes deeper than this. They also tell the story of how they are helping their drivers fund their goals. This method works well because telling the story of the employees makes the Lyft experience seem authentic. A company that values their employees is easy to support.
Lyft also does a good job in sending this message in multiple mediums, with video storytelling mixed with outdoor posters. They place thank you notes to drivers on the sides of buildings that help promote their brand narrative of caring about their customers.
National Geographic is extraordinary at brand storytelling. They utilize visual storytelling in every aspect of their brand narrative. From print to social media, they understand the importance of captivating visuals. The technology behind digital storytelling is rapidly advancing and many brands have been dabbling with this new technology as a means of sharing stories.
The brand story behind National Geographic is about inspiring adventure and new experiences. Much of their brand narrative is centered around giving people first hand experiences of what places around the world are like. They give a lot of freedom to their photographers to show what they are experiencing, making it seem more real to the audience.
They took the first-hand experience adrenalin feeling a step further when they helped create the first 3D Virtual reality video of outer space. The video was made to be viewed with VR headsets allowing a fully immersive experience of something that few people have experienced.
Sometimes the brand story revolves directly around the product. A great example is the Lululemon "This is Yoga" campaign featuring stories of how people use their gear. The campaign shows off a product being used adds a story to an otherwise lifeless object. Lululemon sells gear other than yoga mats, but in this case the campaign worked well because they only brought one aspect of their brand to life as opposed to trying to make every product, they sell have a whole story.
The narrative of Blue Apron is about cooking up experiences rather than just food. Blue Apron uses storytelling to differentiate themselves as a brand in an industry where there are many companies who offer similar products. In their “What Cooking Can Do” campaign, they created a 5-day video series, where each day of the week they showed the story behind the people using Blue Apron. The stories were heartfelt and showed off how cooking can affect people's lives rather than just what was inside the Blue Apron box. This video series helps the audience form an emotional connection with the people in the story and in turn Blue Apron.