Since the dawn of humanity, stories have existed to shape and connect us. Though the way we tell stories changes – from oral retellings and cave drawings, to interpretive dance and Twitter – our desire to tell and hear them remains unchanged. Stories are still one of the most fundamental ways in which we communicate, make sense of our world and share that understanding with others.
Storytelling is powerful; it shapes understanding, thinking and perspective. But this isn’t really news – our parents, grandparents and great ancestors used them to teach us important life lessons. Who doesn’t recall what they learned from stories like The Little Engine that Could, Winnie the Pooh, or The Little Prince?
So then, why aren’t more brands using storytelling as part of their marketing strategy? After all, storytelling can help brands make connections with their target audiences in a personalised, impactful and emotional way. Through storytelling, brands can illustrate how they share the same values as their consumers and beyond that – how they’ll meet their individual needs.
It may seem straightforward but storytelling is an art and it’s something many brands struggle with. The trouble, for the most part, appears to be authenticity. Consumers are seeking authenticity now more than ever and brands that fail to achieve this get lost in the noise of the marketplace. Companies and organisations that do succeed in developing authentic brands, however, don’t just stand out in the crowd– they develop an emotional connection with their target audiences and build trust. Just look at Plum Organics, an organic food company making products for babies, tots and kids.
When they launched their first branding campaign, Plum had a vision – they wanted to disrupt the tension created by the baby industry.
“When we got big enough that we could do our first real brand campaign, we decided to more explicitly address this tension between aspiration and reality that was leaving us all feeling like we were constantly falling short.” Victoria Fiore, Director of Brand Strategy and Mission, Plum Organics
According to Neil Grimmer, the CEO and Co-founder of Plum Organics, “99% of what parents are experiencing in their daily lives is not reflected in the media, ads or their social media communication. We believe that there’s too much pressure on parents to be perfect.”
The figures were concerning, so Plum made it their mission to give an honest portrayal of parenthood – the good, the bad and even the embarrassing. The real challenge lay in how to normalise what is in fact perfectly normal, while still maintaining the brand’s bright and playful personality.
The answer was ‘Parenting Unfiltered’.
The campaign was designed to catalyse conversation and inspire genuine engagement through storytelling. Plum shared stories that put into focus the realities of parenthood, how it’s “messy and raw and not always pretty”. The result was a compilation of stories that connected with parents on an emotional level and ended with the same promise – that the complex experience of parenthood is shared.
“We launched Parenting Unfiltered and found the conversations it created were not only fun and engaging, but cathartic to the millions of parents in our community.” – Neil Grimmer, Plum Organics CEO
‘Parenting Unfiltered’ was more than a way for the brand to share stories with parents – it was a platform through which other parents could connect with Plum, as well as one another, and share their own stories. The campaign was a true success, not just in terms of ROI but in its connection with its target audience. The value of ‘Parenting Unfiltered’ wasn’t just in the acknowledgement of the complicated reality of parenting, but also in the celebration of it.
Plum transformed their brand from being another label on a baby product to a familiar, authentic and trusted brand that made consumers feel understood. Now that’s branding through storytelling.
Does your brand have a story to tell? Whatever your brand needs, we can deliver, because at NOUS, brands are what we make. If you would like to discuss your brand strategy or brand rollout with us, please feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.