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How does a traditional advertisement transform into a modern brand story – the changing face of advertising

A story with surprising plot twists leaves a lasting impression on the audience, and they are never the same after hearing it. It contains emotions, which are a vital piece of storytelling, and they are interwoven into a story to connect the mind and heart so that the audience remembers them.

Storytelling has been used as a powerful technique for instilling positive values, culture, and principles and fostering positive perspectives. It applies to people’s personal and professional lives since it shapes and strengthens their opinions and values, allowing them to live extraordinary lives. 

Stories are inextricably linked to people’s daily lives. It helps individuals in locating truths and connecting them to their surroundings. Traditional advertising mainly focuses on delivering commercial messages to mass audiences. However, in recent years, business leaders have been widely using storytelling to influence, teach, and inspire their employees and customers. Customers can have a deeper understanding of the experiences shared and remember the facts when there is an emotional connection in a story.

So let’s delve into how brand storytelling works much better than traditional advertising.

Making a brand memorable: Most organizations have learned that focusing on offering more unique products and services is no longer adequate. They acknowledge that the market is vast, and they want to stand out. 

Storytelling is one of many strategic techniques that makes a brand more memorable than traditional advertising. Because stories can’t be mimicked, articulating the brand’s story, filled with history, struggles, victories, and morals, makes the brand unique. It’s not about the product’s features, facts, or figures, which might be lost in today’s digital era when people are exposed to a massive amount of content daily.

The brand story streamlines facts while emphasizing triggering an emotional response. According to research conducted by Headstream, a leading UK content marketing agency, individuals who like a brand story are 55% more likely to buy the product in the future, 44% more inclined to share the story, and 15% more likely to buy the product instantly.

In the 1990s, De Beers’ advertising with the memorable slogan “A Diamond is Forever” made such an impression that no wedding would be perfect without a diamond ring. The brand also closely connected diamonds to individuals through commercials, as a diamond is the ultimate symbol of everlasting love. De Beers’ advertising enriched brand popularity while making the brand more memorable than facts.

Creating an emotional connection: Surprises are a significant element of emotional storytelling, and they are always featured in successful brand stories. Traditional advertising mostly displayed facts, statistics, and information about the products or services. On the other hand, the brand story always drives action to trigger a response from the audience.

Knowing an audience’s pain points and coming up with a solution is an important message in brand stories that makes them powerful. This is how the emotional connection between the brand and its customers is developed. However, this magical moment will only happen if brands consider what their audiences genuinely require from them.

John Lewis, a UK-based department store chain, is renowned for creating emotional and engaging ads. For example, John Lewis’s 90-second spot, ‘Monty the Penguin ‘released in 2014, tells the story of a friendship between a little boy, Sam, and his penguin friend, Monty. The story in that advertisement expressed a deep sense of love, which was emotional. 

In the first 24 hours after its release, the advertisement was viewed over 7 million times online, and a soft toy version was soon available for purchase in stores. Over the holiday season, John Lewis witnessed a 4.8% profit gain and sold over 48,000 stuffed Monty and Mabel’s, Monty’s girlfriend.

Making a brand more human: Compared to traditional advertising, brand stories stand out since they humanize the brand rather than address it as a product. The stories show how the brand continues to improve people’s lives and adds value to them and society. 

To put it another way, a successful brand must be a value-based business. This signifies that the brand performs its responsibilities to fully understand the company’s impact on both humans and the environments in which it exists and to do all possible to mitigate it.

IKEA, a home furnishings brand from Sweden, engages with partners, coworkers, and consumers to address concerns such as unsustainable consumption, climate change, and rising inequality. It promises to utilize exclusively renewable or recycled materials, evaluate resources holistically, and be climate positive by 2030. 

IKEA claims that 99.5% of the wood used in its products is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) or recycled. In addition, the brand is dedicated to developing products and services that encourage and enable individuals to adopt healthy lifestyle transformations, buy in a more circular pattern, and live better lives overall.

Storytelling is not a recent idea, even though it is rarely used nowadays. However, the new concept of “Conscious Consumerism,” which entails shopping in ways that one believes have a good social, environmental, or economic impact, is gaining popularity, and brand ethics are becoming more critical. 

Nowadays, every brand must be transparent with its consumers. Storytelling makes the brand more realistic and engaging, allows the audience to connect with a sense of belonging, encourages brands to prove that they care about their consumers, and, ultimately, helps them to reach out to an audience they may not have achieved before.

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Amala Sree Murali
Amala Sree Murali
Features writer at Business Review Live and a certified content writer from IIM Skills. She completed her post-graduation in Business Administration with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science.