Storytelling… and re-telling
I often use the Three Little Pigs as a way to train people about business and report-writing. You would not, I say, divide the story into sections ‘Introduction’, ‘Pigs’, ‘The Wolf’, ‘Eating’, and ‘Conclusions’. It would not make any sense.
Well-known stories are known and compelling for a reason. Yeah, yeah, they have a clear beginning, middle and end, but more to the point there is a problem that gets resolved, often through adversity. When you look at it, it’s surprising how much of life is like this. As human beings, we seem to think in stories; they resonate.
So, it’s no surprise that brand communications are often like this. Many of the most successful ads in our database have a strong story – the brand is the hero that solves a clear problem. It can be done in a lot of different ways, from the conventional rational problem, solution as for many home cleaning products over the years to the fun, taking for example any Lynx ad.
Sometimes, it is about turning the expected on its head. ‘Wicked’ in the West End and in print owes its success to this. Take the Guardian’s recent ‘Three Pigs’ TVC. (You knew I was getting here eventually). It takes the conventional story and puts a new spin on it.
This is compelling and engaging for a couple of reasons. First of all, it is doing a brilliant job of intriguing by ‘digging deeper’ and surprising by not being the conventional ending. But what is more important is how that is used to showcase the brand, which has a clear role as a hero. The brand is enabling us to discover the true story – and it’s not just the brand as you know it in its convention paper form but the multiplatform brand. (I love it when it all comes together).
But, if brand communications are about storytelling, so is what we do at Ipsos ASI every day. Not only are we telling stories that bring the data to life for our clients but we are also helping our clients tell better brand stories.
It’s our theme of the year and we’re kicking it off in earnest at a breakfast event on 19 April, ‘Once Upon a Brand’. Nick Southgate will be talking about how behavioural economics can help tell a good story. If you’re interested, come along.
You can register your interest on our website: http://www.ipsos-mori.com/storytelling