Practice what you Preach - Brand Storytelling


Jordan Dunne examines the merits of Storytelling on the back of the recent IAB conference

Brand Storytelling Branded Content

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today” – a phrase from writer and former University of Southern California professor Robert McKee's widely lauded “Story Seminar” gives us the fundamental basis to what a brand needs to succeed in the modern world. Consumers approach every brand as an idea and consider that every moment is an opportunity to share that idea and convey that brands story. The content that comes as a result of this practice needs to resonate with consumers and build lasting emotional ties which in turn will lead to an increase in market share.

In the modern world we live in where a bottomless pit of information is never further than your fingertips away, substance and authenticity are invaluable attributes of any piece of content. A brand story is not just about what you tell people but what they believe based on what the brand conveys in every single moment. A case in point is the recent United Airlines scandal in which Doctor David Dao was ejected after refusing to comply with the airline's random selection process for overbooked flights. The incident was videoed by many different passengers on the flight, shared on social media and went viral within a few hours. A regrettable scene which should have had an immediate public statement condemning or even explaining the incident was in fact followed by a leaked email from United CEO Oscar Lunoz in which he praised his staff’s efforts in detaining the “defiant and disruptive” Doctor.

United Airlines brand slogan? "Fly the Friendly Skies". Whether they like it or not the videos that were shared the world over and the subsequently leaked via email are branded content, and the story they tell certainly isn’t “Fly the Friendly Skies”. The reality is that a lot of your brand story isn’t told by you and is made up of facts, feelings and interpretations.

At the recent IAB conference in Dublin, a spotlight was put on the benefits of productive brand storytelling. The focus was on Yoplait’s highly emotive and successful “I Love My Age” campaign. For those of you who have not seen it people of every age from one-month-old to one hundred years old take us on a journey through life from infancy and tell us what they love most about their age. The goal of the campaign was to increase their share of the market, but more importantly, boost the share of mind and share of hearts.

If you ever need an example of a brand hitting the nail on the head regarding great content that tells a story, then look no further. The important thing I took away from this campaign was that Yoplait had not dipped in market share, spontaneous brand awareness was 70%, and 60% of Irish households purchased Yoplait. What the marketing team identified was that there was no emotional attachment to the brand and they set themselves the KPI’s of not only increasing market share but to also increase the share of mind and share of heart.

The global TV ad held Yoplait’s native French essence, and it is a testament to the strength of the content that it doesn’t lose any of its heart when communicated through subtitles. The brand team took it a step further and localised the content by gathering a group of Irish people from the ages of 0 – 105 and asked them the same question “what is your favourite thing about your age.” The end product was again spirited and uplifting.

The results of the campaign showed that investing in your story is comprehensively vindicated. The Irish campaign saw a 5% increase in sales, a 16% upturn in brand affinity and a 100% boost in brand consideration.  People are interested brand stories - If you live them through content and make them authentic, consumers will join you on that journey.

Brand Storytelling Branded Content
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