Brands often struggle to tell a complete story. It’s even more challenging to tell a story that inspires consumers to sit up and listen – let alone act or change behavior as a result of said story. Does a brand tell a story about our products and services or a story about its heart and soul? According to FleishmanHillard’s Authenticity Gap findings, the answer is both. A little more than half of consumers (53%) report their perceptions of a company are shaped by its behavior and impacts on society, and the remainder (47%) report that the products and services form the rest.
Harrison Monarth, New York Times bestselling author of The Confident Speaker, stated: “A story can go where quantitative analysis is denied admission: our hearts. Data can persuade people, but it doesn’t inspire them to act; to do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul.”
How can your brand accomplish this? Embrace the principles of creative storytelling by learning to think differently and make seemingly un-linkable connections between products and services AND hearts/minds – or, by thinking in the “upside-down” for any Stranger Things fans. Additionally, in terms of the Authenticity Gap, think about the nine drivers: Care of environment, doing right, consistent performance, credible communication, better value, customer care, innovation, employee care and community impact. Is your brand using any of these drivers?
A powerful brand story stirs the soul and goes beyond a product or service. Here’s how some of the world’s most admired and financially successful companies tell a complete story, fire on our imaginations and give back to society, all while delivering business results. If there is one universal human truth, it’s that creative storytelling defies boundaries.
Mandy Levings is Senior Vice President ＆ Senior Partner in the FH Kansas City office and helps lead FleishmanHillard’s brand marketing practice group. She can be contacted here.