Creative Storytelling (and why it matters)

Luke Amasi, Media Executive

In today’s performance and short-term activation driven marketing economy, the irony is that creative storytelling is still, overall, one of the most important aspects of building successful brands. We’ve seen multiple academic studies show us that the ultimate, best driver of profit, is a great set of brand communications. Yet, this is easier said than done. What characteristics bind great story-telling campaigns together? What can we learn from those who succeed in earning unfair shares of attention?

I think there are 5 (it is Friday Five for a reason!) key things for us to remember:

  • Storytelling best builds your brand with consistency and longevity
  • Storytelling helps prime the brain to commit brands to memory
  • Storytelling works because it is fundamental to human communication and drives a deeper connection
  • Storytelling can also be a tactical tool that allows marketers to traverse the fragmented media landscape in a more coherent way
  • Storytelling promotes transparency – especially in digital. If you’re trying to tell a coherent story, you need real people to be able to see every part.

Here are 3 examples of where brands use creative storytelling for their respective brands, which bring these five lessons to life:

Wells Fargo Bank:

‘Earning Back Your Trust’ was a 2018 campaign following a variety of lawsuits in the preceding years, used the story of Wells Fargo’s rebirth in 2018 as a better future of the financial services company.

LifeDirect NZ:

LifeDirect had an iconic mascot in Simon the Sloth, however, this character had lost connection with the population of NZ. If George Martin has taught us anything, the best way to catapult a character back into relevance is to kill them off.

John Lewis:

One of the most anticipated ad campaigns internationally every year, John Lewis in 2018 did not disappoint with a touching story of Elton John ‘Lewis’. The story follows Elton’s life back in time to when he first received a piano for Christmas.

It’s no surprise that these brands achieved fantastic growth results as a result of these campaigns. They transcend the short-term and rely on stories to tell a coherent message about who they are and who they want to be – across three diverse sectors and three different markets. We can learn from all of them.