What is it about branding that makes it so important to the way we experience brands?
We all know that our brands impact the way that we get our message seen and heard, but what is at the core of a brand strategy that makes the best brands seem so irresistible?
Is it the logo?
Is it the color scheme?
Or, is it the mascot?
While these things are important, there’s no denying what the most important aspect of branding is.
In fact, it’s so universal that in order to find the best answer, we need to look no further than the master of storytelling for audiences of all ages–the Walt Disney Company.
Before we start exploring magical castles and talking animals, we need to answer the question: what is the most important aspect of branding?
Story is what sells consumers, clients, and customers on the unique value of your company, but it goes even deeper than that.
In the rest of this post, we’ll take a behind-the-scenes look at how story sells your brand message, based on some of the things that Disney has been able to do to make their character stories a lasting success.
Hopefully, you can find a little of your own magic in this post.
1. The characters all have vulnerabilities.
Each of the beloved storylines from Disney’s catalogue, always focus on a protagonist who needs to overcome something.
Whether it’s the Lion King, Snow White, or Toy Story–there’s always a unique flaw that the main character(s) must move beyond in order to live out their mission.
Sometimes, this is shyness, timidity, or self-doubt. These will soon be replaced with confidence, courage, and bravery by the end of the story.
However, our brands all attempt to appeal to our inner hero, because selling someone on the prospect of a better tomorrow is pretty easy.
This presents us with a challenge, which is the next characteristic of great story.
2. The story must be relatable.
Each time a story is told we need to be able to assess and make sure that it is believable. If we don’t see some aspect of ourselves in the characters or the action then we won’t enjoy the plot. Branding is no different. If the audience can’t relate to the story you are conveying then they won’t be enticed to go further and purchase the product.
3. The story must be simple to tell and to remember, because simplicity sells.
The simpler the story, the more people will understand your message.
Some ad spots on television or YouTube can be very ambiguous in order to convey a sense of luxury. However, other brands are able to set the record straight on exactly who and what they are.
For example, Matthew McConaughey. In his Lincoln advertisements is incredibly simple. The car is beautiful and we get the message right away: driving a Lincoln is an easy choice. Why would he be driving anything else?
See wasn’t that easy?
4. The story must help us escape.
Ultimately, consumerism and even information products or tools are a form of self-improvement and escape from our normal, everyday reality.
We don’t buy a Tesla because we need one, we buy it because we want to buy into the story of who we will become if we own one.
No matter what you sell, the story that it tells us about who we are should change once we imagine ourselves buying your product.
5. Believe in the story you’re telling.
When you believe in the story that you tell, your audience will believe in the product that you sell.
I know that sounds cliche but it’s absolutely true.
The more your company believes in the story it sells, the more authentic it will be.
But even more importantly, the story will be better as a result of you being in alignment with its outcome.
Disney story rooms spend months–sometimes even years–debating the story’s ethos. This careful planning results in a movie that inspires both children and adults alike.
6. Use Universal Experiences
Keep in mind that when you create a brand your products will hopefully be touted all over the world. That means that you need to keep the culture that your goods represent in check. For example, if your products involve a certain look that isn’t accepted in other cultures where your stores are located, you may want to think about the brand design.
Finding Nemo is a great example of a universal symbol. He’s a fish, that everyone can agree is cute.
He doesn’t offend people, and the logo works, because who doesn’t want to see colorful animated sea critters?
However, other Disney movies such as Wall-E depict overweight, lazy Americans. And while this may be an apt cultural prediction about the amount of waste we produce, it could be seen as highly offensive.
The point that needs to be made here is that you need to change the way people think, without telling them what to think.
Good luxury brands create an experience–just like the experience of watching a Disney movie.
7. The Glass Slipper Effect
So how does this all tie into luxury? The brand story that you convey, matters. It’s a tough decision that ultimately is what will win or lose you clients.
Providing your audience with the glass slipper effect will make your brand irresistible.
In Cinderella, the glass slipper is reserved only for her foot–because it was the perfect size for her.
Luxury clients want special treatment–royal treatment, in fact. In order to be relevant, you must make your story fit their elusive needs. When you are able to find a way to reach luxury clients, you have to niche down your intended customers so that you attract the ones who want your product the most.
Everyone wanted to go to the Ball with the Prince, but in reality, there was only one Cinderella.
We all want luxury goods, but only the ones who can afford their exclusive price tags can have them. However, iprice is the shallowest level of weeding out potential customers. The more relevant factor relies on the 7 principles of story shared in this post.
Build the story first, then the audience will flock to see your brand perform it.