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It's not what you say, it's the way that you say it

Feb 07, 2019
The importance of your brand’s story cannot be understated – it showcases your individuality, identifies your target market and brings a human quality to your business. But now, companies are realising it’s not just the story you tell that’s making the difference, the impact resides in the way it’s told. Following Michelob Ultra’s innovative use of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) in their 2019 Super Bowl ad, we’ll be exploring some of the other novel ways brands are telling their story.

Both print and video have been the face of advertising for many years – providing the visual tools to engage potential patrons. However, customers are looking for something a little more – an experience. Events place consumers within the brand’s story; a story they can feel and remember. As part of its ‘Land your dream’ campaign, Air China offered hour-long slots in its ‘Land of Luck’ experience – including a whole host of oriental, luck-related attractions. The theme was all about bringing good fortune to Londoners, but the true purpose was to showcase the wonders China has to offer. This idea of an ‘experience’ isn’t limited to just one-off events, it’s become an integral part of the makeup of stores around the globe.

Outdoor advertising has also experienced a huge shift, moving away from the traditional colossal billboards. Now, many brands are exploring a world of contemporary possibilities. On London’s Paternoster Square, National Geographic created a ‘missing cat’ poster with a twist. The cat was a lion named Archie, and the poster detailed the rapid decline in big cat population worldwide – and as pedestrians walked over the poster, Archie slowly faded away. The stunt depicted the impact of humans on wildlife population, making passers-by part of the problem.

An even more 21st century example lies with New Balance’s cutting-edge, AI-inspired ‘Be The Exception’ campaign. A camera booth was set up inside a digital billboard to track people’s outfits, while a complex AI system pinpointed those whose dress-sense deviated from the norm. The individuals were rewarded with a brand new pair of sneakers – once again showcasing interaction as the future of advertising.

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Now, for most consumers, the way their product is packaged may be inconsequential — that is until a brand finds a way to use it to capture the minds of their audience. Doritos have launched the first ever ‘towel bag’ — packaging made from 100% machine-washable cloth, designed to save consumers from the dreaded ‘Doritos fingers’ affliction. It’s sustainable, whimsical, and solves a genuine problem; three values guaranteed to win-over customers, while showcasing what Doritos is all about. Another fitting example comes in the shape of Unilever’s detergent brand, Omo. It’s been attaching a small sample of its dissolvable detergent to brand new clothing, stating ‘the first wash is on us’. This campaign serves a dual purpose, both showcasing the quality of the product it’s selling, and showcasing the brand as willing to give something back.

These innovative storytelling methods go above and beyond the traditional, instead placing consumers at the very heart of what the brand is conveying. They’re more than simple gimmicks, they’re creating effective narratives that live long in the memory. The New Balance Digital Billboards showcase the company as trendsetters with the credentials to rate people’s outfits, and reward them for staying ahead of the pack. Doritos showed they cared about their customers, understanding there was a problem with their product, however trivial, and came up with a solution.

These examples all showcase innovative methods of brand storytelling, and while they’re on-trend, sound shouldn’t be forgotten as one of the key ways to capture and engage the minds of your audience. Highly emotive and undeniably memorable, it’s a medium that really cuts through the marketing noise.