The Content Imperative
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Laura Jennings
Head of Strategy & Client Service

Laura has 10+ years experience working in social and content marketing. Fascinated with tackling business challenges through smart, effective marketing, Laura ensures all our clients are receiving superb quality work that makes a commercial difference and brings a smile to the client’s face.

Working with start-ups and FTSE100 companies and everything in between, Laura has enjoyed defining influential strategies, delivering creative work and bringing customers and brands closer together.

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Retail
Image source: Allen Lai

How retail brands are using brand storytelling

| 15 July 2015

Life is about making memories. It’s about maxing out our time on Earth to create a bank of stories that tell our tale. Our most cherished times become imprinted in our minds forever, others slide into oblivion. As I grow older, I’ve been dismayed at how many more memories seem to slink out of my sphere. I’m only marginally comforted by the fact this phenomenon of forgetting what I did last weekend, seems to be afflicting a lot of my friends as well.

What Makes Memories?

My uneasiness at forgetting what I had for breakfast has driven much thought from me these past few months and led me to consider two questions: 1) What is it that makes memories? 2) What does it take to glue them to our minds? These are exactly the questions every company should be asking itself as it devises a marketing strategy. After all, the aim of any company is to become indispensable, a “go-to”. To achieve that, a brand needs not to be forgotten.

Consider your most treasured moments and what it is that makes you remember them and cast a rosy glow over times gone by. I’ll bet they made you roll with laughter, burn with emotion or bubble with inspiration. If brands can conjure stories that trigger even an inkling of these feelings in consumers, they’re onto a winner, and the stats prove it.

Headstream research shows that funny, dramatic and heart-warming tales top the list as the content of choice, with videos being the most popular form of delivery.

  • If people love a brand story, more than half (55%) are more likely to buy the product in the future, 44% will share the story and 15% will buy straight away.

  • Great stories trigger purchase intent in 55% of people.

  • Over half of consumers (57%) enjoy stories inspired by real-life people and events.

  • Over three-quarters (79%) of UK adults think it’s a good idea for brands to tell stories.

Imprinting Your Brand

Generating memorable stories is about leveraging your company’s manifesto and mission. Consider the keywords you associate with your brand and those that you want your customers to attach to your brand. Use these as the foundation of your storytelling. For example, if a retailer exists to dress the world's savviest independent women, its content should target female empowerment. It’s important to remember that content doesn’t always have to include products, impactful stories in themselves are fantastic for creating a positive and uplifting aura around a brand.

Below are four examples of retail brands making themselves memorable:

Apple: Think Different

A brand that doesn’t follow the rules, thinks creatively and thrives on innovation. Apple dug to the roots of its being with its 1997 “Think Different” campaign that dragged it out of the depths and into the limelight. Centred on a poem, “The Crazy Ones,” the print and television adverts celebrated innovation and individualism, people who think outside-of-the-box and step away from the norm to change the world. It used inspiring historical figures, including Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, to connect with consumers without so much as a product in sight.

Coco Chanel: The One That I Want

As a classic clothing and fragrance brand with more than 100 years of history, Chanel leverages its rich heritage to bring depth and romanticism to its brand. Through its "Inside Chanel" platform, the company takes consumers on a visual tour of its past, intertwined with the life of Coco herself and the growth of the business. Chanel recently teamed-up with director Baz Luhrmann to produce a video, "The One That I Want," that features supermodel Gisele Bundchen as a modern day woman that "has it all." With her marriage in trouble, the story that unfolds shows Gisele choosing love over work, embracing female power and romance.

Timberland: 2 Days 1 Bag

Timberland plucked influential style ambassadors from seven European countries and sent them on a road-trip kitted out with Timberland products. The so-called "Mark Makers" were encouraged to get lost, showcasing the brand's ethos of spontaneity, freedom and the great outdoors. In the U.K., Timberland traced Rick Edwards, a stylish television presenter, as he embarked on a journey across land and sea to the Isle of Wight. En-route, the footage captures Rick as he reflects on moments in his life where he's made a mark. The campaign uplifts and inspires, encouraging consumers to break the rules and feel "#InMyElement."

Zady.com: Sustainable Fashion

This environmentally friendly fashion label is a fantastic example of a brand that has taken storytelling right to its heart to amplify its mission. Zady plays off consumer conscience by educating and inspiring customers to be mindful in their shopping habits. Every single item is given its own story that tells of where it came from and how it was made. On its "Chronicle" pages it deepens the narrative with stories aimed to stir emotion and encourage customers to consider their fashion footprint.

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