Make Your Brand’s Tale Worth Telling
To be more than just a product, a brand must sell a story. Consumers and their bull-o-meters are so finely tuned, the inauthentic ones get bounced before they’re finished. Tidal was eviscerated for suggesting that a panel of Beyonce’s husband, insufferable Twitter knight @Deadmau5, a conveniently unretired Madonna, and trust of other multimillionaires had the plight of aspiring artists in mind. The public called BS on their storytelling, saw the service as a Spotify knockoff, and Tidal has since sunk.
Some of the best, most authentic stories are completely fabricated. Hollister Co. famously told the story of John Hollister, forever in search of the perfect wave, whose popularity and legend saw his Left Coast surf shack swell into a cultural phenomenon. This, of course, is a lie. Hollister is a fully-owned subsidiary of Abercrombie & Fitch (and famously almost cannibalized the brand) who prints their graphic tees in Akron, Ohio. But there’s value in that story. Hollister is rigidly consistent towards its ethos, and thus, the public buy in.
My favorite application of a good branding story is Mann Co. and Saxton Hale, President. The tagline: “We Sell Products and Get in Fights” is t-shirt worthy. Saxton Hale’s corporate policy, that if you aren’t 100% satisfied with their product line, you can take it up with him, embodies everything right in a post-PC world. He’s been quoted as calling the breakfast steak the most important steak of the day. They develop their own lore through comics and routinely drop on-brand lines that’d make a lesser copywriter fear for their job. They are, in my estimation, the most consistent brand in the world. Sadly, they’re fake as well; property of a video game.
Personality shouldn’t be restrained to fictitious works, but some brands might do well to weave a fabric of falsehood into their storytelling. Consumers tend to agree, lying about where you came from isn’t an issue, lying about what you intend to do stirs problems.
~ Chase Cambira, Jr. Copywriter, The S3 Agency