Most brands do better if they have a good story

In Customer Engagement by Ella Simpson

Super Premium brands cannot survive without it. Because only if you have a legend can you become legendary. Nothing inspires people’s imagination – and fascination – like a plausible narrative. That these legends often include aspects that are esoteric or shrouded in mystery is intentional. Because ultimately, Super Premium brands are about believing – not necessarily knowing. They must seduce our heart and soul and not just convince our brains. Provide a perspective on life or an ideal we can buy into and not just reason what and why to buy. These stories do not necessarily require a long-standing history. Many high-end brands in many categories are actually rather forward than past oriented – think of Honest Tea or W Hotels. But they must reflect elements of truth combined with a higher calling. Only then can they give the brand authenticity, credibility and an aura of nobility. Only then can their myth* be meaningful – and potentially strong enough to elevate them above and beyond.

* Why Stories? — Stories not only entertain, they inform us in more intuitive, emotional and memorable ways than single-dimensional, rational arguments. Even better if that story is brought to life and can be experienced through our senses. Then, we need to think less and can feel and judge more. Behavioral scientists have found humans to be ‘lazy’ that way, trying to minimize the intense use of energy by the brain that goes into thinking. Rather than providing a “reason to believe”, class brands will provide “stories to believe” – better still, “myths to believe”.

* What are Myths — Myths are stories that convey ideas and ideals (ideology) we can live by. They do it through compelling plots and characters we can relate to. Think of the believes surrounding the Chanel or Harley Davidson brands and their ardent disciples. For believing is more spiritual and engaging than just knowing. And being a believer gives us that needed sense of belonging, makes you part of the chosen few.

This post is taken from a selection of Ueber Principles written by JP Kuhlwein and Wolf Schaefer, who can be contacted at authors@ueberbrands. You can also hear from JP Kuhlwein at Europe’s Customer Festival on living up to your brand promises, in order to exceed customer expectations. JP will draw on his experiences from working with Prestige brands at Procter & Gamble and more.