What do brand narrative, Star Wars and Rolex have in common?
There’s an answer to that. But first, let’s get down to brass tacks.
We’re social animals.
We love to talk, yarn, chew the fat, gasbag, shoot the breeze, rag on, chinwag, and gab away. But other than the simple explanation that this is just who we are and what we do and we always have, what are we actually saying?
The long answer is worth textbooks of its own. But the short answer is that the reason behind most of what we say is to either exchange information, to incite action, or to enact a change of emotion in ourselves or others. And what form of communication combines all three of these aspects?
Think about that for a moment.
Stories have power, and you’ve always known it. You followed what Spot was doing while learning colours and everyday objects, and you grew up with Harry Potter as your guardian adults gradually departed your life until you stood on your own.
In both their shortest and longest forms, stories have the ability to inform us and incite us to action, all the while making us feel emotions from mad to melancholy and everything in between.
And don’t think that just because people are spending almost half their waking hours online and not reading books that stories aren’t being experienced. The medium has simply changed.
Whether it’s a petition to stop a coal mine or that shoddy jpeg that has a million Facebook shares about a war veteran’s pet, a story is still being told. For example:
- An idyllic tropical paradise exists as the heritage of the entire world. The government decides that it will sell off the land to a massive coal mine that will kill everything. Your petition is the only thing that can save it. What do you do?
- A soldier goes to war and leaves his wife and goldfish behind. The goldfish is neglected by the soldier’s cheating wife and goes blind. When the soldier returns home, he doesn’t care that he’s lost his wife: Jethro the loyal goldfish recognises him by scent and the two reunite.
Now consider one of the most popular stories of the last 40 years:
A young man is desperate to join a rebellion against an evil empire. When he loses his family, the only thing holding him back, he decides to leave his home and go fight. Through his trials he learns how to use the mystical ‘force,’ which helps him finally overcome the monstrous empire and save the universe.
Cool story, right? And not dissimilar to almost every story ever told. But the point here is that with each story above there is a momentum, a pull that carries you through from beginning to end. There is characterisation, tests, growth and triumph. This structure is familiar to us all, and guess what? You can go on your own journey…
…by purchasing a Rolex.
Like Luke’s discovery of the force, you can discover the Rolex Way. You can join the quest for excellence which sees Rolex sponsor the most prestigious sporting, architectural and arts events worldwide. Many of which, like equestrian, yachting and the opera, only the 1% will ever enjoy.
The key, the call to action, is to buy a Rolex, learn the Rolex Way and undergo a transformation to be reborn into this high class world..
And if you’re serious about taking your brand to the next level, you too will tell a story. You will have what is called a ‘brand narrative,’ whose basic story structure or message connects to people on a primal level and can be retold as the company grows or brand develops, but a story that remains the same.
Some companies and brands are successful without a story. When you’re asked to associate words with organisations like Kmart, McDonald’s and Big W, you might think ‘department store,’ ‘cheap food’ and ‘good value.’ But associate words with Red Bull, Nike and BMW, and the concepts become more abstract: prestige, adventure, physical excellence – the stuff that makes our blood quicken and hearts race.
So tell a story. A story where your clientele are the heroes, and whereby leaving the confines of their ordinary world, they will discover something they never knew existed, but of which they only heard tales. And when they look back at their pre-journey lives they will stick their fists to their hips, throw back their heads, and laugh at how they ever did without.
And ask yourself: what is your brand narrative, your call to action? What is your special force, way, or journey? And what is your customer’s transformation?
May the Rolex Way be with you. Always.