From the beginning, humans have been fascinated by emotional, well-crafted narratives that engage our minds and speak to life’s greatest truths.
These days, story is more than entertainment. Marketing and PR departments have learned that effective brand storytelling is the secret ingredient to business success.
With that in mind, we wanted to shine a spotlight on five brands who do an incredible job telling stories. Below you’ll find examples from some of the biggest companies in the world, which you can use to inspire your own brand storytelling efforts.
What is Brand Storytelling?
Let’s start with a quick definition. According to Celinne Da Costa, brand storytelling is: “the cohesive narrative that weaves together the facts and emotions that your brand evokes.”
In other words, brand storytelling is the who, what, when, where, and why of your company. When told properly, a brand story can help your organization build deeper relationships with its target audience and engage them in the values upon which your brand is based.
Brand storytelling is crucial in today’s business world. Unfortunately, not every company gets it right. Keep reading to see five amazing brand storytelling examples you can use as inspiration.
5 Brand Storytelling Examples
The following five companies each excel at brand storytelling. We encourage you to study these examples and use them to craft better, more engaging stories for your own business.
1. “The Land of Land Rovers” Campaign by Land Rover
In this video from Land Rover, viewers are transported to a remote location in the Himalayan mountains. Here, a fleet of well-maintained 1957 Land Rovers are used to transport people and supplies between the small villages of Maneybhanjang and Sandakphu. It’s a true story that speaks to the reliability of Land Rover machines.
To capture the footage for this video, Land Rover sent a team to Maneybhanjang for 10 days. Their goal was to learn about the village, the unique lifestyle its inhabitants lead, and the brave drivers who make the trek between villages on a regular basis.
The video that Land Rover was able to create is visually stunning. But more importantly, it tells the stories of Maneybhanjang and Sandakphu, which, in turn, tells the story of Land Rover’s commitment to quality craftsmanship.
Key Takeaway: Sometimes the best way to succeed at brand storytelling is to let your audience speak for you. By interviewing your most loyal customers, you can create content that illuminates to your brand values in powerful ways.
2. The “Insta Novels” Campaign by the New York Public Library
In partnership with Mother New York, a Manhattan-based advertising agency, the New York Public Library (NYPL) has released multiple “Insta Novels” to Instagram since 2018.
An Insta Novel is a unique piece of content that pairs animation and sound design with works of literature. NYPL has, as of this writing, released “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens and “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, in their entirety, for Instagram users to consume.
Most people spend more time scrolling through social media feeds than they do reading books. NYPL decided to use this fact to their advantage and give Instagram users a taste of classic literature without forcing them to leave their favorite platform.
The result was a brand storytelling campaign that expressed NYPL’s values, while reaching its target audience in a unique way.
Key Takeaway: Make sure your brand story shines through on every platform, from your website to you social media channels. Every person who comes in contact with your brand should get a taste of the values that drive it.
3. “The Underdogs” Video by Apple
“The Underdogs” video by Apple is an ambitious advertisement that feels like a scripted sitcom. It’s funny, well-edited, has a beginning, middle, and end… In short, it’s a professional-level video that perfectly suits the brand and its commitment to quality.
But the best part of the ad is that it expertly illustrates the capabilities and usefulness of Apple’s main product line. This means that viewers are entertained while learning about Apple offerings.
Though it may seem strange for Apple, one of the largest brands in the world, to create an ad about underdogs, this video works for two reasons:
- First, Apple was an underdog when it first started decades ago. As such, it can truly identify with underdogs everywhere.
- And second, the video isn’t about Apple being an underdog. It’s about how Apple’s tools help underdogs achieve their goals.
This video was successful because it spoke directly to Apple’s audience in a fun, engaging way that also happened to promote the brand’s products.
Key Takeaway: Understand your audience so that your brand storytelling efforts will resonate. What do your customers value about your brand? Make sure these values are expressed in your company marketing content.
4. “Microsoft Story Labs” Campaign by Microsoft
Microsoft Story Labs is a platform that recognizes and highlights the company’s exceptional employees, from designers to researchers. Each story in the Lab focuses on a specific staff member and the unique skills and insight they bring to Microsoft.
By showcasing employees in this way, the massive corporation is humanized and becomes more relatable. This allows its customers to better connect with the brand.
Key Takeaway: Focus on the people who make your company great: its employees. Look inward and tap your team for great stories that your target audience will resonate with. After all, who knows your company better than the folks that help build it?
5. “Zendesk Alternative” Campaign by Zendesk
Lastly, we have Zendesk Alternative, a fictional rock band created by Zendesk, makers of popular customer support software.
In the video, Zendesk Alternative is mad at Zendesk for stealing their name. But the band members also realize that they need Zendesk’s software tools to keep their musical ambitions alive. It’s an incredibly creative, highly entertaining video that takes an “anti-storytelling” approach, which makes Zendesk (the brand, not the band) seem more relatable.
To top it all off, Zendesk Alternative even has its own website and a legitimate jingle (about customer service, of course) that the Zendesk audience can check out.
Key Takeaway: Let your creativity run wild. Your brand storytelling efforts need to engage your target audience. Average story tactics won’t work. Don’t be afraid to take chances and tell your brand story in unique ways.
Nail Brand Storytelling Efforts
Excellent brand storytelling is often the difference between business success and failure. If you can connect with your target audience on an emotional level through shared values, you’ll sell more products and/or services and boost revenue.
Study the five brands above and the way they tell stories. Then take what you discover and work to improve your own brand storytelling skills.