When experts talk about effective brand storytelling, they usually name drop technology and athletic industry giants – Apple, Nike, Uber, Adidas…the works. While it’s not wrong to praise these companies for their branding (they certainly deserve it), it’s not all that useful for companies who aren’t industry giants, or perhaps not in such a “compelling” industry. If you think about it, the tech industry has it easy – new technology is always exciting, so it’s not hard to spin an interesting brand story.
That’s not to say that if you’re not in a cool industry, you can’t have a top-notch brand story. We promise that it’s entirely possible and that you can do it! But if you’re only looking at the branding titans for inspiration, an amazing branding story might appear unattainable and unrealistic for you. We’re here to prove that that is not the case at all – we even brought the evidence to back it up.
If you don’t have a “cool” industry or product, branding is naturally going to be a little more difficult for you. But, companies like you have successfully developed branding stories before. We’ve intentionally selected the below brands as case studies because they are arguably in less-than-exciting industries, or offer pretty mundane products. Yet, they managed to get really creative with their brand storytelling, which has helped lead them to success. If they can do it, so can you!
7 Examples of Effective Brand Storytelling
1. Warby Parker
Warby Parker sells eyewear…so not exactly the most riveting of products. However, Warby Parker has managed to build a fun brand identity and experienced impressive success as a result.
How did they do it? They aligned all of their brand storytelling to show the world who they are, meaning their people, culture, production process, and values- in addition to the product, of course. Our favorite way that they do this is by their brand videos, particularly “How Our Glasses Are Made”. Basically, they have taken strides to build a personal connection with their consumers.
This video makes you feel like an insider with the Warby Parker brand, as you follow them through their manufacturing process. They are sure to highlight the special people and processes that make their eyewear unique. Did you know that they source their frame materials from a family-run Italian factory and then hand assemble them? They are bringing you into their brand story and showing the world how they are more than just some nerdy glasses. You feel a true connection to them, which is so valuable.
2. Old Spice
You’re probably already aware of Old Spice thanks to their viral commercials. If you haven’t heard of this brand, just know that they sell antiperspirant – arguably one of the most unsexy products to build any brand story around, let alone a fun one.
Old Spice has managed to turn the idea of antiperspirant into a fun topic by using their famous commercials, in addition to another few unique avenues, like a theme song (available for download as a ringtone believe it or not), their e-book/survival guide for moms whose sons are going through puberty, and their School of Swagger. Overall, Old Spice takes a humorous and helpful tone to previously embarrassing conversations, which makes them seem like a fun and useful brand.
3. Burt’s Bees
Burt’s Bees is dedicated to making all-natural personal care products, but they didn’t stop their narrative there. Their branding story is dedicated to Burt, their founder. He’s an older man with an impressive white and wispy beard who developed the company to help others live simply, naturally, and responsibly. He is incredibly wholesome.
This brand tells their story through Burt and his philosophies and lifestyle. They use videos to portray this and welcome us into the life of Burt. You can watch their “Burtisms” series and even get a 360 degree look inside his cabin.
Overall, this level of transparency and personability allows Burt’s Bees to create a genuine connection with their consumers, which does wonders for branding.
Most of us grew up on Trix and Go-Gurts. (Yes, the yogurt you squeeze out of a tube.) As a result, we don’t really think of yogurt as a gateway to extravagant culinary deliciousness. Chobani changed this narrative by branding themselves (and yogurt generally) as an essential element to gourmet cooking and baking.
Chobani offers a mouth-watering video series and a recipe book resource to show you how their yogurt can add deliciousness to all your favorite meals and desserts, with everything from donuts to tacos to waffles.
The key to Chobani’s story is that they are re-imagining yogurt in brand new ways. This helps their consumers to find more and more ways to incorporate their product into their lives. Genius!
We know we said that it seems hard to make antiperspirant a desirable and fun product, but we think period-proof underwear takes the cake on being the hardest item to build a cool brand around. The stigma alone that surrounds the word “menstruation” is shocking and difficult to shake.
Thinx took this challenge upon themselves in hopes of contributing to the end of the taboo and misunderstandings surrounding menstruation. As a result, they launched their aptly-named “Periodical”, a blog dedicated to everything period-related, including gynecologist tips, women empowerment, and sexuality.
They’ve grown a massive following thanks to their refreshing take on menstruation and the importance of their mission in ending the stigma. This is one fierce brand story.
6. Away Travel
Away Travel specializes in high quality luggage items. This is a prime example of an incredibly “meh” industry. Who gets excited about luggage? This company does!
They launched a brand publication, HERE, which dives into the world of travel from every angle and allows them to elaborate on their brand storytelling. Now, Away Travel could have gone the traditional route of providing packing tips and other typical content. Instead, Away Travel shares tips for the best selfies, an illustrated guide to Paris, a chef’s guide to the best restaurants in Spain… and last but not least, a guide to traveling in SPACE! All the cool travel items you won’t find anywhere else.
Talk about creative, cool, and interesting content! They’re mastered how to inspire people to travel by giving them all the tools they need to have the best time ever- including the luggage they need!
Lucidworks helps other brands to explore their data using AI-powered search and discovery applications. This helps other companies to identify interesting consumer behavior patterns, as well as detect fraud. While this is interesting, it’s not quite exactly “sexy”.
They have changed their narrative by using new and unique mediums to capture their customers attention. Once they have their attention, they then create a meaningful connection with them. For example, Lucidworks released an interactive called “The Data That Lies Beneath” to engage consumers to learn about dark data. It offers similar information as a pamphlet would, but it’s so much more entertaining.
Data doesn’t have to be boring or old-school and LucidWorks is selling that narrative in everything that they do.
Need help crafting a compelling story for your brand?
We’re going to remind you once more that we looked at both antiperspirant and menstrual product companies, both of which managed to tell compelling and interesting stories about themselves despite their less-than-appealing products. No matter how taboo, or boring, or unsexy your product or industry might be, brand storytelling can take control of your narrative and turn it into a positive dialogue. You don’t have to be a tech giant like Apple to have an excellent story. Your company, exactly as it is right now, has an exciting brand story to tell. Get in touch with a ninja today to start telling yours!