The 10 Best Brand Storytelling Examples
We’ve all heard the phrase; people buy from people.
And it’s true. The fact is people buy even more from people that they know, like and trust.
Gone are the days when brands could hide in their corporate ivory towers where their customers and clients had no idea who was behind the brand, what they stood for and why it is they do what they do.
Consumers demand transparency and they only want to invest their hard-earned cash in brands that align with their own values.
That means it’s no longer enough to have the best product or service.
It’s no longer enough to have fantastic customer service.
It’s no longer enough to be competitive on price.
Your customers want to connect with your brand on an emotional level.
They want to know the story behind the creations, the vision and mission behind the products and services and get to know the brains behind the business.
And they’re willing to spend more on the brands that resonate with them.
This is why brand storytelling has become a non-negotiable part of a strategy for marketers across the globe.
Brand storytelling taps into the human need to connect with others through story.
It means that brands new and established are seeing the value of placing their ideal customers, teams and founders as the heroes of their stories, rather than the product or service.
If you can connect with someone emotionally, it’s a powerful way to build brand awareness, loyalty trust and fans that come back again and again.
Not only that, but those fans will rave about you to others, share your story and encourage others to get to know you.
The most powerful stories are authentic and connect back to your brand values and the all-important ‘why’.
Let’s take a look at the 10 best brand storytelling examples we’ve found.
Let’s be honest, Airbnb is a tech company. Their product is a complex technology that uses filters and algorithms to help people find places to stay on their travels. They don’t actually own any of the amazing properties we find on their website. Strangely enough, they’re definitely not in the real-estate business.
But it would be pretty boring if their advertising just showed us how this software worked and how amazing their developers are, right?
No one would give a hoot.
But what their customers do care about is getting to know the hosts and properties and visualising themselves in these amazing properties around the world.
They don’t care how the tech helped them see the options.
The Airbnb Youtube channel is packed with videos from hosts around the world.
It’s all about the people, not the tech.
This is an oldie, but a goodie.
Ok, we’re biased because this is one of ours.
But, huge Kudos to the marketing team there who knew that to connect with their team and customers, they needed to think a little deeper.
Renold delivers the highest precision-engineered power transmission products to industries all over the world.
Basically, they make products that help with everything from cement mixing to chocolate manufacturing. But the truth is, it’s pretty niche stuff and unless you’re hugely knowledgeable about this stuff (and probably not even then), you’d find it pretty boring to hear the ins and outs of how a gearbox is made, or how they manufacture couplings in one of their engineering factories.
But Renold does know that people buy from people.
While their competitors are producing pretty similar solutions for the same industry, they know that they’ve got a pretty unique history, that’s worth telling.
That’s storytelling that makes a connection.
Starbucks are masters of brand storytelling and have been doing it well for decades.
They don’t need to sell coffee. They’ve built up a tribe of raving fans all over the world.
How? By putting their customers at the heart of their stories. Their ‘It starts with you” campaign is a great example of this.
Not relying on one approach though, they answered their audience’s need for connection, emotion and storytelling by publishing the origin story.
Starbucks is another great example of a brand also flooding its channels with emotive content focussing on the people behind the brand. From interviews with baristas, docuseries on their sustainability efforts and their heartwarming “To Be Human” series.
On the surface, Toms is another trendy shoe brand.
Through the power of storytelling, they communicate their powerful origin story and in doing so connect with a tribe that will remain loyal customers, not because of the shoe.
But because of the brand’s vision, mission and values.
Such a powerful example of brand storytelling.
The script was even read by TOMS employees that had been there from the beginning.
Reinforcing the power of human connection and revealing the people behind the brand.
TOMS didn’t start with an idea for a shoe. In fact, it was the absence of the shoe that started it all.
Headspace is fundamentally a tech company. A subscription-based service.
They’ve harnessed the power of technology and capitalised on the age we live in today.
They’re geniuses and no doubt their tech has helped millions of people. 70 million downloads across all platforms don’t lie.
What if they launched an explainer video all about how the science, tech and subscription software worked? You wouldn’t be interested right?
Using the power of storytelling, they place their customers as the heroes of the story in this video and use them (as playful characters) to show how meditation can help.
But, they go even further with their brand storytelling and literally thank real people who’ve had real experiences with Headspace.
This means that those people watching can really invest emotionally in these real stories.
Trust is being built. They’re not just selling to you.
Ben & Jerry’s
Brands build trust by showing customers the “why” behind their brand.
They also build connections by showing the people behind the brand.
The Ben & Jerry’s mission video is a fantastic example of both of these.
Ben & Jerry’s operates on a three-part mission that aims to create linked prosperity for everyone that’s connected to our business: suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers, and neighbours alike.
But they don’t keep this to themselves. They share this story with the world.
If you can demonstrate your brand’s good intentions and desire to make a positive impact, you answering your customer’s need for transparency, and their desire to invest in brands that align with their own values.
Visit Wales isn’t selling travel. They don’t sell directions. They sell an experience.
That’s why their channels are packed with creative storytelling videos that focus on the people.
Their atmospheric content doesn’t even have a voiceover for crying out loud.
They don’t even need to use any persuasive language to try and encourage you to visit, tell you how to get there or even list and label the landmarks.
The majority of their content is created from the perspective of these people having amazing experiences.
It’s not salesy, it’s not desperate.
If viewers can feel the emotion of the people on screen, they can see themselves doing the same.
Simple. Effective. Emotive.
Etsy is now a household name. Customers know where to go to find handmade, handcrafted and unique gifts the world over.
This means they don’t need to explain what their platform is for, who it’s for or even how to use it.
Instead, they can focus on building brand awareness, harnessing the power of emotional storytelling and showing their audience (not telling them) what Etsy is all about.
Showing and not telling is the key here.
Etsy focuses on emotions and how they make people feel, which is far more powerful than the what and how.
Think of how dull a video from Etsy would be if it just listed all the products you could find and how to buy them.
A perfect example of showing, not telling.
Consumers don’t want to be told what and how to buy.
As we’ve mentioned before, they want to feel something for the brand.
Just as Renold did with their 75th Anniversary animation, Honda delivered a powerful piece of content to showcase their rich history.
Without even uttering a single word.
Much more engaging and emotive than listing the benefits and features of one of the cars.
The success of this example of brand storytelling speaks for itself, with the advert being nominated for several awards and winning an Emmy for outstanding commercials.
What’s not to love?
Sport England: This Girl Can
Sport England has a 10-year vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity.
They exist to invest in sports and to make it a normal part of life for everyone.
But how successful would their content be if they only focused on what they do, what they achieve and how they help the industry?
Their website is packed with statistics and results-driven stories from successful sports people and that’s definitely something to shout about.
However, to create effective brand storytelling that aligns with their mission to make sport a normal part of life for everyone, regardless of who they are, they need to speak to more than just the people who are already engaged.
The ‘This Girl Can’ campaign really harnessed the power of storytelling by focusing on real people, in real situations, in real life.
That is 100% more relatable and emotive than the countless ads portraying women with perfect bodies and elite athletes who are already successful.
Relating to real people, makes exercise seem more accessible and achievable for ordinary people.
But how can we use brand storytelling in marketing?
Sure, these incredible examples are from big brands and the ambition to create something as heartfelt and authentic, may seem like an impossible task.
But remember, no one knows your brand, or your business better than you and your team and with the help of a creative partner (who can ask you all the right questions), there will undoubtedly be tonnes of golden stories to pull from to generate some ideas on how to approach it.
A really in-depth discovery workshop can help you there.
Start slowly. Reflect on your vision, mission and values and work from there.
Here are a few tips to think about…
Don’t sell: Telling authentic stories that resonate means ditching the sales language and pushy product promotions. It may seem counterintuitive, but people want to invest in brands that align with their values, so whether they need what you’re offering or not, they want to feel something for your brand. Talk to them like fellow humans, and connect with them.
Position your customers as the heroes of the story: Nothing says that a brand is more reliable, authentic and honest than reviews and testimonials. 92% of consumers read online reviews before buying. But why wait for your customers to go out and find those reviews? Incorporate your success stories into your brand storytelling and let them speak for your brand.
Be consistent: With all these amazing examples it could be tempting to replicate or ‘do your own version’. But while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, realistically you’ll be selling yourself short and ultimately blending in online. Make sure you have robust brand guidelines in place before you start dreaming up magical content, and stay consistent with everything you create, to build that brand awareness, trust and loyalty.
Videos and stories are like sunshine and rain. We need both, they often come separately but together, they make rainbows.
And everyone loves rainbows.
Are you ready to make yours?
Whether you’re intrigued about working with us wizards, or you have any questions about our services or team culture, summon a wizard today.
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