The Six Cs of Storybranding: from stories to brands

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Storytelling is not easy, especially when it’s for influencing brands where nothing less than stupendous will suffice. Draftfcb Mexico shows you how to do it using Jim Signorelli’s technique.

Trust is the greatest advertising competitor and stories are a bridge of trust among individuals. We have evolved from an imposing your brand age to a storytelling age. This involves an effort that not everybody is willing to make, but it isn’t optional, people avoid traditional advertising. Sharing a story organically creates relationships.

Andrew Stanton, creator of several Pixar success stories including Toy Story and Nemo, explained in a talk at TED, that the Storyteller has to get the attention of the audience, make them care.

Making it matter to them is not necessarily searching for a like or a homemade video for a contest proposed by the brand. Interpretation alone is participation. It makes the story recipient think, get involved and make the story his own story.

Wolfang Iser says no tale can ever be told in its entirety. His reader-response theory recognizes the reader as an active agent who imparts real existence to the work and completes its meaning through interpretation.

Brands should tell stories that connect to the individual at a deep level. That deepness is an already existing belief. Through stories, brands enhance what we care about and what makes sense to us. Storytelling creates an attitude and standpoint for the brand that is interesting for people.

In an Adweek article, Tim Nudd talks about seven archetypal themes that are useful tools to create powerful stories, since they identify human beings collectively. One of them is Rags to Riches, from poverty to wealth; tales about individual transformation, progress and self-improvement. Charles Dickens depicts this in his work Great Expectations.

The 6 Cs of Storybranding

Jim Signorelli proposes creating brands through stories:

1) Collecting facts that will build the story: everything we know about the brand, from its origin, its goals, its strengths and weaknesses.

2) Characterizing the brand: Identifying the brand’s personality. An insight of the values and beliefs system it represents. Make the world see the brand as a person rather that a thing.

3) Characterizing the audience: finding out what the functional and emotional needs of our target audience are. How these needs provide an opportunity for the brand. The story language, this is known as dramatic theme. It is the problem that drives the journey of the main character. This issue could be about the search for redemption, love or life purpose.

4) Connecting characters: at this stage, dots begin to connect. Now that we understand the two main characters of the story, the brand and the audience, we try to connect them.

5) Facing obstacles: the extent to which obstacles must be overcome, set the plot and identify major barriers that are in the way.

6) Completing the StoryBrief: in contrast with the traditional creative brief, the StoryBrief summarizes the entire story of the brand, besides it provides an empathic understanding of the brand and the audience. They take the form of autobiographical sketches compared with descriptions of facts that are common to most traditional writings. They stimulate empathy and identification.

There are several proposals of how a brand can generate a story. It all depends on the brand.  Jim Signorelli’s Storybranding raises an important base, however, not always a powerful story emerges from the brand itself. A solution can be creating a story or merging into an existing one and telling it in a new way.

Which is the best story a brand has told you?