What makes a product sell? What makes people identify with a certain brand? Why does a mother buy Coke over Pepsi without a conscious thought?
Surprisingly for some, the reasoning often has nothing to do with the product’s style, features, or pricing. Rather, success often lies in the ability of the product’s storyline to interest and engage key audiences.
Brand storytelling emotionally connects audiences with a product or service. A powerful narrative can transform just another coffee brand into an exhilarating morning experience, or a pair of running shoes into a source of strength and empowerment.
Take the story of the now household brand Febreze. As told in Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, sales of Febreze originally flopped because P&G was using the wrong storyline to try to sell the product.
After nearly giving up on the odor eliminator, the company finally realized that they weren’t creating a narrative with which consumers could identify. They were packaging Febreze as a solution to bad smelling fabrics, but no one likes to think that their house smells unpleasant, even when it does.
Following some insightful market research, P&G switched Febreze’s marketing strategy to a position the product as a pleasant reward at the end of your cleaning ritual and ran ads demonstrating its use as such. As Duhigg said, “Febreze, the ads implied, was a pleasant treat, not a reminder that your home stinks.”
By simply adjusting the storyline surrounding the product, sales doubled within two months and reached $230 million a year later.
This is just one of the many examples of the power of storytelling. Creating a powerful narrative that is infused throughout all your communications demonstrates consistency and builds trust with consumers. And if your storyline is really strong, it will take on a life and validity of its own, until shoppers are buying your product without a conscious thought.