Lately the role of narrative in advertising and branding is getting a lot attention. This is a natural progression as brands struggle with the need to create content and conversation in the digital world instead of broadcasting a benefit driven message through the airwaves. Social media, games, and digital experiences all seem to make more sense when driven by a story.
Earlier this year, I began screenwriting. Like many who endeavor to accomplish this, I had an idea for a story that I felt just needed to be told. The experience led me to a few realizations: story is just as important to brands as it is to film, stories have always been one of the most important way humans communicate, and all stories begin in the same place — with a hero.
So, this post is all about asking the question, “Who is your brand's hero?”
Many brands will try to convince you that the brand itself is the hero. The recent work for Allstate, starring Dean Winters as “Mayhem” is a great example of this. Mayhem rears its ugly head and Allstate saves the day.
Sometimes the benefit takes on the role of the hero. Benefits are usually abstract, so fictional characters come in handy here. Work for Old Spice, Captain Morgan and Dos Equis all rely on characters that embody the qualities of the product benefits to fill the role of hero.
Casting the people who use the product as the hero is another popular approach: Smart, savvy, and cool families drive a Honda.
Sometimes the customer is the hero. But the customer is not the end user. Hallmark is great example. “When you care enough to send the very best” is a message all about making the person who gives the greeting card the hero.
If you have other approaches or thoughts about narrative and brands, please share.
And if you’re interested in writing a movie script, I highly recommend working with the team at Script Pipeline. They are incredibly talented people with an amazing track record.