Brands Must Shift From 'Selling' to 'Telling'

By Paul Barron, CEO/Founder of DigitalCoCo, Foodable WebTV & the Restaurant Social Media Index

Most brands have a great story that epitomizes their product, service or just the aura of the brand itself. From the smallest to the largest brand, the story is one of the first brand elements that can scale. It’s the one thing that levels the playing field across segments, consumer culture and brand innovation. 

Today’s brand stories have faltered though. With the onslaught of social media and the rush to what seemed to be FREE marketing, brands are forgetting that one invaluable piece, which is to tell the story. Recognizable storytellers are brands like Chipotle and Red Bull, but there are so many others that are breaking the rules now in how storytelling is becoming an art.

The challenge that brands have is to determine where the storytelling belongs within the organization. My belief is that it belongs to the ambassadors of the brand – no longer is it the right or domain of marketing or even the CEO. Like most great stories, there are many chapters and many characters. The brands that capture this are the ones that will soon be known to the masses.

The Ad Shift: Tell Your Story

The advertising shift is beginning to take place with embedded storytelling, which is similar to the hot topic area of native advertising. With embedded stories, the focus of the story becomes so much more than the eventual ad that is delivered in concepts like Native Advertising. It’s complicated, but the root of the matter is that each story must have these three elements to become an embedded story:

1.  The passion of the story itself. Is it real? Does it touch the lives of others? M,ost of all can it be retold by the masses? 

2.  Cast or Character. Are they larger than life, lovable, or relatable to your audience? Do they offer great insight to the storyline? Can they bring the passion to life through the thoughts and ideas that bring the brand to the backseat and the story to the front? 

3.  Story Scale. It’s not in the way the brand scales, but in a way that a great trilogy does. Star Wars, Mission Impossible, Anchorman — take your pick. Story scale is that very unique part that makes a story a value to be retold.

Once you have these parts, the storytelling becomes part of who you are. You will find yourself seeking out the nuggets of the brand that may go untold. You will begin to impact your own storytelling future so that you can position the brand to experience new stories and write new chapters in the life and times of your business. People love real stories that compel them, and make them think or feel. Brands are no different — you just need a great story.