Why Storytelling for Brands Is Becoming More Important Than Ever

Months ago, Whole Foods came out with its first national advertising campaign. It comes in the form of a video, and tells the message of the brand’s values: ethical, high-quality food production and sourcing, and fair labor practices. Why did Whole Foods, a household name, decide on a national ad spend now? Because of competition. Despite its success (and perhaps, in part, because of it), the better-for-you market segment is becoming mainstream. Everyone wants a piece of the natural, organic market because of its strong consumer demand.

Whole Foods is a perfect example of a brand creating differentiation in the market beyond product. At the end of the day, competitors can take pages out of business plans and, in this case, put good-for-you products on their shelves. But there’s one thing that is individual to each brand that cannot be replicated: a brand story.

Brand stories evoke passion and purpose. They portray messages of a brand’s motivation, values, history and what a company stands for. Brand stories open the door of transparency from company to consumer, inviting them in. And probably most importantly, brand stories have the ability to connect individuals to something greater than themselves, giving them a chance to find self-value within the company’s values. If you haven’t already connected the dots, these attributes together build loyalty and increase top-of-mind awareness for consumers.

Video Killed the Radio Ad

You can have what you think to be the most compelling brand story in the world. But the power of storytelling lies in how it is told. This brings us to another hot topic. As Mashable writes in a recent article, “The message is clear: If you want to make money, make video first.” 

That’s because video continues to be the fastest-growing format in online advertising.

Video ad spending has increased significantly in the past five years alone. In 2010, eMarketer reported a total of $1.42B in video ad spend. This year, that number climbs to $7.11B. In 2016, video ad spend is projected to jump to $9.59B. Meanwhile, traditional ad spend — on media like TV and radio — continues to dwindle (eMarketer).

Consider cost effectiveness, more brand control (especially in comparison to traditional media) and the shift of consumer consumption, and these statistics make complete sense.

Think about it: Google bought YouTube in 2006. Twitter bought Vine in 2012 and Periscope in 2015. In 2014, Facebook changed its News Feed algorithm to show more video. Both Instagram and Snapchat have added video features. And most recently, Spotify announced it would begin streaming video on its platform.

“The game has changed not only with consumers, but the brands that serve them,” says Paul Barron, CEO/founder and executive producer at Foodable. “Advertising is shifting to the telling, not selling approach and the brands that are leading with rich stories are the ones that are succeeding. Just look at GoPro, Redbull, Chipotle and others that have shifted to a completely new approach to reach the modern consumer. The amazing thing today is that smaller brands can now approach this top-level content from approachable costs and speed to market by using the latest in technology and systems that are revamping the entire content development business.”

Foodable partner The Cheese Course, a European-style bistro, is a great example of a smaller brand utilizing video as its storytelling medium.

Small Operation, Big Value

A 10-unit operation franchise, The Cheese Course started writing its story in 2000, when its first location opened in South Florida. The vision of the concept? To bring the complexity of the cheese world to the mainstream, and to make it more approachable for consumers.

The brand, which showcases 100+ varieties of artisanal cheeses from farmers all around the world, does a great job educating consumers in-store. They sell retail products, offer pairing and tasting classes, and each store has an in-house cheesemonger. But what about engaging new guests or those who have never been to The Cheese Course before?

“Video is the most effective — and fun — way to get someone to have a complete understanding of our brand,” says Enrique Altamirano, owner and president at The Cheese Course. When deciding to take the video route, The Cheese Course team also considered how most social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, take video into account for news feeds and in-feed display.

“It’s important for us to tell The Cheese Course story so our guests know where the food we serve is coming from, that we have unique products that cannot be found everywhere,” says Altamirano. The brand’s messaging also tells the story of the restaurant’s artisans and the history of the food. “Each Cheese Course location has a story to tell,” he says.

When a brand stops having things to say, that’s when people stop listening. When people stop listening, you become irrelevant. And irrelevancy is the death of success.

With that, we’ll leave you to ponder this: Could video storytelling be the future of advertising?


If you're interested in learning more about how to make your brand story come alive, we can help. Check out Foodable CREATE for more information.