Blog

The Power of Story

Thomas Raybell
, Marketing Director

Humans are narrative creatures, we love good stories, and many times we even love mediocre stories.  We watch movies, read newspapers, and spend hours lost in various book series- storytelling is central to the human existence. It’s found in every culture that involves a symbiotic exchange between teller and listener. Every one of us have a unique story, and in the same way, each organization has a story.

 For an organization to communicate who they are to the public they need to identify what their story is, and to continually utilize that story across the organization. Why? Because storytelling has benefits- as it helps us to understand, engage, and remember information.  As you discover your story, you want to find elements that help engage your audience to fully experience your narrative, bringing the aesthetic, and the story together holistically.  The look of your story should reflect the mood and tone of it. One way to do this would be with images, for example, having a large photo that explains the narrative of your story as soon as someone visits your site.

O’Neill Financial Management, for example, does this especially. This picture tells us a story about navigating to your own financial future. This picture is an explanation, as well an example, of what financial freedom could be for you. This location could be anywhere, such as, Hawaii, Mexico, or California, but the point is, you could have this live. The house just as the location is undefined, creating a scene in which anyone could see themselves walking along the ocean. It’s subtle, but this picture is showing us a life we could have if we worked with O’Neill Financial Management

A brand’s story is more than a picture or a logo. It’s a story that taps into our emotion and genuinely connects our identity to that brand. This is the power of story. A good story makes you feel something while being universal. Customers want to be connected to a brand they can relate to and that they understand. Customers want to understand and know a company’s values and commitments as their buy decisions are reflected in that brand. The importance of this is using story to empower a brand and create a deeper connection with its customer base. Another aspect of conveying your story would be choosing what font to use. A great example of this is Ikea’s font change in 2009:

 

Ikea switched from Futura to Verdana which doesn’t seem like a big deal, right? But it got coverage by Time Magazine and across the internet's discussion forms. People were very upset and expressing their frustrations. Ikea, the Swedish houseware and furniture store always prides itself on the high-quality design of its low-cost items. For more than 50 years, Ikea had use the font Futura and switching to Verdana seemed like a good idea as it translates better internationally. But the public saw this as Ikea letting go of an element of their story- of who they were. See, Verdana is more cooperate, some of us don’t see much of a difference between the two fonts, others can’t stand it. The public thought Ikea was changing from what they had all come to love about the company. 

Stories are powerful, and what’s even more power is how we decide to communicate that information. Whether it’s done through color, pictures, or fonts; it’s important to create a brand that is consistent and share a story that’s moving.  

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