Is Your Brand Making Impact With Stories?

According to Stanford University, stories are 2,200% easier to remember than facts and figures. Why? Two words. Evolution baby.

Storytelling is a strategy that just can’t be beaten. You’ve probably heard it come up in business over the years… and you’ll continue to for many more years to come, and for very good reason! Our minds are hardwired to best process our experiences in an easily digestible format: the story. Compelling stories are a powerful way to make a meaningful connection with your audience, forging a relationship that goes beyond products or services. Brand storytelling fuses the facts with the emotions that your brand evokes, it fosters loyalty.

Through the next few examples, you’ll see a common theme in brand storytelling; story first, product second. You must make your audience the hero.


typing on old red typewriter

1. Apple – Think Different

Today, Apple tells a story that makes its customer a hero. A creative who thinks differently.

Their first campaign went from nine pages in the NY Times to just two words on billboards: Think Different. Apple began to make its messaging simple and relevant, by tapping into its customers’ stories.

From showing how the Apple Watch has literally changed people’s livesto using perspectives to “see things differently” – Apple has a wealth of chapters in its 44-year story. Recently, we saw the return of everyone’s favorite campaign… “The Underdogs”.

A key element of effective brand storytelling are protagonists who your audience can relate to. Once people see themselves in a story, they’re emotionally invested. Your brand and its offering will soon follow.

2. The Land of Land Rovers

Land Rover are experts at controlling their niche within the automotive market, but they really nailed it with “The Land of Land Rovers”. The campaign tells the true story of two small towns between Nepal and India where a fleet of 60-year-old Land Rovers are vital for safe and regular transport between the two villages.

It’s so effective because not only is it real, but it perfectly illustrates how hardy and trustworthy the vehicles are. It adds a human element that shows how the product is an essential part of life for the locals. This is the perfect example of “show, don’t tell”.

Anything based on a true story is going to hit home that little bit more – and if you can demonstrate the effectiveness of your brand through a breathtaking story; then it will stay with people forever. Like all great epics.

3. Google – Year in Search

From the unique stories hidden in the Google logo each day, to its search functionality itself, Google tells everyone’s story. By using data to put the user at the heart of everything, Google is also expert in data-driven storytelling. A great example of this is their annual ‘Year in Search’ video, which uses the most commonly searched phrases to form a narrative of the previous year. In just a few minutes, the film’s moving footage makes for a powerful perspective.

The films rank in the top 1% of ads due to Google’s ability to harness data to identify which moments will best engage its audience and evoke a strong range of emotions. Last year, the campaign focused on the different types of heroes around the world.

By giving meaning to our search data and bringing it to life with a heartwarming narrative, Google makes the audience feel like they are a part of a larger movement – delivering a highly effective brand storytelling campaign that packs an emotional punch.

4. AirBnB

Storytelling lies at the very heart of AirBnB’s marketing and overall success. Just check out this short, powerful animated tale here. The brand leverages its users to tell engaging stories of community and local hospitality through a multitude of videos.

They continued to tell their story by connecting the global community through activities in a virtual setting.

By looking after their hosts, not to mention those most affected by the pandemic, through various initiatives AirBnB ensured their community’s stories continued to be heard around the globe.

5. Spotify & Podcasts

As a music streaming platform, with its recent focus on the podcast market and its “Wrapped” feature, Spotify really upped its game. All because they’ve gone beyond the songs to harness the power of storytelling.

The annual “Wrapped” feature allows users to look back on their listening insights from the year before. It’s become one of Spotify’s more anticipated releases, as it allows users to explore their own musical journey. But it’s not just that, it neatly reinforces their brand message: Spotify is more than just another streaming music app. It tells a story that Spotify can help users evolve their musical interests.

Their podcast audience has grown by more than 50% since last year too, with a 39% increase in listened podcast hours each quarter! Podcasts offer a wealth of personal stories, with brands developing loyal followings and intimate relationships with their audience as a result.

People are turning to podcasts to discover their tribe. This presents an unparalleled opportunity to tell your story in a personal space, to a hyper-engaged audience.

6. Instanovels, Snap & Short-form

Narratives can spread like wildfire with the right type of content, shared in the right kind of way. Channel 4 and Snap Inc. have announced a new partnership that’ll see short-form edits of C4 content air on Snapchat Discover.  There’s even an AR lens that allows you to create your own cliff-hanger ending (complete with theme tune and credits!). The partnership allows C4 to better tell their stories to young audiences – supercharging their social footprint.

Similarly, the New York Public Library has uploaded entire books, such as Alice in Wonderland and A Christmas Carol, to its story highlights on Instagram. Featuring custom illustrations, animation, and engaging features (like an area for your thumb to scroll without blocking text!) – the result is a highly effective, highly accessible, and binge-able format that meets their audience where they spend the most time. The “Insta Novels” campaign has since grown NYPL’s following by over 75%, with the tales having been read more than 300,000 times!

Older, established brands can surprise audiences by harnessing new technologies and channels in their brand storytelling strategy. Don’t be afraid of trying something new, just deliver your story in a way that makes people smile.

7. Twitch, Gaming & Branding

Twitch began as a live streaming platform built around gaming. But, as their community grew, so did their marketing value. It’s now an effective place to tell your brand’s story to an untapped audience: the hard-to-reach 18 – 34-year-olds. KFC for instance continues to tell the story of Col. Sanders’ finger lickin’ empire through KFC Gaming and having a presence on Twitch!

The evolution of a brand’s design tells its own story too. Last year, FIRST and Clive helped Twitch bring their refreshed branding to life at Cannes, Gamescom, and Paris Games Week! They began 2019 on a journey to update the brand to better elevate their communities to the world stage. They’re proud of their audience and how far they’ve all come together. Their community is unique. It’s evolving alongside the brand. So to tell their stories and empower them, they needed a new approach to brand design.

Don’t underestimate the power of Twitch – it’s not just for gamers anymore. With 4.7 million users, it’s only just getting started too. It’s the ideal place to tell your story to the audiences of tomorrow.

We’re in the business of telling stories – best known for bringing together brands and people through creative, connected experiences.

We’d love to demonstrate our digital storytelling and see what tale our creative and strategy teams can come up with for you. We’re sure that we can help create a truly effective brand narrative that resonates with both your internal and external audiences.

In a world where it’s absolutely necessary to be authentic, it’s important for you to tell your story.


Contact us and explore how FIRST can provide an effective solution that benefits your business and motivates your people.

contact us photo