March 4th, 2015
Creative storytelling: Creating strong brand imagery
Start-ups. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about them is our own lives. We begin as young babies, take baby-steps, and grow old; unless it’s the life of Benjamin Button. That’s how brands grow as well. They begin their journey as start-ups, take babysteps, and grow old and credible. The only difference—very few start-ups find the road to adulthood. And more so in a place like India, which is buzzing with entrepreneurs today.
India is at the threshold of accelerated growth and it is believed that this growth will be led by the new set of young and vibrant entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial landscape has been a consistent contributor towards the development of the country and is amongst the most significant growth drivers of the economy. Start-up ecosystem seems to be growing exponentially. However, what this has done is to lead to clutter, with the mushrooming of hundreds of start-ups every day. Therefore it’s important for each start-up to create a niche for itself.
In a sea of information, creative storytelling is important
In an era where consumers are bombarded with irrelevant information, success in business will be had by those who can creatively sell their story. Storytelling is a way to help create and enhance a start-up’s value proposition. In these days of information overload, a good story will always win over marketing information.
The secret to securing an enduring customer relationship is all about creating an experience the consumer will never forget. One that makes them feel warmth and passion about the brand and its offering. If I am asked as a customer, my heart will always go to those who could tell their story dipped in creativity and help me imagine an extraordinary experience. That’s the power of creative storytelling.
Create an experience
Even a legendary brand like Apple learnt the hard way about the importance of a good story. In the early ’80s when Apple was not the icon it is today, they used factoids and evidence to convince the corporates to adopt the Mac. This route failed miserably. Various studies were highlighted, ads created around it to talk about the user convenience that Mac offered. It didn’t go down well with the companies. Only when they began the art of creative storytelling and subtle persuasion that helped augment the sales.
Closer home, there has been a bevy of Indian start-ups that have become brands thanks to compelling storytelling. When MakeMyTrip began operations, it had a difficult task to accomplish—compete with offline travel houses, which had existed for a long time and built a credible name for them. So, to be a new category—the e-travel space—MakeMyTrip used consistent, creative and sustained communication across media vehicles. Not just that, the brand also positioned itself as a leader in this space. It spoke about convenience and relevance that led consumers to use this space extensively. The result: MakeMyTrip is today one of the biggest names in the overall travel space.
Another classical example is that of IndiGo. When IndiGo began operations, the aviation industry was in doldrums. Flights were rarely on time and flying was associated with drudgery rather than fun. So they built a storyline—based on a differentiated business model, of course—of being a fun airline and being always ‘On Time’. This definitely aroused a lot of interest amongst the customers. IndiGo has consistently maintained its image as a friendly, hip airline. Everything, from their logo to external communication tells us something that make us smile. The vehicles it uses to carry luggage are labelled ‘CarGo’, in sync with the name IndiGo. The air-sickness bag says ‘Get Well Soon’. Instead of an in-flight magazine, it has a shopping catalogue with interesting IndiGo curios. IndiGo’s in-your-face creative communication has broken the clutter in the industry and grabbed everyone’s eyeballs. In today’s turbulent airline industry this sustained and creative engagement is perhaps what has kept IndiGo soaring high.
These are just a few of the many companies that started as babies and have grown to adulthood and become credible, thanks to their effective, compelling and creative storytelling. The key is in narrating stories that can create personal connections to the listener. As a storyteller, be proactive and make the connection evident to your audience. And all this with a touch of emotions; after all, communication has moved beyond B2B or B2C to H2H—human to human.