he most memorable brands have a great story behind them that brings out the essence of their existence and the purpose of what they do.
These stories share a journey that is relatable to their customers and embody values and beliefs that the brand shares with its audience.
More often than not, businesses think of brand storytelling as nice to have but rather, it’s a must have component to ultimately improve brand loyalty and easily be remembered.
That’s why most brand stories are inconsistent, lack authenticity and likely push customers away because consumers find it hard to connect to a story that doesn’t resonate with them and
seems like a run-of-the-mill brand narrative.
In this post, we will look at examples of great brand storytelling that incorporates authenticity, consistency and a strong connection with an audience. These examples are aimed at inspiring your own formulation of an exceptional brand story.
1. Warby Parker Eyewear
A brand story goes beyond your website and logo, it’s how your audience perceives you based on the messages you transmit through all your channels and resources.
And Warby Parker got all of that spot on to create a memorable brand and revolutionize the eyewear industry in regards to the whole experience of how we shop, try and buy eyewear.
So how did they do it?
It all started when one of the founders lost a $700 pair of glasses while on a backpacking trip. They were amazed at how expensive it was to replace the glasses and couldn’t find good frames at an affordable price.
This was the current status quo in the eyewear industry; glasses costing as much as an iPhone and the industry was monopolized by one company, Luxottica, owning all major eyewear brands stocked at main retailers and even owned the eyewear insurance provider Eyemed.
This was a problem because most people couldn’t afford these high priced glasses and a single company was reaping profits from their consumers.
In addition, customers felt disconnected from the company because they had to buy glasses from retailers with limited selections or wholesalers who create an unpleasant buying environment.
Behold, that was when Warby Parker came to existence with a goal of providing an alternative.
An option for consumers to purchase higher quality and stylish prescription eyewear online (if contact lenses, shoes etc were sold online, so could glasses) at an affordable price and bring life to the traditional way of shopping for eyewear.
The brand engaged directly with its customers and simplified the process of purchasing prescription eyewear. Along with purchasing online, customers could get at least five pairs of glasses to try on while at home before deciding to purchase.
And to solve the problem of people worldwide lacking access to glasses, they partnered with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is given to someone in need.
Here’s Warby Parker’s brand Hierarchy:
Customers who relate with this brand story and share the belief that buying glasses should be an easy and fun process and stylish glasses shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, develop a strong relationship with the brand making it a household brand.
Their brand story isn’t just an about us page, it transcends their website and business operations.
Every brand story should live up to its promise. For Warber Parker, stylish glasses sold at an affordable price through an easy and fun buying process and giving out free pairs of glasses to people in need for every pair sold.
Hinge is a dating app founded in 2012 and grew its user base high enough to be ranked among the top dating apps.
The then existing state of affairs, as it is now, of dating apps is that they promoted gamification and objectification. People were addicted to swiping so that they could see who likes them back and get instant gratification.
Swiping became a game and dating apps transformed into apps meant for hookups causing the vanity fair to call this the dating apocalypse.
While Hinge was originally set out to build a brand that fosters relationships, it found itself trapped in the game of gamification and objectification.
Mindless swiping discouraged real-world connection and the apps’ user interface and the functioning mechanism were designed to maximize user engagement and not foster relationships.
A whole rebrand that saw the company lay off multiple employees and put their spending on relaunching the company.
Hinge came back with one sole purpose:
They live up to their promise of building relationships by creating an app that isn’t swiped based but rather looks a bit like Instagram where users can like and comment on other users' pictures and questions.
Then users can connect when they have mutual interests as opposed to prior functioning, which encouraged instant gratification.
Since it takes time as compared to the swipe-based model to connect to a user, people are more likely to make an extra effort so as to connect with a user they actually like and not just swiping through to see who likes them.
Hinge created a brand story that consumers could relate to as most people who go into dating apps hope to find meaningful relationships but find themselves sucked into the dating apocalypse.
3. Grado Labs
Grado Labs is an audio manufacturing company that is known for its hand made headphones and cartridges.
For a company that hasn’t spent a dime in advertising, it’s hard to imagine how it has managed to stay in business for over 67 years.
Grado Labs has flourished primarily through word of mouth marketing thanks to its compelling brand story and living up to it since their inception.
In the sound industry, people were easily swayed by intimidating ads ran by big audio corporations promising a revolutionary headphone. But in reality, the headphones would just be rehashed from old designs and marketed as new headphones.
All major companies used high-level machines to produce as many products as they could and used huge sums of advertising budgets to hype their products.
Quality headphones amplify the experience of listening to music, but the headphone manufacturers in the market didn’t pay attention to sound quality and were mass-producing to meet sales projections.
Grado Labs stayed true to its mission of putting sound first and not profit. They handcraft their headphones from start to finish paying attention to details and striving to produce headphones with the best sound possible.
This brought in tremendous results as their story of putting sound first resonated with their audience who look for headphones with better sound quality rather than hype from the market.
Music producers such as Rodney Hazard and Grammy winner John Mayer are just some of the renowned people known of using the Grado headphones
The Canadian branch of the disposable diaper, Huggies sought to gain market share in the diaper market in Canada which was mostly owned by pampers.
Most moms chose what their birthing hospitals usually provided and pampers had 100% of hospitals contract.
As you could imagine it would take a compelling emotional reason to influence parents to pick Huggies even before they went to the hospital.
So Huggies chose to run an initiative based on their core values. They ran over 600 studies that proved hugs were directly connected to the development of a child, stabilizes vital signs, improves brain development and the immune system.
They then went on to create the No Baby Unhugged initiative to explain to parents what these findings meant.
The No Baby Unhugged Initiative had two main goals:
- To educate mothers on the importance of skin to skin hugs for their babies
- To put in place volunteer huggers in hospitals for babies in need of hugs.
In 2016, after the inception of the initiative, Huggies experienced an almost 30% surge in sales, an engagement rate of 300% higher than Industry benchmark in social media, and the campaign is being adopted by 16 countries worldwide.
Huggies are just an example of how brands can use strategic storytelling to create a deeper connection with their audience.
Strategic storytelling is how brands use data and insights to tell a brand story, create a connection with an audience, and inspire action based on the insights.
5. Toms shoes
Toms shoes began from an apartment with only 160 pairs of shoes to branching out to eyewear, apparel, coffee, and handbags in addition to the massive customer base and media recognition.
How did the fairy tale transition happen?
In the shoe industry brands were constantly competing despite the fact that products were similar in price, quality and style.
According to Toms shoes story, their founder Blake Mycoskie, while on a trip to Argentina witnessed a problem that came to light after meeting a woman in a cafe who was volunteering on a shoe drive.
Most kids lacked shoes and that complicated much of their lives, from attending school to infections and being exposed to a wide range of diseases.
He wanted to help out and the first thought was to start a shoe-based charity. But sooner rather than later donations wouldn’t be consistent and the children would need more than occasional shoe donations.
That’s when TOMS shoes began its journey. The company worked on a one for one basis, for a pair of shoes bought, a new pair of shoes would be given to a child in need.
To date, nearly over 100 million pairs of shoes have been given to people in need and for every $3 TOMS shoes make they give $1 away.
Today's customers purchase products not only based on the price and quality but also on the likeability of a brand.
TOMS is able to compel its audience with a brand story that they can rally behind and feel good about.
Creating a successful brand that consumers can rally behind and be loyal to doesn’t just require a brand story, it requires a compelling brand story which is consistent, authentic and connects with its audience.