Narrative is one of the most powerful means of building a brand available. By attaching a story to a product, the marketer can control the image of the product in the consumer’s mind and forever attach it with the most stand-out elements of the storyline used. This is one of the oldest branding methods in use because it is one of the most effective. It is just as effective online as it is anywhere else.
Consider the possibilities of this method. Instead of selling a mountain bike as just a bike, one can sell it as a lifestyle. To do this, one first constructs a story, usually from the first person, that makes the association. As an example: “I was out of shape and needed a cost-efficient way to get to work. After I picked up my Brand X Mountain bike, I not only found myself getting more trim and mentally healthy, I was soon out exploring the local trails and gaining a whole new appreciation for the environment.” A bike, which is, in reality, tires, a frame and some gears, has in the story above been transformed into a route toward a lifestyle with incredible benefits.
Such storylines can turn any product into something more than it would seem on the surface. Best of all, it’s an honest form of branding. The mountain bike example used above is most likely true for many people who went ahead and purchased such products. There’s no snake-oil or chicanery involved. The storyline simply brands the product as a viable connection to something more ethereal. A luxury suite at an expensive hotel is really just a place to sleep, deconstructed to its bare-bones, but it is also a viable way to experience the high life.
This method of branding can be seen in use for most any product. Cars are not just cars, they’re the means by which the protagonist in the narrative achieves freedom. Wedding dresses aren’t just ceremonial garb, they’re part of the story of two people forging a life-long, for better or worse commitment to one another. Consider how your product fits into the narrative of your customer’s lives. By constructing a good narrative, you’ll make a viable brand and a memorable story by which your potential customers will remember it. Good stories are one of the most effective ways to create a lasting and powerful brand.