Graeme Newell

positioning a brand: seven brand stories that changed the world

Need some branding inspiration?  Then head to the movies. The best brands in the world aren’t built on great products, they’re built on great stories.

In this three-minute emotional marketing lesson video, emotional marketing expert Graeme Newell reveals the seven story plots that can change a brand from an impersonal pitch to a transcendent human drama.

What would you say if I told you that you’ve seen every single movie ever made? It’s true – in a way. Experts say that there are only seven basic movie plots, so you probably polished off all seven before you could even spell your own name. Incidentally, the seven archetypes are: rags to riches, rebirth, quest, voyage & return, comedy, tragedy, and overcoming the monster. So what does this mean for positioning a brand? Every great marketer uses one of these stories when making a customer focused brand.

So what is customer focus anyway? Customer focus is how the best advertising campaigns keep their message relevant to the only people that matter – the customers. In this case, we’re focusing on how to connect with and entertain the customers by utilizing one of the seven storytelling archetypes used by movies. The thing is: customers really don’t care all that much about your product. They care about things like feeling smart, or confident, or feminine.

When you start to really hone in on these feelings, you are really getting into the realm of customer relationship marketing. So what is customer relationship marketing? It’s taking normal marketing and stepping it up to the next level. In an economy where every sale counts, it is essential that all companies are looking beyond a single sale. Instead, look to building a relationship with your customers to nurture a lifetime commitment.

So let’s take a look at some of the seven story archetypes and how to position a brand around them.

The rags to riches story is one where a nobody manages to attain greatness though sheer perseverance and hard work. This can be seen in movies like Cinderella, Harry Potter, and Pretty Woman – but also in Gatorade’s brand. When positioning a brand around this archetype, you can connect with the universal idea that anyone can rise up and become legendary if they work hard enough, and some of the best television ads ever made utilize this technique.

How about positioning a brand around “overcoming a monster?” In movies, it’s one of the most popular, appearing in movies like Men In Black. In advertising, this archetype is all about appealing to the control-freak living inside all of us and showing how your product can overcome anything life throws at your customers. One of the best advertising campaigns around today is Allstate’s “Mayhem” campaign, and it uses this technique.

The quest motif is shared between classic movies such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Timberland’s advertising. A single man against nature is the name of the game for this archetype, and Timberland thrives on it.

What do the popular woman’s health club and Rocky Balboa have in common? They both thrive on the rebirth archetype. Nobody is perfect, and positioning a brand around rebirth charges your brand with this idea that if you have fallen down, dammit you can pick yourself back up again and be great.

So to recap: what is customer focus? It’s positioning a brand around the customer. The best advertising campaigns are the ones that are built from the customer up, not the product down.

What is customer relationship marketing? It’s making the best television ads, and whatever else you can bring to the table, all revolve around building a rapport between your brand and the deepest emotions your customers feel.

So take a tip from the movies and start compelling your customers in new ways, they’ll thank you by becoming a fan for life.

 

Transcription of:

“Positioning a Brand: Seven Brand Stories that Changed the World,” by Graeme Newell, Emotional Marketing Researcher at 602 Communications

Hi I’m Graeme Newell. Experts tell us that of all the movies ever made, there are only seven basic plots.  One of them is the rags to riches story in movies like Cinderella…

Harry Potter…

and this comedy classic…
“Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy are trading places. I’ll bet that that young man could run our company as well as young Winthorp.”

Another one is the rebirth story where a character realizes the error of his ways, before it’s too late.  It’s the theme of movies like Hoosiers…

The Batman saga…

And a Christmas Carol.

There’s the quest story. A painful journey of redemption.  Like the Wizard of Oz…

Pirates of the Caribbean…

and the Lord of the Rings.

These seven story archetypes are the foundation of most all great stories from Homer to Shakespeare to Aaron Sorkin, and some of marketing’s most powerful brands are built on these same timeless stories.

Just like Julie Roberts in Pretty Woman, Gatorade uses the rags to riches story.

“Greatness is not given. Greatness is taken.”

Underdogs endure the pain and claw their way to victory.

Just like the Men in Black, Allstate Insurance uses the story of overcoming the monster.

Raiders of the lost arc uses the quest story, and so does Timberland – showing its gear on a holy quest, where warriors are put to the test.

Just like Rocky Balboa, Curves Health Clubs uses the story of rebirth.

The Salvation Army uses the story of rebirth too.

A powerful commercial because it taps a deeply moving archetype story that’s hard-wired into every human who ever lived.

So next time you’re struggling to find a way to tell your brand story, consider using one of the seven archetypal stories.  They’ve got several thousand years of testing behind them and are a proven way to strike a cord with your customers.  I’m Graeme Newell and that’s emotional marketing.

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