Developing a great brand story with Rhubarb Fool Part I
There must be some fundamental human urge to tell tales. There are many cultures that have been defined primarily by oral histories passed down from generation to generation. The very meaning of the word history is simply that. His story.
There are many reasons for the durability of the art of story telling. Not least it has enormous powers to engage, entertain and educate. And let's be very clear about one thing. Despite the plethora of technological advancements that inform and guide our everyday lives; the power of story telling (to engage, entertain and educate) remains essentially undiminished.
As marketing techniques have gained in sophistication and scope, so brands have started using story formats more extensively in a bid to define themselves and establish their niches in busy market places. And it's this process that will be the central theme of this post. But before we can understand what makes a good brand story, we have to understand what makes a good story.
A good story has at its core an affirmative value. Humans covet affirmation and stories offer that connection. They allow us to bridge generations and establish our connections with (and thereby better understand) our fore-bearers. Re-read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Consider its essential portrayals of the human condition. In terms of what excites, conflicts or motivates us; nothing has really changed over the millennia.
In my research for this piece, I've identified six basic tenets of a good story:
It will make you care.
It will offer you an undertaking right from the outset.
It will establish themes and offer information that allow you to piece together parts of the story.
It will balance inevitability and unpredictability.
It will balance anticipation and uncertainty.
It will provoke awe and wonder.
These extremely helpful rules of thumb will assist any story telling process. But how do we apply these rules of thumb to the process of creating the story of a brand? What guidelines do we refer to at Rhubarb Fool, when we've been asked by a customer to develop a brand story. Again research leads us to a slightly longer (but in some instances over-lapping) list.
Read Part II here