A corporate tale: what do superheroes have in common with your brand?
After the boom of highly successful blockbuster movies based on the cinematic universe of Marvel, superheroes arrived in our lives to stay. The way their stories are told is the perfect formula for capturing audiences; our brands can learn from them to achieve the same objective.
The power of the stories told in these films is influencing a whole generation on how a story is structured and told. They almost always follow the classic model of stories known as the “hero’s journey”.
This is commonly known as “monomyth”, as defined by the American writer and mythologist Joseph Campbell. This classic scheme has worked well as it clearly and simply presents the essential elements of a tale, making it easily digestible by audiences of any age. From Homer in the Odyssey to J.K. Rowling and her acclaimed best seller, Harry Potter, the “hero’s journey” has been a winning and memorable way to narrate a story.
Since one of the most powerful tools that a brand can use to communicate is through storytelling, it’s worth asking how we could successfully apply these narrative tools to our brands, and make our messages even more effective.
It’s worth considering a few of the principal ingredients of the monomyth: the hero, a call to adventure, a mission, an adversary, even a mentor or someone helpful. Delving into a company’s history, audiences, business objectives or future goals reveals these elements of a story right within the company structure. This enables the narration of a story that is totally unique and appropriate to the company.
The author Donald Miller, in his recently published book “Building a Storybrand”, refers to the lack of corporate storytelling as a “narrative void”. This results in problems for the company, especially if it invests heavily in advertising, in theory to explain what it does and why, but in fact will find it hard to explain and will show itself up as having little direction, a lack of commitment to the company’s mission, resulting in fruitless sales efforts, amongst other things.
The importance of this tale goes beyond the founding history of the company; if it isn’t clear then confusion results. It’s necessary to go further and ask, who is the hero of this story? What mission does he have? What is his purpose and what motivates him to look for adventure? Who are his adversaries? Are they internal or external, tangible or intangible? All of these questions need answers and that’s the way to reach the necessary clarity in order to communicate and effectively reach out and connect to audiences, despite their being bombarded with information from every direction.
Everyone responds to the power of stories. This is a time in which people can connect with a brand through multiple channels, all perfect platforms for companies to use to narrate stories effectively and powerfully and engage with people as never before. A client or a consumer will be captivated, not just because of an excellent price or a delivery promise, but rather for the capacity to get him excited about the story and to make him identify with the characters featured in the narrative.
If we want a blockbuster brand then we have to tell a powerful story. The corporate tale, successfully achieved, can become a superpower to make a company stand out in its sector