We’re all hardwired to tell and listen to stories. Successful brands take advantage of this quirk of human nature by winning over the hearts of their customers with compelling storytelling. In fact brand stories, when told well, are far more powerful than the products that a brand sells.
Take Airbnb’s story. They propose that anyone can feel like they belong anywhere, a story which is more effective at engaging their audience than their product alone. Or how about Lynx’s story. They suggest that no matter who you are, women can find you irresistible – a story that is certainly more powerful than a new deodorant scent.
The alternative, focusing on the product rather than the story, is a more risky business. By focusing on the product, a brand reduces itself to its nuts and bolts, something that is easily substituted by a competitor. Without an alluring story, a brand is unable to differentiate itself and the result is often a price war and a race to the bottom.
This isn’t saying that the product is unimportant, it’s a fundamental component. Without a good product, it’s near impossible to tell a good story. However I’d argue that telling an engaging and unique story is more important in creating uncontested market space for your brand that will stand the test of time.