When we say we do 'Brand Story" people sometimes crinkle up their faces and raise an interested (or mystified) eyebrow. Sounds interesting. Yes, I think we need that... but what is it? So, listen up. Here we go:
The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves form our identity. The stories an organisation tells itself about itself forms it’s Brand Story.
An organisation’s Brand Story needs to be strong, positive, coherent and engaging. If it is not, everybody suffers. This is particularly pertinent in the wake of what we might call corporate trauma; when an organisation encounters loss or major restructuring or negative coverage in the media.
Major change and upheaval can lead to a weakening sense of identity. This, in turn, undermines performance, clouds strategy and leads to conflict, stress, loss of motivation and innovation, fragmented communication and instabliity.
Repeated attempts at rebranding via advertising campaigns and conventional marketing strategies are not always enough. A call to name Brand Values and live by them is often received with cinicism by staff and clients/customers alike and has limited benefits. Many well-intentioned and costly interventions just don’t go deep enough.
"Brand Story provides invaluable content for Social Media"
Once the preserve of expensive centralised campaigns via press and TV, Brand Stories can now be spread to millions by pressing ‘send.’ The barriers have gone and many organisations have only just caught up with this idea, realising that a story is being told already through every tweet, post and update. And they’d better get around to giving it some sort of shape.
The mythology surrounding a brand is hugely influential and hard to change. Great if you are Virgin, or Apple, or Innocent. Not so good if your brand story is less than heroic. And worse if your organisation is cast as a villain or a fool by the media.
The question of course is: What is our story? How can we agree on it and own it? How do we craft it, cascade it, embed it and live it?
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
The good news is that every organisation has a positive Brand Story waiting to be discovered. Every brand has a heritage to celebrate. Every brand has brand heros at every level with transformational stories to tell.
Brand Story needs to be unearthed and told. And then told again and again at the water cooler, in the Board Room, lift and bedroom, and through every form of internal and external communication. Until it becomes so much part of the infrastructure that you don’t notice it any more.
LLP BRAND STORY PROCESS
PHASE 1 – CRAFTING THE STORY
Targeted interviews with key staff at every level.
Writing and selection of Individual Brand Stories via live storytelling events.
First Draft of Master Brand Story.
PHASE 2 – CASCADING THE STORY
Coaching of the leadership to tell the Master Brand Story and Individual Brand Stories
Identifying existing communications channels to carry the story.
Creating new communications channels to carry the story.
PHASE 3 – EMBEDDING THE STORY
Second draft of Master Brand Story, taking feedback and amendments onboard.
Traditional and digital communication channel audit
Writing and dissemination of Tweetable Tales and Facebook Fables
Leadership equipped with examples of the story inspiring action and positive outcomes.
PHASE 4 – LIVING THE STORY
Annual live and virtual storytelling events to enrich the Master Brand Story
Story champions identified and rewarded
LLP BRAND STORY CASE STUDIES
We served as storyteller for BT Global Services, humanising the tangled spaghetti of technology talk that surrounds major account management and IT outsourcing deals.
When morale was at rock bottom at a NHS trust that had been slammed in a TV documentary, Lunar Lemon lifted morale and key performance stats.
Starbucks needed to turn their business plan into more than numbers. Lunar Lemon injected a hot shot of story to bring shared understanding and motivation that the leadership team could cascade to front-line staff.
Coutts had been badly damaged by the financial crisis and needed to re-connect staff and clients with its 300 year old story of overcoming obstacles. 'Coutts - The Next Chapter', a touring storytelling roadshow turned the page for all the people who attended. The happy ending... loyalty and long-term investments.
RBS Global Banking & Markets needed an essential story. Something that could be told by anyone working for the bank to anyone; lift, pub, boardroom, bedroom. Lunar Lemon crafted a hundred word essential story on the 'beauty of a billion dollar bond'.
Intercontinental Hotels had created a set of 'Winning Ways', values that the whole organisation could live by and grow with globally. Lunar Lemon brought meaning, feeling and momentum to each winning way by crafting a master story to humanise these values.