Renowned companies such as Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, Airbnb, and Southwest all have great brand stories, and they’ve used those stories to build companies that dominate their respective industries. But while we hear and read why brand storytelling is critical in a digital world driven by content marketing, the fact is storytelling has always been important and the single most important factor contributing to a company’s brand equity.
Brand equity is the perception consumers have of your services or products, based on what they think of your company. Having a high brand equity equates to very real and measurable business benefits, including customer loyalty and increased profit margins. A positive brand equity means consumers are willing to pay a premium price for your product or service, because they perceive it offers more value than your competitors. Consumers also stay loyal to companies they know and trust. That leads to repeat business that is much more profitable, as it doesn’t have the same acquisition costs as new business.
Brand equity began emerging as a key management concept in the 80’s. Today, brand equity has earned its place at the executive table and is one of the most coveted assets of successful companies. Here’s a good piece by David Aaker of Prophet describing the value of brand equity.
Apple is arguably the most successful brand on the planet, evidenced by its #1 brand value of $154.1 billion, according to Forbe’s 2016 annual study of the world’s most valuable brands. Much of Apple’s success, even today, is based on the vision of its founder Steve Jobs who was, perhaps, the greatest company storyteller who ever lived. Jobs knew how to connect to his audience, because he took the time to study them, understand them, and see things from their viewpoint.
“Marketing is about values,” Jobs said early in his tenure at Apple. “It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.”
Now, many companies start out with the hope that their idea, products or services will be different, “the one that stands out among many,” as Steve Tobak points out in a recent Inc. article, where he lists the “9 Traits of Companies That Beat the Odds.” Tobak points out that none of the nine traits are popular fads – they are all fundamental, and therefore sustainable.
Even when a company has a superior product or service, it won’t be necessarily be successful until it connects and builds affinity with its customers. Because at the end of the day, a brand’s value or equity is really determined by how it’s perceived by its customers.
Walter Landor, a renowned brand designer and pioneer of branding and consumer research techniques, memorably stated that “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” So, how do you “create your brand” in the minds of your customers and prospects? It really comes down to crafting a great brand story that describes who you are and why you exist in a way that grabs people’s attention and connects with them because you have something they care about. "7 Incredible Examples Of Brand Storytelling On Social Media" demonstrates how companies are leveraging social media to tell stories, connect with audiences, create differentiation and produce measurable ROI.marketing. A compelling brand story truly is not just marketing, it’s the essence of today's most successful companies.