Building brands through storytelling

Don’t follow the crowd – stand out

For me, the biggest disappointment when it comes to drinks brands, is that there is growing number of brands jumping on the back of music, be it a band, an event or an album. Drinks brands seem to think they can automatically bring music to the party – but if everyone does that then that is going to make for one long playlist, boring the consumer eventually. Have these brands really nothing else to say that they have to go with the lowest common denominator approach? Brands end up having to spend their way out of the noise made by other brands so unless you are a brand like Smirnoff, who can afford to back big activities such as the Smirnoff Nightclub Exchange Project, you need to figure out your unique story that you need to tell. And tell it well.

Brands need to own their specific area of content in order to stand out from the other party goers. Look at Jameson Whiskey – they dominate the niche market of short film and have done incredibly well from it. For some time now they have sponsored short film festivals and competitions and have continued to make this connection bigger and stronger. They own this niche market and the content they share, something that more brands should be doing instead of jumping on a generic bandwagon like music.

Making sure the area of content is niche but rich enough to ensure longevity and that it resonates with the brand and the brand’s target audience is crucial. When brands are sharing their stories, or content in the digital world, they need to target the right socialites and opinion leaders – those that will go on and spread the word and be heard amongst their peers, introducing them to new stories, new ideas and content that the brand has the right to own or be a part of.

Everyone loves a good story

Brands need to identify an important message that their consumer really believes in and stands for and build the brand story around that. Demonstrate this message through activities, products and people that consumers can relate to and give the consumer a reason to buy into the story, not just the product. We are lucky that we have so many methods of sharing our content and engaging with consumers so make the most of them.

It isn’t just whisky and wines that are utilising the storytelling method to build audiences. Rums and tequilas are jumping on board, with specialist brands coming from South America, an area which is seeing growth in the industry.

Consumers want to get something in return; brands that offer interesting and relevant content that people enjoy reading, discussing and sharing, without aggressively overselling will be the ones that consumers build an emotional connection with and go back to time and time again. One of the strongest things that a brand can do is provide their consumer with knowledge that empowers them, whether that is about the brand, how to drink the brand or how the brand interacts with other subject areas.

So when your brand arrives at the party, make sure it starts a conversation about a subject it has the right to talk about. But more than anything, make sure your target audience will want to engage in the conversation and spread the stories.