‘The Art of Storytelling’ – Campaign article by our Planning Director Jo Hudson

Brand stories have been knocking about for decades. As marketers, we love the rhetoric because it makes brands seem important, culturally significant, as though they have a reason for being that transcends simply selling stuff.


But do all brands need a story? And are the stories we are writing for brands the right ones? As a graduate of English Literature the characteristics of real stories instantly spring to mind. Novelists and scriptwriters alike understand the importance of having a story framework, referred to as ‘the hero’s journey’. This tried and tested narrative structure dictates certain elements: a protagonist, challenges, temptation, allies, enemies, jeopardy, reward and transformation – a combination which has proved, time and again, to engage the human mind.


Whilst the best brand stories manage to crystalise enough of these fundamentals (certain origin stories, like Toms and Chipotle, and campaign stories like John Lewis at Christmas); many others utterly fail to. The result is a host of brand stories which are narrow and navel gazing, which have to use paid media to force an audience to listen. Working in PR though, the luxury of paying for attention does not exist, stories must carry themselves and prove their own worth…


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