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Tell a story, or else DIE!

The headline intrigued you, right?

I know the answer, so save it for someone else.

What are you doing for your brand?

Yes, you would immediately start talking about the heavy investments you have made in tech updation, CRM integration, the new team from this top management institute, the new whiz CFO and CMO from the Ivy League and your entire repertoire of candies.

If I look at you and smile amusingly, your composure would show a chink, you might fumble a bit but then gain your ground by waxing eloquence about engaging this hot-shot advertising agency with numerous Cannes.

What would I say?

But what are you doing for your brand?

I know this question is way beyond your sphere.

And not only you but ninety-nine percent of top managers.

Strangely, amidst all numbers, jargon, online sessions, numerous Zoom calls, training workshops, and offsite, they have never been told or taught the importance of a story. And that is what most of the brands are lacking today.

We hail from a land of storytellers.

From Mahabharat to Ramayan, Vishnu Puran to Santoshi Mata Katha, we have been thriving amidst stories for thousands of years. Yet you are reading this as if I have lost my marbles. How do you know Maharana Pratap? Who told you that he was a great warrior? Who told you about Jaichand being a traitor? Of course, stories.

Dude, before you get in the mind fuck zone of social media posts, online films, and outdoor and customer loyalty programs, you need to find a story for your brand; The Brand Story.

Yeah, now I see that cocky smile.

Surely you must have heard of this concept somewhere and scoffed at the whole premise.

Ok, tell me something.

Who founded IBM?

Or Boeing?

Or, for that matter Intel?

No one knows.

But ask anyone, and he would tell you who founded Facebook, Microsoft, Ford, Tesla, Apple, Infosys even Bombay Dying. That is the power of Brand Story.

Would you ever buy the exorbitantly priced iPhone or for that matter an iMac sans the story and legacy they almost parade everywhere? Compaq faded but Apple stayed. Why? Apple had their brand story sorted.

What was the first thing Modi did before his prime ministerial journey?

He got his story, of the ‘Gujarat Model’ right.

How does he maintain the same popularity despite COVID, unemployment, and inflation? He has his brand story in place and keeps adding new chapters; nationalism, development, inclusiveness, world power, and the list is exhaustive. Yeah, I know the opposition claims him to be illiterate, yet all the Harvard-Cambridge opposition put together still can’t find a way to defeat him.

And there you sit, debating the font size or the colour of a dealer invite.

Please don't give me the media heft, Godi Media or money bullshit.

What was the ad spend of Amul? Pittance if you compare it with any MNC brand.

Yet you remember Amul outdoors. Why?

They have a Brand Story—Aam Aadmi Ka Brand, bringing smiles to the faces of Aam Aadmi irrespective of the circumstances.

Let’s talk about something more recent.

What is Ashneer Grover’s claim to fame?

Contrary to popular belief, his startup was not his idea.

But he knew how to create a story.

Ok, tell me something. What does your brand stand for?

I can bet my bottom dollar that you won't be able to articulate it in less than four words.

To develop a Brand Story, you need brand Insight.

It is an exhaustive process, never biased or lopsided. Once you decipher the Insight, then it takes a craftsman to develop the Brand Story, articulating it and turning it into a narrative, across mediums and media, across channels and verticals, the same story being unveiled. Of curse, it takes time and money.

Wake up, lil Susie.

The world has changed faster than you anticipated.

Get your brand story in place, or else…

- Amit Shankar

Founder, House Of Lions

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