Tech evangelist Guy Kawasaki’s new podcast, “Remarkable People,” continues to bring interesting authorities to the fore. This week’s episode features professor, author, and consultant, David Aaker, “the godfather of branding.”
Aaker is a professor emeritus of the Haas School of Business of UC Berkley, the vice-chairman of a marketing and branding firm called Prophet, and an executive advisor to the Japanese marketing and ad agency, Dentsu. Aaker is also the creator of the Aaker Model, a marketing model that views brand equity as a combination of brand awareness, brand loyalty, and brand associations.
Listen in if you want to know why stories are essential to marketing.
“The whole game is content. The answer is stories,” Aaker says.
Aaker says you can’t just have stories, the stories must be compelling, and for stories to reach this lofty height, it takes a team of professional storytellers. He names two exemplars of the brand storytelling form, UC Health, and Lifebuoy.
UC Health makes its “Featured Stories” section an important part of its homepage. Does your firm?
Aaker says some if UC Health’s stories make him cry. Given that UC Health is dealing in life and death, their stories carry a lot of natural weight. But what about Lifebuoy? It’s merely a soap. How can Lifebuoy raise the roof on its storytelling and captivate imaginations?
Today, we know now how critical soap is to public health. But let’s view this pre-pandemic content to see how Lifebuoy—the world’s number one selling antibacterial soap—works to make a difference in the lives of its customers.
Soap saves lives too! And this powerful “Help A Child Reach 5” campaign from the Unilever personal care brand has been viewed by millions of people across the globe.
When You Figure It Out, You’re Sold
In his book, Creating Signature Stories: Strategic Messaging that Energizes, Persuades and Inspires, Aaker writes:
Why do stories persuade? There are several explanations: First, people deduce a story’s logic by themselves. We know from research and common sense that self-discovery is much more powerful than having people talk at you.
The real and human need for discovery is why spelling it all out in an ad is a mistake.
It’s the same mistake novelists make, but poets do not.
Ads must intrigue the reader or viewer, and a good way to do this is to involve the audience member in the story. There are various ways to achieve this, but one way is to make sure the characters and their struggles are universally understood, if not shared. For example, people all over the world can relate to the Lifebuoy stories, because people all over the world have children and worry about their kids’ health and well being.
It’s a good time to ask, which universally appealing stories and universally relateable themes are you working with, as you construct meaning for customers on the other end of your ads?
The particulars may change and update all the time, but the core of your brand does not. I’m suggesting that it pays to speak from your core, as a person and/or a company. The trick is to reveal your core truths, but let the audience members tell themselves what these truths mean.