Story myths

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Great brands have great stories. But a great story doesn’t automatically create a great brand. For years we’ve told ourselves a story about what story is and how it works: develop a product; build a story around that product to give it value; sell that product at a greater degree of profit. We’ve allowed ourselves to believe that stories are the lynchpin of competition and that the best storytellers will win.

But that in itself is a myth.

Ultimately consumers don’t buy a story. They listen to a story. They are influenced by a story. But what they buy is a truth that directs their behaviour, captured in a story.

You don’t succeed just because you have a story. You succeed when you have a story that inspires people to buy your brand. The most beautiful, uplifting story in the world won’t cut it commercially if it doesn’t achieve competitive connection – if it doesn’t provide customers with reasons to connect with your brand at the expense of someone else’s.

Stories may influence behaviours. But only when powerful and distinctive motives drive the stories. In other words, only when, as Rajant Meshram says, it has “ground truth”. And only when the experience customers receive then lives up to the story they allowed themselves to buy into.

Otherwise, it’s a fairy tale.

More reading

Handpicked – the wider opportunity of curation
Not a problem: success pivots on what you solve, not just what you know
Affirmation: how to make a brand experience really count
Is your brand ready for the experience war

Other perspectives

2 thoughts on “Story myths

  1. Thanks, Mark, for the mention of our piece on PostAdvertising. You’re quite right that it’s not enough to have a story. It needs to be the right story (that will resonate with your specific audience) and you need to tell it well in the right places.

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