September 6, 2018

A Good Brand Story Shouldn’t Have Boundaries


A lot has been written about brand storytelling as a marketing imperative. Most of it’s been about the importance of the story in helping brands define their beliefs and connect with people—how if a business wants to attract people, if it wants to create or change their perception, or persuade them to act in a particular way, it needs a story.

But storytelling actually requires two things: the story and the telling. And much less has been written about the best way for brands to tell their story.

Believe me, we’re not talking about the merits of television versus social versus digital. No, we’re talking about the art of telling the brand story well at every chance a brand gets—from websites to sales brochures, an annual report to point-of-sale materials, even label copy or the way a customer service representative answers the phone. Everything is an opportunity for someone to connect with the brand.

That’s because we believe that every time a business interacts with a customer, an employee, a stakeholder or stockholder, matters. Every interaction gives an impression and is an opportunity for a business to advance its story and engage people to create a deeper relationship.

Interestingly, however, most brands don’t tell their story this way. Most brands spend an incredible amount of time, money, and effort developing their story only to tell it well in some channels while ignoring others, or treating others like a red-headed stepchild that somehow doesn’t deserve the care and talent to make it part of the family.

What an incredible waste.

We believe stories should be used like a thread to stitch together all of a brand’s communications so that everything, in its own way, uses the same narrative and furthers the story. Nothing gets left behind. Everything gets a role to play in the bigger picture.

We call it “story threading,” and it’s a missed opportunity if brands don’t do it.

What it takes to successfully story thread, however, is more than simply the desire to do it. It takes the passion and talent to do it. Because story threading is more than writing for a channel, more than using the industry jargon and knowing how to correctly structure a sentence. Story threading is knowing how to tell a brand’s story in all those channels—using each channel to its maximum benefit in telling the story.

To demonstrate, let me use the default example for seemingly everything:  Apple. We know, we know, they’ve become a cliché for how to do something right. But, to be honest, that’s because they do so many things right.

Each of the many things Apple uses to communicate tells its story. Its packaging, website, point-of-sale experience, even the usage instructions for each product or the receipt it emails to a customer. Nothing is deemed unimportant and given the short shrift. It’s all incredibly consistent and works hard for the brand story. And there’s no argument that the brand is better for it.

Apple has brought “story threading” to an art form. If other brands paid attention they’d see that Apple takes all the things it needs to communicate with anyway, and simply insists that each of them are held together by a single thread: the Apple story. It doesn’t matter how seemingly “important” something is, everything is treated like it’s critical—because it is. Each piece adds to the Apple experience.

To bring this even closer to home for Ricciardi Group just look at TradingScreen (TS), a company that provides the technology and information that drives today’s global electronic, multi-asset-class trading solutions. TS understood the immense value of a cohesive, single-minded story told consistently at every turn, and worked with us to weave their story throughout the brand—from their website, to collateral, to sales presentations and talking points from the CEO.

Today, TS is the story of Ultimate Trading Performance in everything it does.

In our opinion there’s a “why wouldn’t you?” aspect to story threading. If you’re using these communication channels anyway, why wouldn’t you want them to be the best they can be and connected to the brand story? Sure it’s a bit more effort, but the value of that effort is massively worth it and expands a business’s influence exponentially.

Businesses need to look at their brand as a whole—a whole made up of a collection of pieces. And if each piece doesn’t fit into the whole, then it’s broken. Story threading ensures that every piece of the whole is held together and works together. And that’s a thread that’s worth its weight in gold.

Authored by Kevin Roddy


About Kevin Roddy

Kevin Roddy is an industry-leading copywriter, creative director and CCO. He has worked with many of the world’s great brands at some of the world’s most respected creative agencies including BBH/New York, Fallon/New York, and Riney/San Francisco. Throughout his career he has been recognized and awarded for creative excellence, innovation, and leadership around the world.

Kevin is the Creative Director and West Coast team leader for the Ricciardi Group collaborating on a broad range of projects and clients.

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