Why businesses should invest in strong brand narratives
Brand creation is a complex project. It involves forming a series of building blocks that together make a unique and timeless brand. One of the essential elements is storytelling. So we caught up with Leigh Banks, branding director at the specialist agency Spinach, to understand the process of creating a brand narrative.
Why is it important for a company to invest in creating a brand narrative?
A powerful brand narrative is a compelling story that explains the unique characteristics of a business, including the backstory, its personality, and reasons for being. A strong narrative will enable a business to connect with consumers at an emotional level. This is extremely important since we tend to make decisions based on emotions rather than rationality. Of all the emotions, love, respect, and desire are the most powerful. Strong brands will be aware of this and are able to create meaningful and authentic stories to stimulate these emotions.
Does it make a difference what size the company is?
Not at all. A good example is Richard Branson. He is the master of creating the challenger brand narrative, taking on the establishment, and challenging the status quo to great success. Branson started Virgin by selling records from the back of a van! So, the size of the company isn’t as important as the belief and purpose – without either there would not have been a compelling narrative for Branson to platform on.
Communication today involves navigating a complex web of channels, each with its own place and purpose. How should companies decide on which platforms to use when communicating their brand narrative to the target audiences?
The old rules remain the same: who are the target audiences, and how do they consume information. Then based on this knowledge, at Spinach, we assess which mix of channels offers the best returns. For instance, an engineer who spends his working day out of office in a transit van is much more likely to be moved by strategically-placed radio advertising than the latest multi-platform social campaign. Likewise, there are generational and cultural differences. Understanding the customer, applying common sense, and thinking outside of the herd, will go a long way to providing the strategy for an effective communications campaign.
Platforms are ever-changing which means agencies must be on top of technology and trends. What are the challenges for an agency like Spinach?
The amount of expertise needed to effectively operate across all channels is always a challenge, especially as the various platforms are constantly evolving. Whether you are an agency with all the expertise in-house or one who partners with complementary agencies, the main narrative still needs to be managed across multiple teams.
And the risk?
I cannot stress enough – the brand narrative must remain consistent on multiple channels. As ever, the risk is that the messaging platform becomes diluted as it is distributed out across agencies. This is where it is vital that the brand agency remains the guardians of the brand proposition and the narrative. The team will have a greater understanding of how to ultimately communicate this.
Spinach has worked on some interesting branding projects lately, involving much teamwork. What have been the highlights?
Two recent projects spring to mind – rebranding Cowshed for Soho House and creating Campari’s national advertising campaign. With both commissions, Spinach established extensive project teams from across multiple agencies, disciples, and channels to deliver in line with our initial positioning work. These are two very exciting brands, and it has been fantastic collaborating with respected peers, learning from them, and sharing our knowledge and expertise. It is about realising a shared vision for creating powerful and timeless branding and design.
Spinach Branding is a specialist branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.