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Power of Storytelling in Branding.

What’s the (brand) story?

Everybody loves a good story, and at a time where consumers are seeking a more meaningful connection with brands, storytelling has become a fundamental strategy in retail branding.

A story well told paves the way for your customers to relate to your brand on a deeper, more personal level, which helps to build trust and foster long term loyalty. If your story is compelling enough, it doesn’t matter whether the brand is well known—the story will carry the message forward.


Patagonia’s “Don’t buy our products” story

The Patagonia story began in the early 1970’s, when climber and environmentalist Yvon Chouinard, inspired by his success at selling rugby shirts he picked up on holiday in Scotland, developed a wide selection of rugged technical clothing for his climbing buddies.

The company’s ethos was to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”. Far more than a mission statement, this was a deeply ingrained culture that Yvon and the company live every day.

One of their most famous marketing campaigns actively discouraged customers from buying their clothes, with an audacious full-page ad in the New York Times titled “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” Instead, they urged their customers to reuse and repair their Patagonia items, vividly demonstrating their commitment to sustainability.

The Worn Wear program is another chapter in the Patagonia story, allowing customers to trade in and buy used Patagonia gear, or take it to a hub to be repaired.

By living their values and integrating them into the customer experience, Patagonia has become one of the most well-loved outdoor retailers today. And the story has the happiest, most inspiring of endings, with Yves Chouinard, now a reluctant billionaire, donating his 3 billion US dollar company to a climate change organisation in 2022.

Great Northern Brewing Co

Great Northern Beer’s Success Story

When Great Northern Beer launched its first mass market campaign with the slogan “The Beer for Up Here”, its visuals of the product in natural Queensland landscapes failed to land in any meaningful way. But when they switched to a more emotional storytelling platform, Great Northern Beer was on its way to becoming one of Australia’s most successful modern beer brands.

Great Northern cleverly weaves a sense of community into their narrative, telling relatable stories of Australian adventures—a group of mates embarking on a fishing expedition, a couple on a camping trip, friends enjoying a fireside chat. This sense of togetherness and belonging amplifies the brand's appeal, making consumers feel like they are part of a larger adventure-seeking family.

The storytelling approach propelled the beer to cult status with their campaign “See you at the Pub”, a marketing master stroke which played into the emotions of people getting back to their local pub for a long awaited catch-up with friends and family after the Covid lockdowns.

T2 and Brand & Co

The T2 Tea tale – Every cup contains a story

From small beginnings in Fitzroy, Melbourne, T2 has grown to become a leading tea retailer, with the largest range of teas and tea wares in Australia.

T2’s focus is to own the tea category in terms of the experience of tea, rather than the tea itself, and by inviting people in to open their palates and venture into a melting pot of exotic aromas and taste sensations, they have created a community of tea lovers all over the world.

As Amy Smith, former Global Brand Director at T2 says; “It’s not about a transaction. It's about looking at customers who could join you in some sort of a movement and benefit from it. Great brands - I believe - are built from the inside out, and they're built with great storytelling, but the storytelling has to be authentic, and it has to be something that you are absolutely able to stand by and take people along with you.”

Stories put your customer’s experience centre stage, enabling them to relate and connect with your offering. Every brand has a great story to tell. Uncovering what it is that really sets you apart is key to crafting a compelling story that will see your brand become a bestseller.


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