If [wildly successful jewellery brand] doesn’t have a story, why should I?￼
Here’s something that occasionally happens when I start market research for a new brand storytelling project.
I think of the perfect brand to examine for the market report. They share an audience, are successful, and are sure to have a fantastic brand story.
Now, my market research presentation is often the surprise hit of the whole storytelling process. By examining how existing brands communicate with their audience, I get to show my customers real-world examples of great storytelling. It gives them a feel for their options, helps me confirm I’ve read their needs right, and shows what we can learn and where we can differentiate.
In short, market research is a brilliant tool and a vital part of the storytelling process.
So it’s always disappointing to head to the website of a fantastic, relevant jewellery brand and realise their storytelling is sub-par.
Perhaps there is no about page. Perhaps the homepage is bare of text. Perhaps they are highlighting an arbitrary or generic facet of their brand, or their voice is inconsistent…
So, do you need a brand story?
For me, this disappointment just means a return to the drawing board. But for you, it might beg the question – if these jewellery brands can be successful without storytelling, why do I need it?
Well, you might not.
- If your business model is to compete aggressively on price, then a purely cost-driven audience may not be moved by storytelling.
- If your jewellery is trend responsive and highly affordable, a more superficial approach to marketing – influencers, social media advertising, time-limited offers – might get you over the line.
- If you are a decades-old jewellery business with an established customer base you might tick along on loyalty and word of mouth, without ever defining your core story. (Although to be honest, you probably still should. You won’t find LVMH brands skimping on their storytelling…)
For all others, the time of being able to ‘make it’ without at least a semblance of a story has passed.
Success without storytelling
Considering almost all ‘great jewellery brands with poor storytelling’, it is clear to map how they got where they are.
They may have launched in a quieter market when storytelling was less necessary, and a now-loyal customer base keeps them going. Their ascent may have been backed by huge amounts of advertising and marketing, the ‘numbers game’ of exposure enough to keep the sales rolling.
More rarely, they created an entirely new trend, launching an unrivalled product at the perfect time.
And sometimes, the story has been created for them.
Dr Martens is a classic example of the latter, the punks and rockers of the late sixties turning this workwear brand into a counter-cultural icon. Of course, Dr Martens have run with this story, now aligning with creatives and rebels throughout their branding and marketing.
Don’t follow bad examples
Luck and timing makes the example of brands like these hard to follow. But as Dr Martens show, even brands that hit big without it should embrace storytelling.
Storytelling been a marketing buzzword for years now – it’s no longer a branding bonus, but something an emerging generation of consumer need and expects.
I’m always impressed when established brands come to me for brand storytelling, because it means they are not resting on their laurels. As the phrase (or, book title) goes – what got you here won’t get you there.
Whether you are building your brand and want to get the foundations right or are future-proofing a growing business, storytelling matters.
I’ve made storytelling at the heart of my business for a reason – head here to discover the impact storytelling has on your brand and sales.
And if you’re ready for a (no obligation) talk about how I can get your brand storytelling up to scratch, you can book straight into my diary here.