As strategists, we tend to calculate risks on a daily basis. In order to mitigate risk without losing thrust and creativity, we’ve found out that a simple rule can do a lot for both our jobs and the brands we represent. The rule is to never put your eggs in one basket. This might be one of the oldest tricks in the bag of a financial advisor, but what does it have to do with branding?
Working in marketing and PR isn’t a mathematically precise endeavor where 2+2 always makes 4. Despite all the measuring tools, tracking apps and data crunching software there’s always room for a surprise element to come up and while unexpected results are by all means rare, they do exist. When a surprise comes up as a good one champagne is poured, but if things go wrong…well, nobody really wants that.
Generally speaking, brands today rely on (mostly) two things: values and stories. As we’ve shown before, values act as cornerstones for a brand. Stories, on the other hand, are the reflections of the brand’s values. They can take up many different forms in relation to a number of variables – and as long as they stay in line with the core values, that’s OK. The curious thing about this, however, is the number of brands that tend to rely on one story at a time. While we can’t fully explain the reasons behind this kind of strategies, we can provide reasons to explain why having more than one story at a time is good for a brand.
- Diversity is a very real thing. Both individuals and groups can be defined not by one, but by a countless number of stories. For example, a person can’t be defined solely for the job position it holds. That very same person can be a loving mother, a Star Wars fan and an ultra-competitive gamer, all at the same time. The same principle works for brands, and it’s something people can actually relate to. It’s up to us and the brands we work with to define which stories are worth to be shared and why.
- The potential of authenticity. In order to keep a brand close to its audience, we need to make it authentic and real. To illustrate what ‘good’ authenticity means let’s take a look at the case of GoPro. They impulse their audiences to capture and share their worlds, transforming the thousands of user stories into GoPro’s stories.
- The power of surprise. Get inspired by your brand’s values and be a provider of good surprises. The brands that dedicate resources to providing this kind of experiences to its audiences (think Facebook’s ‘Friends Video’ tool) usually get good responses.
To summarize, a brand that surprises with diverse stories in an authentic way is nothing but a healthy brand – and will likely be perceived that way by its audiences.