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When stories spell their magic, brands become bigger, bolder, better.

It is said that humanity has evolved around stories. People crave and seek out great stories almost as much as food and water. Some even need not be written down to be handed down to generations, they are the stuff legends are made of.

Not surprisingly, each brand which when sets out for its maiden voyage, its creators and promoters keep it really close to life; and as human as possible to make it tangible. Because, as human beings, people like to buy from other people; not nameless, faceless companies. That’s why brands that use stories in their marketing are more likely to form relationships with their audience. And those relationships result in greater engagement, loyalty, and sales.

A Sense Of Belonging – More than simply being acquainted with the people, belongingness is centred on gaining acceptance, attention, and support from members of the group as well as providing the same attention to the members. Giving a real face to the brand can be utterly, butterly, wonderful. No prizes for guessing that. The image of the cheerful blue-haired little moppet in a red polka-dotted dress, the iconic Amul girl is entrenched in the minds of all Indians as also its huge diasporas around the world. A campaign that was based on simplicity, easy to connect with as the little girl next door, easy to draw for kids, and above all appealed to all classes. The witty one-liners have made it an event to watch out for, as one would want from a campaign. It has had its fair share of controversies as well. Controversies, which gave it greater media attention, as when Amul took on Indian Airlines’ work ethics, speculations were aroused given the fact that Amul butter had a place in the flight’s meal menu. Modern India’s most loved moppet, the Amul girl has been with us throughout, emoting with the nation, highlighting the nation’s mood; it shared our joy and our sorrows too. That's the kind of impact a brand wants in a campaign and Amul has successfully kept us engaged for 50-plus years now.

Source - google.com

A sojourn of sorts, Amul as a brand and its campaign, made its way forward on the road ahead by getting to know its audience better, frequent interactions, constant improvements, making a place in many a heart, and finally living up to the expectations it had promised over the years.

A Sense Of Desire - At its core, brand storytelling establishes emotional connections with people based on the values you share with them and their needs, desires, and aspirations. Innovative brand stories convey empathy and that’s how they are able to create everlasting experiences. In the 90s when India was opening up its market and the multinationals were looking to get a foothold, Pepsi was amongst the front runners. The Cola wars were about to hit India, and Pepsi had the first laugh with its ‘Are you ready for the magic’ campaign, quickly followed by ‘Yahi hai right choice baby, a-ha’ campaign. But the younger India was craving for more. And here the brand goes, ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’. The slogan was an instant hit amongst the masses, and the campaign captured the imagination of the youth, so much so that in June 1999, when Capt. Batra was assigned the task of capturing Point 5140, he chose his success signal to be ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ (the heart wants more). A household chant then and to some extent till date, after Vikram Batra immortalised the slogan, it found a place in Indian pop culture where it rose out of its beverage roots and started representing courage and strength. That’s engagement. When an entire nation falls for your idea and echoes – yeh dil maange more, what more can a brand desire?

Source - google.com

A Sense Of Being Basic - While talking of brand engagement, inspirations are also drawn from the KISS Principle, which states that designs or systems should be as simple as possible. For the uninitiated, madly in love, KISS means Keep It Simple, Stupid. To illustrate it further, the brand Coca-Cola, always had the image of a multi-national only meant for the upper echelons of the Indian society. But it was looking for the key to unlock the vast potential of tier 2 and tier 3 cities, and also the rural market of India. Do we even remember the initial campaigns of Coca-Cola? Hardly. The brand was struggling while its rival PepsiCo. was having a dream run in India. Then came the ‘Thanda Matlab Coca Cola’ campaign in 2003, touching the nerve of the nation and the rest is history. Deeply rooted in the Indian soil, the simple almost slang tagline, redefined the meaning of an entire beverage industry. Perhaps it was this simple KISS which was required to start the nation’s love affair with Coca-Cola.

Source - google.com

In the present times, brands are faced with a much more crowded marketplace, where merely 5% of the branded content attracts 90% of total engagement, the need for telling gripping stories is all the more imminent. Skilful brand storytelling requires using social media insights to stay up to date on customers’ needs and expectations. Brands are creating content at a record pace and the focus has shifted to doing things faster, and more efficiently, but in the long run only those hit the bull’s eye, who dare to do things differently, without losing the human touch. Sometimes, even slowing down also helps in order to improvise the product or the service, because the better the product the better is the narrative. No matter how tough the competition or changed rules of the game, the basics remain the same. People have a sense of ownership for brands and campaigns like Amul, Pepsi, and Coke, because they belong in the here and now, with a very interesting narrative all around them. Ultimately, these are the brands that stand out, becoming a much revered legacy.

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