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The Power of Storytelling When Building a Brand

What’s a business without a narrative? An organization with a collection of products or services trying to make a sale.

A brand on the other hand, doesn’t just sell you products. It sells you a story. It draws you in with a hook, with empathy, with a fascinating tale, and then it also tells you how their products could hold a place in your life.


A brand without a story can only go so far with performance marketing and sales-led advertising. It can get customers to convert and purchase rapidly when something is new and exciting. But storytelling on the other hand is what builds a loyal audience base over a long time.


In a world like today, where we are constantly in front of screens and bombarded with messages and product listings, how does one stand out? Through beautiful storytelling of course!


How many of us remember products that we purchased off hand because there was a discount running that day? Alternatively, how many remember a brand you bought from because you believed in what they were saying?


Classic stories like Surf’s ‘daag ache hai’ or Lay’s ‘no one can eat just one’ have stayed with us for years because they resonated with people all over the country. We might buy a different detergent today, but the name Surf still holds place in our minds. One might pick up a new packet of chips, but the flavours still remain inspired by the original ones we loved from Lays. Why does this happen?





It’s because these brands leveraged the power of good storytelling to pluck at the heartstrings of India.

For the purpose of this article, I decided to explore a category that is booming these days - personal care. And chose to dive into brands that are using a popular storyline more and more commonly - that’s self care.


Let’s take a look at how 3 different personal care brands have approached the story of self care in their own unique ways to connect with their relevant target audience.


Kimirica

This brand launched in 2012, marketing themselves as a high-end wellness brand with 100% vegan and ethically made products. They started their sales by being present in luxury hotel chains around the globe and then slowly made their way into the e-commerce market. Their USP was that they held control of all formulation, innovation and production across their products. As the brand grew sizeably, they have now signed on Kiara Advani as a brand ambassador.

Let’s take a look at their positioning around the concept of self care:


Brand Story: Experience the luxurious art of self care.


The brand focuses on self care as an indulgent, experiential moment of joy. With their range of products focused on textures and fragrances, they invite the customer to slow down and enjoy a little luxury as a way to shower oneself with love. They focus on their range of thoughtfully created products that are designed to make you FEEL opulence. Notice in their brand video: the slow flowing of the drapes, the incandescent light, the muted yet sophisticated colour palette. And they end with the line, The Art of Self Care - Experience Kimirica, clearly summarising the story they are trying to sell.



82°E

Deepika Padukone made quite a splash when she launched her line of personal care products under the brand 82e. The product launch strategy has been staggered, but the brand message has been standard. With limited yet elegant products (priced in the luxury segment), this is a brand that’s designed to make self care routines joyful, simple and effective. On their website, in a note from the founder, Deepika Padukone writes, “I hope to inspire us all to connect with our truest, most authentic selves through consistent and humble self-care practices.”

Now, let’s take a look at their tale:


Brand Story: Feels like home.


This brand focuses on rituals that belong to oneself and no one else. Simple things you do, to take care of you. The story it tells feels empowering and personal, but also soft and real. Notice in the video, the soothing light, the pastel colours, clothes that depict comfort, and close-ups of face, hands, feet and skin - something so individual to us. Somewhere in the women shown in the video, you might find yourself in one of them. From the little things they’re doing, or talking about. The small moments they take for themselves at the start of the day, or at the end of one. The moments of self care they indulge in when in their space space, at home. Just as they rightly say at the end - rituals that Feel Like Home.



MCaffeine

This was a brand that started small, but rapidly grew in the market, currently owning a significant share of the personal care shelves. With Alia Bhatt as an investor and having an almost-cult following of their products, Mcaffeine took India by storm with their innovative (and aromatic) range of coffee-based products. Right from the beginning, they’ve focussed on being disruptive - with their offerings, their marketing, and of course, their brand story too.

Let’s take a look:


Brand Story: Take your body on a coffee (read: self-care) date.


What a fun way to experience coffee! For those who love the aroma of coffee (like me), this product feels like it would make for a delightfully enjoyable bathing experience. Plus, the exfoliating nature of the scrub given the texture of ground coffee is bound to leave your skin feeling fresh and clean. So they’re not wrong in saying that every shower will feel like you’re preparing for a date when you use the delicious smelling products of Mcaffeine. The video is light-hearted and fun, full of rhymes and puns. And it is feel-good and uplifting, just like coffee should be! The product ad ends with an enticing and promising line - Every shower you take, will feel like a coffee date. Way to hit the mark!



So, these are 3 brands who chose the story route of self care but managed to put their own spin on it. Just goes to show that storytelling doesn’t need to be standard and straightforward every-time; and it definitely doesn’t get stale if you tell it right. Knowing your brand proposition, positioning and promise is key to finding the right story angle for you. And then of course comes your content tone. Knowing whether you want to sound serious or sophisticated, friendly or fun, humorous and witty, that is what helps you bring your story to life in the most fulfilling way!

 

If you’re a brand-owner or thinking of launching a brand of your own, and want help with building a brand story and your content frameworks, I can help. The first step to brand building is knowing who to talk to and what to say. So, to begin with the basics, you can reach out to me here, and let’s chat!

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