Markus Gull

Which a story is not.

A story is not the narrative or the plot, even though this is almost always confused. A story is the theme, the values, the attitude, the view of the relevant things in life. Only if the brand and its audience have something in common here, then they have a common story, however and wherever it is told. And this is where it starts to get interesting, because: How do we find these shared values? Or do we just invent them? It will be fine ...
Developing a really good story is first and foremost not a question of smart ideas and certainly not of possible media channels, but first of all a lot of work that requires solid craftsmanship, experience and an understanding of how stories work, why they work and that they can only be developed from within the company.
Rule number 1 here comes from John Steinbeck: "If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen. And I here make a rule - a great and lasting story is about everyone or it will not last." Those who understand this also understand that an irresistible brand story can never have the brand as the hero, but its audience must be the heroes. The best story about your brand is not about your brand. It is about users, employees, potential customers, stakeholders, the people.
A recent - almost - good example is the first brand campaign that Uber recently launched in the UK. Drivers, passengers and their stories are the stars of the campaign "Get there with Uber". This story platform shows how people reach their destinations thanks to Uber - both geographically and figuratively. An Instagram campaign is running to promote selfies of drivers and passengers. Click here for background information.


Uber behind the scenes


This is a really good approach that can do a lot for Uber because it elevates the generic product benefit of "getting to your destination faster" into an emotional storyworld and makes the entire Uber audience the carrier of the message. A powerful story engine!
However, the implementation is still very much stuck in old-fashioned advertising thinking. There is a lot of potential here for contemporary campaigning, i.e. every chance for Uber to generate a loyal fan base and transform itself with the brand story into a real brand with purpose. The basic rule for this is: "No information without interaction." The Instagram campaign definitely has too small an ass for that. But maybe something surprising will come. The Uber people are smart enough and their agency Bartle Bogle Hagarty is legendarily good.


Picture reference: I Can't See You by Peter | License

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