Something On Brand Storytelling
While waiting for the bus going to Ojuelegba to get full, I purchased my fifth bottle of Coke that day. A distant warning, taking the form of my mother’s voice, ricocheted against the walls of my subconscious blending perfectly with the cacophony of environmental noise and the music I was listening to.
Amid the chaotic similitude, spurred on by the warning in my head, a light bulb was turned on but it was wrapped in questions. What exactly does the Coca-Cola brand sell? Is it sugar and coloured water mixed with a lot of gas? Why are brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, Starbucks etc. used as case studies?
After unwrapping the layers of questions, I came to realise that Coke is not a mere commodity and the Coca-Cola brand is not mere brand. What the Coca-Cola brand has done is to create a connection with its customers using stories. For as long as I can remember, all the Coke ads I’ve seen never focus on the product but on the experience of those consume it. Even when the ads focus on the quality of the product they come from an angle of an experience. With stories, the Coca-Cola brand has created a way to transmit meaning to those who consume their products.
Branding and marketing experts call this brand storytelling. In Branding, storytelling isn’t just about telling ‘a story’ (producing an advert where a narrative arc occurs), it’s about telling the story of the ‘brand’ across multiple channels and using various tools and methods. It goes beyond telling better stories, for brand storytelling to work the brand must be a better story.
So, what is the Coca-Cola brand story? Coca-Cola’s brand story is focused on “sharing and togetherness” which is prevalent in their ads, campaigns and public relations. “Life Tastes Good” “Taste the Feeling” “Share a Coke” and “Open Happiness”, to mention a few, are good examples of slogans that reflect the brand message.
Over the years, Coca-Cola has crafted its messages to connect with its audience. For example, in 1906 when the United States was veering away from alcoholic beverages Coca-Cola came up with the slogan “The Great National Temperance Beverage” to capitalise and position Coke as a suitable alternative. In Nigeria, the Share a Coke campaign was widely successful because it took advantage of the diversity to bring togetherness.
One thing to note here is that your brand story should relate to your environment. There’s no need to be idealistic. The only way to pass the test of sustainability for your brand story is to tailor it to the audience.
Every time you purchase a bottle of Coke, what you’ve purchased goes beyond the contents but the experience. An experience is sold to consumers through stories and every story has a central idea. So, what story is your brand selling?