By Emily Weinberg, Account Executive
Advertisements have been a central part of American culture for the last century. However, as the years have progressed it has been harder for brands to stand out in the oversaturated market advertising has become. Furthermore, as the nation’s consumers have become more aware their trust in advertisements has decreased, making purchasing decisions rooted far beyond the practicality or attraction of a product. Instead, the new generation of customers want to feel an emotional connection to the brand they are buying from. Due to this, brand storytelling was born: narrative based advertisements that focus on sharing a brand’s values and beliefs over simply showcasing product features.
A study performed by Kantar Consulting found that 61% of consumers would rather buy from a brand that stands for something than one that stands for nothing. This shift in consumer preference has pushed brands to begin incorporating core values into their promotions. This often takes the form of promoting a certain political or social change, such as sustainability or gender equality. The content and narrative nature of these ads allow viewers to develop an emotional connection with a brand. This deeper attachment not only increases sales but develops brand loyalty among consumers, creating repeat customers. Since these ads take on such big issues, they at times are seen as controversial and can be risky for a company to run. However, brands who have taken the step to produce these advertisements have seen wild success in both sales and increasing their consumer base.
One brand that saw major success in the development of a brand storytelling ad is a feminine hygiene product brand, Always. Having been top of the market since the 1980s, Always kept their traditional form of product promotion consistent for 30 years. However, in recent years the company began to see a major decrease in sales among women aged 18-24. Upon investigation, Always found that this age group was leaving for competing brands that were engaging with this age group on social media and in more personal ways.
Their marketing team decided to look into their company values to come up with a campaign that would emotionally invest their consumer base and developed the #LikeAGirl campaign. This ad series focused on their value of female confidence and showcased the insecurities most girls have post-puberty, emphasizing the way society stigmatizes ‘like a girl’ in a negative way. The company has always wanted to promote confidence for young women but failed to present this idea to its consumers previously. Telling their brand’s story definitely was a success, as they saw sales in this demographic increase by 50 percent. More importantly, they conducted a study that found 70 percent of women and 60 percent of men said the advertisement changed their perception of the phrase ‘like a girl.’
Always is a perfect example of a company embracing this new form of advertising. As consumers continue to grow and change, and more people are looking for companies that are making a statement and ignoring the ones that are not. Brand storytelling is the future for providing a platform for brands to showcase their powerful purposes.