cup-hot-hands-storytelling-branding

A brand with a compelling back story is a brand that has a chance to connect with the consumer.

Why do we choose one brand over another? I’m writing this while enjoying a bowl of New Covent Garden soup. This range of soups has personality – it has a person, in fact, behind it, and his story is widely documented.

The New Covent Garden Soup Co. was founded in 1987 by Andrew Palmer one cold afternoon. After returning from a morning’s sailing, Andrew sat down to lunch. Feeling cold he asked his mother for something warm to eat – rather than the salad he had just been served. With some quick thinking she used the same ingredients to whip up a bowl of fresh, warm, home made soup to give back to her son… and so an idea was born…

So you see, I’m not just sipping vegetable broth, I’m having lunch with Andrew and his lovely mum.

Andrew sold the company in 1997. It has now changed hands four times – the latest deal was worth £145million – and the soup is most probably now made in a factory nowhere near Covent Garden. But I don’t care. The soup began with a heart-warming story, and that’s satisfying enough for me.

So ok, soup is one thing but are we so willing to buy luxury products based on a mere provenance tale? I’m currently working on a social campaign for an auction house, targeting a specific group of HNWI with jewellery, watches, and wines. The products are incredible – stunning, rare, exquisite – but in isolation and with only adjectives to wrap them up, they feel cold, sterile.

The beauty of an auction is that all of the pieces on sale are brimming with stories – and these are no marketing fabrications (sorry, Andrew, I’m cynical – look, I still bought the soup!). These pieces all have a past, and are waiting for a new owner to pick them up, and continue their story.

Through this campaign, we are communicating to potential buyers that they are not just being offered a piece of luxury, but the chance to become part of that piece’s on-going trajectory through history. To become guardians of its history and of its future. That is compelling.

Previously, the auction house’s social content included an image and a link to the sale. We have overlaid that with storytelling – visually, through contextual imagery and animation of the owners and places of origin, and through dates and words that touch on key milestones in the piece’s history, plus the all-important tagline: ‘The next chapter is yours’.

The results are exceeding even our expectations.
• The average click through rate on carousel ads was 2.54%, almost 3 times higher than the estimated 0.92%
• The average cost per link for the carousel ads was £0.16 – less than a quarter of the estimate.
• The average cost per view of the videos we created was £0.01 – one fifteenth of the estimate.
• We also over-delivered in terms of impressions and reach: 1,200,033 total impressions compared to 508,908 initially estimated, and 798,216 people reached – twice more than the initial estimates.

Stories are supremely valuable – they always were and they always will be, while humans roam the earth, coming in from the cold, warming up with a bowl of soup and talking to each other. Telling stories.