Back to Basics: Why Branded Storytelling Matters

Back to Basics: Why Branded Storytelling Matters

Philippa Dods
22 May 2018

Disney’s animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, was originally released in 1991. It’s safe to say it stood the test of time – winner of Golden Globe and Academy Awards upon release and still, today, one of the most well-known animations of all time.

Which film was even more popular and profitable? This year’s revamp of the classic.

In 2017, Beauty and the Beast was remade and rebranded for the modern audience. Disney’s Chief Marketing Officer for EMEA, Tricia Wilber, discussed how the company used multiple touchpoints to collect data and information to see where different audiences were and how trends in 2017 are constantly evolving.

The reason this film can be rebranded and still just as widely adopted and adored nearly two decades later is because of the universally relevant story. This is the same reason that your marketing strategy is either taking off or sinking. Ultimately, it all comes down to strong storytelling.

beauty and the beast why storytelling matters

Why Storytelling Matters

Legendary marketer and entrepreneur, Seth Godin, describes marketing as, “The art of telling a story that resonates with your audience and then spreads.”

In fact, there is both an art and science to telling a story that resonates.

The science behind it relates to how people digest information and how much easier it is to do so when it is in the form of a story. Stories are used throughout time for everything from explaining religion to remembering the order of the planets from the sun. Every Idols winner has a story, every politician has a story and every brand has a story. Crafting and spreading yours is vital to your marketing success.

There is an art to telling a story that is timeless and impactful. While reading on, think about what kind of story you are projecting to your audience with every decision you make.

Once Upon a Time

The fact that you’re still reading this article may well be because of the story it began with. Studies show that telling a story makes your message more likely to grab and keep attention as well as being remembered long after the message has been communicated. This is how to get your brand to resonate with your audience in 2017 – and to keep them as loyal customers long after that. In addition, it increases perceived value – consumers are more likely to pay more for a product or service with a story attached to it. What better marketing strategy do you need?

storytelling for b2b marketing meltwater

Consider these two case studies:

  • Apple

Apple made serious waves with the release of the “Get a Mac” ad series. With John Hodgman as the archaic, bumbling PC and Justin Long as the cool, composed Mac, Apple explained to consumers that their new technologies and devices are more advanced than any other product in the market. Through careful personification and ongoing episodes, the ad was hugely popular in the three years it aired – from 2006 until 2009. It is still widely acknowledged today as one of the most entertaining and effective advertisements ever produced. And since then, the tech giant has virtually owned the corner of cool, contemporary gadgets and devices.


  • Burberry

With the emergence of ecommerce in recent years, fashion brands have had to find a way to remarket themselves to an online world. Burberry CEO, Angela Ahrendts, says “As the world becomes at once more complex and more connected, stories have the power to educate, write and inspire. By following these evergreen principles and leveraging the tools of the digital age, I believe the future of storytelling can be even richer and more complex than its past.”

With her leadership, Burberry was a successful pioneer in the rise of the digital age and used social channels to reinvent the 157-year-old brand and attract a younger audience. It achieved this through storytelling. Burberry tells the story of a brand that once seen as devalued and outdated, and has grown into an elegant, timeless classic.

In addition, the brand recently released a trailer-styled short film on YouTube. Except, unlike Box Office hits today, it is not a film, but a TVC for Burberry and it is based on a true story – that of founder Thomas Burberry’s life. We’re sold.


Show Me the Money

“Stories are such a powerful driver of emotional value that their effect on any given object’s subjective value can actually be measured objectively.”

– Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker, founders of Significant Objects

At, the ROI of a brand’s story can be measured. The US-based website buys inexpensive, thrift-store, garage-sale styled items with little perceived value. They hire a writer to create a fictional story about the product at hand – giving it a history, a story and making it sentimental. The previously valueless items are then sold, with their write-ups, auction-style on eBay. The experiment shows that even at a micro-level, storytelling can increase product value by over 2 000%.

Happily Ever After

Although storytelling is relevant to any industry across the board, no two companies are the same, and neither are their audiences. We recommend using a data-driven approach to making decisions about what exactly to include in your marketing strategy. Meltwater, the global leader in online media intelligence, helps companies make better, more informed decisions based on data. Contact us to find out more.