Whenever you read about genius branding or brand storytelling, you always hear about titans like Apple and Nike. While these brands are certainly talented, it can be a little disheartening to compare yourself to them—especially if what your brand does or sells isn’t exactly glamorous. How do you tell a compelling brand story if you’re not an innovative tech company or producer of elite athletic gear? Don’t get discouraged.
No matter your product or service, no matter your industry, you can do compelling brand storytelling, and we have the proof.
The Best Examples of Brand Storytelling for Boring Products
Although it may seem like a daunting task, there are plenty of ways to market less-than-exciting products with great success. Here, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite examples of creative brand storytelling that elevate both the products and the brands.
Whether you’re a tiny startup or an established brand, we promise you can learn a little something from each of them.
1) Warby Parker
Their secret: Transparency
For a product traditionally associated with nerds, eyeglass brand Warby Parker burst out of the gate with a fun and unique brand identity that has catapulted them to success.
Aside from their lower price point, their brand storytelling is what has elevated them from random startup to enviable content creators. From their annual report to their brand videos, their brand storytelling is all about showing you not just the product but their people, culture, production, and values. Take their How Our Glasses Are Made video:
In this simple video, they tell the story of their manufacturing, spotlighting the people and processes that make their product unique. Who knew that their frames are hand-assembled, made from the plant-based material cellulose acetate, or sourced from a family-run Italian factory? This simple story helps us “see” more than the product, bringing us into the brand story in the best way.
2) Old Spice
Their secret: Changing the conversation
Antiperspirant might be the least glamorous product on the planet. But that has never deterred Old Spice from crafting creative and entertaining campaigns that position the product as a playful addition to your life instead of a shameful product.
In addition to their much-loved commercials, they’ve taken a creative approach to connecting with people (mostly males) through original and unique content. (Fun fact: Did you know you can download their theme song for your ringtone?)
We’re especially impressed by their School of Swagger, an online resource offering teen boys info and entertainment to help navigate the awkward stages of puberty—the first time one really needs antiperspirant. Old Spice even goes a step further to help moms survive their sons’ adolescence with the clever e-book, The Struggle Is Real: A Wild Guide to Growing-Up for Moms & Sons.
This creative approach to previously embarrassing conversations makes the brand a helpful friend with a great sense of humor.
3) Burt’s Bees
Product: Personal care products
Their secret: Giving a face to the brand
Burt’s Bees makes all-natural personal care products, but their mission is much larger. Inspired by their founder, they “look to Burt as a model of how to live simply, naturally, and responsibly.” As such, a large component of their brand storytelling focuses on how Burt’s philosophies and lifestyle influence the products they make. Through a series of entertaining videos, they help us get to know the man behind the brand.
For example, this mini-documentary introduces who Burt is and what he’s about.
Their “Burtism” series features entertaining tidbits of wisdom.
And they even give you a 360-degree look inside Burt’s cabin.
At a time when transparency means everything, peeling back the curtain helps Burt’s Bees create a genuine connection with the people who use their products.
Their secret: Creative ideas to use their product
As a snack, yogurt is a convenient on-the-go treat, but you wouldn’t necessarily think of it as the gateway to culinary delights, which is why Chobani’s surprising approach to brand storytelling is so brilliant.
Through a food porn-worthy video series and recipe resource, they spotlight how their product can play a role in all sorts of decadent meals, from donuts to crispy chicken tacos.
It’s an unusual twist that lets people reimagine the product in new and creative ways, helping to expand its presence in their lives.
Product: Period-proof panties
Their secret: Bold and edgy storytelling
Unfortunately, any product related to menstruation is rife with stigma, making brand storytelling a challenge. (A 2010 Kotex commercial was actually banned for using the word “vagina.”)
For Thinx, their mission is to end the taboo around menstruation once and for all. Thus, their content is not only unashamed, it’s an aggressive exploration of all things related to menstruation and sexuality.
Through their blog, cleverly dubbed the Periodical, Thinx features everything from personal essays to gynecologist tips, empowering women to understand and own their bodies the way they should.
It’s a powerful way to promote their mission in every piece of content.
6) Away Travel
Their secret: Aspiration and inspiration
Away Travel makes high-quality luggage, but their mission is to help people get more out of every trip. As such, their brand publication HERE allows them to indulge in brand storytelling that explores travel from just about every angle.
This is not a collection of packing tips. It’s content to inspire and enhance a traveler’s life. You’ll find tips for the best selfies, an illustrated guide to Paris, a chef’s guide to the best restaurants in Spain—even a guide to traveling in space.
It’s the perfect way to give people both the inspiration and the tools (aka luggage) to explore the world.
Their secret: Creative education
Lucidworks builds AI-powered search and discovery applications that help brands dig into their data. Why? So that brands can do things like identify unique customer behavior patterns or detect fraud—hugely beneficial things, even if they don’t sound particularly sexy.
Naturally, translating that into interesting brand storytelling can be a challenge. But Lucidworks takes a smart approach, creating content that educates people in new and exciting ways.
For example, The Data That Lies Beneath is a unique interactive that helps people learn about dark data—presented in a far more interesting package than a static pamphlet.
By experimenting with different mediums, Lucidworks is able to tap into storytelling that captures attention and creates connection with their customers.
How to Do Better Brand Storytelling
No matter how simple or boring your product or service, there are always ways to enhance it through brand storytelling. For more inspiration and creative ideas:
- Find out what 5 ingredients you need to tell a compelling brand story.
- Learn how video can help you tell your brand story.
- Get our tips on how to tell better brand stories at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
If you’re not sure what your brand story is, we’d be happy to help you find it.