What Story Should Your Brand Be Telling?

Great marketing & great copywriting is about telling great stories.  Stories that draw people in, make 'em feel something and...inspire them to act.  That, in a nutshell, is everything we're trying to achieve.

But you can't bust out the good ole' "once upon a time" refrain.  And you might be looking at your brand archetypes still clueless as to which story you should be telling.

What's the most compelling narrative for your brand?  And how can archetypes help you figure it out?

Thanks to an amazing book by the brothers Heath called Made to Stick (P.S. I've read 3 of their books so far & highly recommend everything they write) there are 3 basic plots that we know inspire us.

Let's break down what those plots are & which archetypes naturally fit with each plot.

1. The Challenge Plot

Chip & Dan Heath tell us this plot is all about a hero who overcomes a formidable challenge & succeeds.  It doesn't have to be climbing Mount Everest, (although that would definitely count) the most important thing is that the challenge or obstacle seems daunting to our hero.

It's every underdog story.
It's every rags-to-riches story.
It's every triumph of sheer willpower story.

It's Star Wars AND it's Rosa Parks.

How Challenge Plots Inspire Us

These stories appeal to our perseverance & courage.  They make us want to work harder, keep trying, take on a new challenge & overcome the obstacle in our way.

Best for These Archetypes

The Hero (bet you guessed that one), The Rebel, The Explorer, The Executive

2.  The Connection Plot

These stories are all about relationships that bridge a gap.  That gap is usually social or cultural in nature (racial, class, religious, demographic, ethnic, gender, etc.).  The connection doesn't have to be profound & life/death (although those stories count to) it could be a simple shift in perspective that brings people just a bit closer together.

It's the Good Samaritan.
It's every Romeo & Juliet, Nicholas Sparks & every other romance.
It's every story where the human spirit triumphs.

How Connection Plots Inspire Us

Not surprisingly social stories inspire us in social ways.  They make us want to be altruistic, to help others, to be more tolerant & to work together.

Best for These Archetypes

The Lover (saw that coming, didn't you?), The Innocent, The Caregiver, The Good Neighbor

3.  The Creativity Plot

These stories are about breakthroughs, innovation, lightbulb moments that solve a long-standing problem often by looking at it with a new perspective.

It's Newton & the apple.
It's every MacGyver plot.
It's the glorified story of every modern tech breakthrough that fails to mention the 8673 failed attempts that came first. :|

How Creativity Plots Inspire Us

These stories make us want to do something differently, try something new, be creative, get our hands dirty, dream & experiment with different approaches.

Best for These Archetypes

Sage, Visionary (obviously), Artist, Entertainer, Explorer


Remember you Brand Voice is more than one archetype & you also need to keep in mind the archetype of your ideal clients & HOW you want to inspire them.

Also, don't forget that a single paragraph can tell a story.  A single sentence can tell a story.

The only question is: which story will YOU tell?