ELEMENTS OF POWERFUL NARRATIVE

Brand value is linked with its story. What’s your origin story that makes you a superhero among other artists?

Think of a brand narrative as your strategic statement that you pull from to create conversation and community with your audience. Find your uniqueness, and create a narrative. Touch on the your history and evolution. Discuss future goals, giving back, essential products and services and beliefs.

There is no shortage of scholarship and writing about the nature of stories and what makes them tick. If you want to become a better storyteller and dive into the nuts and bolts of narratives, there are loads of books that can help you do that.

If you’d rather just get the essentials, however, there are four primary ingredients that make good stories work.

I22A0703+copy.jpg

 

A Protagonist

Who your story is centered on, who embodies the themes that your story is meant to promote. In many cases, this will be you or your brand/movement. It could also be a representative of your brand if you are creating a world with characters. 

 

A Goal

Your brand pursues things. On the business side, this might just be buying customers, but built on top of this are layers that weave together your product, vision, values, and audience into a relationship. When your brand makes a concerted effort towards furthering a vision, promoting one of their values, or reaching a milestone regarding a product, you have a tangible goal.

An Antagonist

An antagonist is a person or thing that actively opposes (or is hostile toward) the protagonist and his goals. These are the villains, bullies and threats to prevent people from achieving a goal in movies. This is "the machine" that people rage against, "the man" that people stand up to and "the system" that people fight. 

Development

If you are point A and your goal is point B, development is how you move from one to the next. Essentially, it is documenting. There’s a reason that good stories don’t just tell a character’s backstory or the details of their victory lap at the end. People want to see protagonists struggle, change, eventually overcome or even fail in pursuit of their goal. While there are ways to turn stories of failure into something good, focus on overcoming for your brand in most cases.


There is no one correct way to craft a narrative for your business. One of the powerful ways marketers define a personality for their brand is by creatively combining the above narrative ingredients in surprising ways and orders. But to get started or spice up your social media storytelling efforts, here are three powerful frameworks that brands use to tell their stories

When you present goals there will be natural challenges in the process of pursuit. Although those challenges are likely to be interesting, there is nothing stronger than a well-defined antagonist to fight. Even if the antagonist isn't real or your direct opposition. 

Note: The stronger your antagonist is perceived to be, the greater the interest people will have in your narrative and journey. Note the word "perceived". It matters less the reality of your struggle. What is most important is your ability to to communicate that struggle in a way people can visualize and connect with. 

 




The power of narratives can increase exponentially when multiple elements combine. 

For example, whether people like it or not, going to jail is an easy narrative that gets utilized often in hiphop. It works for multiple reasons.

1) Struggle: The protagonist is presented with a an obstacle to the process they were already on and presented with a new challenge - getting out of jail.  

2) An Antagonist: The police or government become a DEFINED enemy for the artist to "overcome". The fact that this is specific and something that people can visualize in their own way makes it even stronger. 

3) Even greater, in those cases it happens to be what people see as a common enemy. If you want to see the power of creating a common enemy tune in to politicians. Many make entire careers out of presenting potential threats to the public and use people's fear of losing their life to gain support. 

As a bonus, the artists in jail with smart teams make sure there are new developments being leaked to the public so they can follow the process, even if it's only small bits of information like "trial is next week."