“Travel the world in 80 brands” – storytelling for brands
In November 2010 we started the Global Storytelling Campaign. Building a global network of brands and opinion leaders to share relevant stories and therefore knowledge, that is what it is. We decided to start in Brazil, because there are a lot of things going on, now and in the next few years.
This was a good choice. With the help of some Brazilian friends, we found partners that introduced us to Lenny Niemeyer and Oskar Metsavaht, both based in Rio and the best possible entrance to anything you need in Brazil, contacts, insights, parties, fashion shows, the cool stuff. Rio is one of our favorite places in Brazil, doing business on the beach, so what else do we want?
Lenny Niemeyer is a Carioca stylist and owns a beach wear brand, Lenny. She is world famous in Rio, but also wants to create brand awareness abroad. So we started talking about creating talk value….In order for people to talk about you, you have to give them stories to share and talk about. People usually don’t talk about a product, but what is behind the product, that is more interesting.
So we decided to do a making-of for Lenny, showing how a collection comes to be. Making stories, pics and film and sharing those online on social media, asking people to give input and interact. We gave the brand a face, created an identity that people can relate to.
Meeting Oskar was something else. He creates talk value in Brazil by sharing his vision about sustainability and his desire to turn Brazil into the sustainable country it can be. However, outside of Brazil it is a different story. With Oskar we are now creating talk value and doing storytelling for him and his brand Osklen, mainly outside of Brazil, adapting the content to get people interested who don’t know Oskar (yet).
Apart from these two icons, we met other Brazilian brands and we learned a lot about how these brands have PPP (People Planet Profit) incorporated into their core business. No separate CSR department, sustainability is a core part of their business, there is simply no other option.
The challenge however is how to tell these stories without giving yourself a pat on the back….
We come across more and more PPP stories, not only in Brazil, also in Asia and Africa this is playing an important role. And as we all know, in Europe and the USA companies also have to integrate PPP into their core business to live up to the international agreements.
One of the advantages of being a third party (which is what we, CoolBrands, are) is that we can talk about the brands based on our own experience. We are not the brand telling consumers that they are the best. No, we share what we see and discuss with opinion leaders and connectors what they think, on a horizontal, peer-to-peer level. Which is one of the requirements of storytelling, that has to be horizontal.
And therefore, sharing stories about PPP can better be done through a third party, using the Cool storytelling network.
A very important underlying motivation for us to do storytelling on a global level is the chance we get to exchange knowledge, share experiences of brands, cross continents. In Europe they can learn a lot of how specific brands in Africa deal with people. In the US they can learn about how Brazilian brands produce in a sustainable way. How even small companies can make a big difference by leading by example. Since the history and background of all continents are different, that leads to different ways of dealing with issues such as people and planet.
Sometimes it is good to be behind in certain areas, because you can leap forward much faster, you can start from scratch and don’t have to change existing habits or systems. For example in Cambodia, there is no real infrastructure of fixed phone lines, and probably there never will be. Which means that the penetration of mobile phones will go much faster than it ever did in Europe, since there is no real choice between the two. Like this, there are many many more examples, also in the PPP area.
Okay, so we have stories, content, what’s next?
The storytelling method that we developed, starts with the story. This has to be written with a wow-factor and stickiness, to facilitate word-of-mouth and storytelling. Horizontal tone of voice, generating interaction and third party. Second, the way in which we distribute the stories. We are building a network of brands and partners, that are in direct contact with 25.000 opinion leaders worldwide. We share the stories with the opinion leaders whom in turn, share the stories in their networks, reaching another 2,5 million connectors and professionals worldwide, though the online platform. From here on, the stories will travel further, the better the story, the further it will travel.
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