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There are some great virtual TED Talks and Ted Ed videos out there right now,– real though provoking stories for every mood during lockdown.  Including one about the world’s first author – banished 4300 years ago for her powerful prose.  Stories change us.  And good marketing tells stories.

I’ve always loved storytelling.  As a child of the 70s and early 80s I grew up enthralled by Jackanory.  And I devoured books (something we all probably did more of pre-internet). 

My life now as a marketing strategy consultant is about helping brands tell their stories.  Celebrating their differences and articulating what they do simply by building a clear value proposition.  I’ve done a little storytelling about this on camera here.

But does a story have to be true?  Or can it be ‘fake news’? 

Well, if you’re creating the world of Harry Potter or any other fictional novel, then I’d argue it doesn’t have to be true.  Although to be believable, authors often create their own detailed world of truths based on well researched and plausible facts – something the British Library celebrated last year.

But for brands, just like for the people in TED videos, your story needs to be true to who you really are, and who you serve.

A brand that tells a story or has a mission that doesn’t ring true with the reality of what their customers or employees experience quickly creates dissonance.  It’s the equivalent of a storyteller on stage who isn’t bringing themselves – it feels really awkward.

My advice for all brands is to focus on what you do well and don’t try to be what you’re not. 

And then tell that story.

Jill Pringle is a Brand and Marketing Strategy consultant working with service-led businesses. She’s the Author of The Brand Symphony book and speaks regularly about branding and marketing strategy. She’s a former marketing director in companies such as Gartner, Equifax, SCM World, Thomson Local and the Philharmonia Orchestra.  She studied music before she studied marketing and combines the two in her Brand Symphony Marketing services.

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