Once Upon a Time… The Power of Stories

….there was a ‘XXXX’ who lived in a ‘XXXX’….We can all fill in the blanks from the simple stories we heard when we were younger. They stuck with us and took on almost myth-like proportions as we got older.

In recent years, the simplicity and powerful imagery of stories is not kid’s stuff. They have become a crucial element of retailing, merchandising, marketing and communicating to consumers who are besieged with information from all quarters, physical and virtual.

As Fast Company recently observed, “The power of stories has become a part of our cultural dialogue…Why stories? It seems we’re all catching on to their effectiveness in connecting with people. When information is communicated in story form, we seem to remember it better and are affected by it more deeply. Brands are telling these stories across a number of different mediums—from packaging to video to visual and verbal content.”

That’s the reasoning behind our Cover Topic this month, put together by VM’s Senior Editor, Deirdre Carroll, with contributions from Associate Editor, Catherine Wolinski, who have reinforced the critical role that storytelling plays as optical retailers, ECPs and dispensers work to communicate eyewear brand narratives to customers.

Dialogues about a brand’s story need to be engaging and offer an opportunity to discuss how different customers might relate to different ones. Is a brand loaded with history, is it sleek and modern, strong and performance oriented, design and architectural?

This is not just a hypothetical and a ‘nice to have’ but an essential tool to use in explaining eyewear options and choices today.

Stories are also important elements of a company’s message or a corporation’s message, too. The Berg Hind agency’s Knowledge Bank has queried large corporations about their image plans for several years and they relate, “From social media to email, to advertising, the copious ways that brands are trying to spread their messages has left a sour taste in many people’s mouths, creating a sense of information overload, anger and frustration; resulting in people “switching off.”

The folks at Knowledge Bank point out, businesses need to invest more time, imagination and resources in creating a corporate narrative. And, they emphasize that companies are coming up with ways to portray information and images of their business that allow consumers to find, organize, use and talk about their products and services.

Have you developed your own business ‘story’? How do you share brand ‘stories’ in your practice or retail? Let us know. ■