At their heart, all brands are stories – stories about how a product or service will make you feel, how it will align with your values, how popular you’ll be. They may be told through advertising and social media, but they’re stories nonetheless.
The best of them have become as much a part of common culture as any fairy tale. Coke, Disney, Nike, Apple, Google are great at what they do, but they’re masterful storytellers too.
And the reason great brands tell us stories and craft them so carefully is that although no brand story is likely to make you immediately purchase their product, a great brand story will come to mind when it really counts: when you’re shopping in-store and online. It’s this mood music you’ll remember when you get a better feeling about product A over product B.
But there’s always been a gap in the narrative. While TV, cinema, radio, and the web are dynamic media with movement and sound, outdoor and in-store had always been stuck with two-dimensional print. Now, with the emergence of digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising, brands no longer are constrained, and their new challenge is to make these new AV tools part of the story rather than a simple reminder of messages you’ve seen before.
And it’s fair to say that, creatively, there’s a way to go with this yet. True, the DOOH environment is a more challenging one, usually noisier and busier and with more distractions. But advertising copywriters and art directors are creative people, and so is the AV industry. It may be a challenge, but it is one we are beginning to rise to.
Technology like Christie’s range of DOOH-capable video walls and LCD panels are already there, and the ideas are coming too. Take British Airway’s #lookup campaign in London’s Piccadilly Circus – it’s as classically simple as any print-based poster, but does it ever tug at the heartstrings and make you want to jump on a plane to anywhere.
AV’s involvement in brand should never be confined to outdoor or indoor retail spaces either. Corporate spaces are becoming increasingly co-opted as brand ambassadors, and if the trend towards working from home continues and head offices become flagships, this may even become their principal role.
A new and engaging chapter
Where foyers were once used to impress and demonstrate corporate might, they’re now a new and engaging chapter in any brand’s story. Take JB&B Consulting Engineers, they don’t have the name recognition of a consumer brand, so at their iconic 55 Water Street foyer, it’s the massive and mesmerizing Christie LED video wall that provides the narrative.
We remember stories
Not only do we remember stories long after the hard facts are forgotten, they do something else special too. They make brands human and relatable. Stories build a bond between consumer and product like nothing else can – when you have a great story that fizzes and a way to deliver it that pops.