The foundations of storytelling inform everything from logo design and key visuals to brand story. Find out how the basic elements of dramatic form apply to your brand and why it’s such a powerful way to connect.
A dangerous beast threatens a community. Only one man can kill the beast and restore happiness in the land…
This story sounds familiar doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it is. As John Yorke points out in the first page of his book Into the Woods, this story outline is also the premise of Jaws, Jurassic Park, The Exorcist and countless other films, but it’s also the story of Beowulf, the Old English epic poem.
Or what about the one about the man who strikes a bargain with the devil, his soul in exchange for powers untold? Ringing any bells? The story commonly known as Faust comes from the Bronze Age folktale The Smith and The Devil, estimated to be around 6,000 years old according to a BBC article delving into the surprisingly long history of fairy tales.
How Storytelling Impacts your Brand Strategy
It’s no coincidence that the basic shape of storytelling is so enduring. Yorke believes there’s a reason we keep going back to the same themes and using the same structures and that it goes a lot deeper than convention. How strange that we continue to get such pleasure and delight from essentially telling the same stories again and again? Yorke insists that dramatic structure is not merely a social construct but an essential expression of our humanity, “as important to us all – almost – as breathing.”
From the ancient oral traditions to teach lessons and caution the young, to religious canon, and Classical mythologies all the way up to today; everything from YouTube ads to reality television, storytelling dominates our lives. So, it makes sense to try and understand how and why it works.
Using Drama to Improve Your Brand Story
You’ve heard of the three-act drama, set-up, conflict, and resolution; it’s the building block of any story. Yorke believes that this structure is essentially the playing out of a theme, an argument about the world that comes in three parts. Love, hate, jealousy, courage, coming-of-age, revenge – theme is drama.
In Nike’s ‘Play New’ campaign the main theme, in its purest form, is overcoming failure – something we’re all familiar with. But Nike steps in, reminding us that we can all triumph just by having a go.
When we read a story that relates to us, we identify with it and it makes us feel ultimately less alone. The more universal the theme, the more relatable it is to a larger audience. Alternatively, if you’re trying to appeal a niche audience, then it can help to refine your theme into something more specific.
If you need help identifying the themes in your brand story, let us help you create some drama. Give us a call on 01628 525 449