Cheers erupted as Apple’s doors swung open, a poignant representation of the cult-like influence Apple has achieved among today’s consumers.
Why are we so drawn to certain brands that thousands would sleep on the streets to have an item first?
When brands create an enthralling and compelling story that adds value, consumers will leap at the opportunity to become part of the mystique.
Simplicity and elegance of vision
Apple is a pervasive brand in today’s society, achieving this status with a simple and clear-cut vision: to tell a story about its products that was (and is) markedly different from its competitors.
Its marketing strategy ventures beyond "salesy" or technical advertising by crafting a sense of union between creator and consumer.
Apple’s iPhone 5 campaign is particularly effective, with the stirring: "iPhone 5. Loving it is easy. That’s why so many people do."
Research from CEB found that brands that simplify customer decision making are 86% more likely to be purchased.
Storytelling helps simplify what has become a clustered and confusing assortment of flashy ad campaigns that often miss the point.
In a recent Ph.Creative podcast episode, I sat down with Seth Godin, author, entrepreneur and marketer, who echoed the human relevance of storytelling:
He said: "A story is merely the shorthand we use when we talk about how human beings process the world around them.
"We do not process the world around us the way computers do. We do it with a narrative."
A compelling, emotional narrative
It’s crucial for brands to recognise the importance of narrative; today’s society is no longer B2B or B2C, it’s people to people.
In the age of smartphones, social media and shared content, it’s surprising that much of what we still produce is stale and unimaginative.
It’s clear that, however exceptional Apple’s products may be, the brand’s real strength lies in crafting a story that people feel they want to be a part of. An emotional connection is what drives consumers to sleep on the street for a new iPhone, not because the camera has been improved from 8- to 12-megapixels.
Seth said: "Stories that work almost never have words. [It’s about] creating meaning for people. I would argue an iPhone costs twice as much as an android not because it’s a better phone, but because the experience of buying it, talking about it and using it makes people feel better."
Start by asking why
Apple’s success in storytelling derives from the most fundamental question of all: "why?" This means determining the rationale behind everything you do as a business, which provides the hook that lures consumers in and keeps them coming back for more.
There is something innately progressive about the way Apple engages consumers; there’s a call to action, a prompt to speak with Apple.
Seven new Apple Watch ads, released this week in the run up to Christmas, fuse elements of storytelling and narrative together by tapping into the universal tenets of human nature that spellbind and connect us all.
Humanity is thrust to the forefront of this campaign, as we ‘Move,’ ‘Kiss,’ ‘Dance,’ and ‘Play.’ These ads tell a story of what it means to be human, and how Apple can enhance this story. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
A shared journey
Brands and marketers ought to look to other creatives for inspiration – screenwriters, authors and visionaries – whose livelihood depends on crafting a story that resonates with the individual. As technology increases and our lives become ever more digitalised, it’s now more important than ever before to create a human connection.
When brands tell a compelling story, and combine this with a call to action to join them on a shared journey, it’s almost inevitable that it will resonate and inspire.
Apple’s marketing campaign and business vision echoes this journey; the sooner brands recognise the power inherent in storytelling, the sooner we as consumers will be inspired to take part.