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You know some Heroes really live up to their reputation when you meet them. The ‘never meet your heroes’ mantra isn’t always true. Some can be just as good close up as they can be from a distance. 

Who are your heroes though? 

If your a marketing guy or girl brands can very much be heroes too. Whether they are generous ones that give back to the communities they serve, promote diversity or commit to environmentally friendly measures they can be something to look up to. 

Brand Heroes Tell The Best Stories

From a marketing perspective story telling in one of the most powerful tools in the marketeers toolbox as it appeals directly to receivers emotions and empathetic tendencies. 

On the journey to developing a ‘hero brand’ there are two main ways to tell that story – 

  • The Brands Origin – very effective if the brand started out from humble beginnings or as the underdog.
  • The Hero – make the brand the hero character in it’s journey.

Aside from straightforward marketing my personal favourite is the journey from underdog to hero. It may seem cliché but most brands do not start out this way. Many already existed as brands from the beginning, whilst others had funding a plenty or filled a gap in the market without really having to make any true sacrifice. 

The problem is none of the above make for a very good story to tell!

Audiences want that brand they can connect and empathise with from the get go. 

One brand that comes to mind here is actually a person. JK Rowling. It is well known that she came from humble origins and has built her personal around this classis underdog story. She was a working mother for many years without any kind of remote success as an author. She would pen stories on her lunch breaks, whilst travelling by train or late at night before bed. 

The audience was able to perceive how far she had come in her hero’s journey to successful author. This made her a hero as her own brand. Do you get it? It’s quite something when you think of it in these terms I think. 

The other way to cement a brand as the hero of it’s own journey is to emphasize the hurdles it has overcome in it’s storytelling. A classic here is Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. The two founders started out taking a mail order course in ice cream making and before they long they were showing up on the radar of a much larger competitor, Haagen Dazs. The ice cream giant actually tried to oust the smaller Ben & Jerry’s brand from the supermarket shelves which resulted in a court battle. 

Pair this classic David v Goliath story with a focus on charity work, avoiding growth hormones and activist work for various causes and you have a winning recipe for a hero’s journey in storytelling. 

Branding Through Action 

Of course you cannot brand a company as a hero if their actions do not back it up. You have walk the walk as well as talk the talk. 

This is an important factor since 86% of consumers state authenticity as a determining factor when deciding if to support a brand. Superman would not receive much support if all he did was claim to save people rather that do it right? 

These actions can vary drastically. The takeaway message here is not to ignore the small things. Many will donate to charity, here Newman’s Own is a great example. They have given a whopping $550 million plus to charity since 1982. 

Despite the financial side of things though I appreciate that it all still ties back into emotional connection. The promises made fit in very much with their own customers values and then following through with them. Here Burt’s Bee’s is a good example. 

Burt’s have long made much headwind from their identity with their ‘greater good’ philosophy which states they will only use products that are good for the environment, beneficial to the consumer and good for the company. Basically good for everyone and everything. Over time the brand has really followed through on this making good with regards to the ingredients they use, the packaging and the focus on bringing their target demographic along for the journey with them. 

To conclude the main point to takeaway for those looking to start a brand is alignment. You can create that hero brand as long as you stick to the promises you make and align your actions with your values. 

Read the full article at: www.entrepreneur.com