An online ad for Esurance caught my attention and got me thinking about brand storytelling.
This commercial perfectly balances good storytelling structure, a simple brand promise, and the perspective of Esurance’s ideal buyer:
Here’s how to apply these 3 elements of brand storytelling to your content:
1) Your content should have an arc and relatable characters, like good fiction
In brand storytelling, your reader relates to and often actually is the character. Of course, the most compelling character in this ad is a thinly-veiled reference to this infamously inarticulate Miss Teen USA contestant.
But the compelling character (“sorta Marge”) is not who Esurance wants you to relate to. Rather, this ad implies that you are the protagonist – you’re “real Marge.”
The story arc in this ad is simple: a foreman on a construction site searches for Marge and finds another, less competent version of Marge operating heavy machinery. This is a great outline for brand storytellers: a character’s routine is disrupted by a high-stakes problem the solution to which is your company’s product or service.
A story arc should be easily repeatable structure for future content. No doubt, we’ll see more Esurance ads in which incompetent imposters make a mess of various high-stakes workplaces.
2) Your content should fulfill your brand promise
As mentioned, this ad’s story arc presents a high-stakes problem that disrupts the protagonist’s routine. It does not present a universal problem, such as “not having insurance” but focuses on one that a select demographic faces. The solution to your specific problem constitutes your brand promise. Esurance solves the “one-sized-fits-all insurance” problem with the promise that their product is customizable.
Coming up with a brand promise is easier when you know your customer. Which leads me to the last element of your brand’s story:
3) Your content should speak to your brand’s buyer persona(s)
You can easily create a brand promise and a story that fulfills it, by drawing up a detailed buyer persona.
Esurance created a brand promise that seems to appeal to first-time insurance buyers with unique employment or finance needs. The irreverent, referential tone of the ad screams millenial, so I’d guess that the persona this ad targets is a young person looking for one-on-one insurance guidance.
This ad resonated with me and many other viewers because it solved a common problem for viewers like me in an entertaining way.
What kinds of branded content sticks with you? Tell me in the comments!