You don’t create a brand. Your brand already exists. Your job is to extract the essence of your brand and then tell its story. Easier said than done. So where to start? Let’s turn to one of today’s premier storytellers, Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar has won 27 Academy Awards. Its first feature film? Toy Story. Pixar’s rules to create Toy Story will also work to help you create your Brand Story.
Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling were originally tweeted by Emma Coats, former Story Artist at Pixar. In the spirit of Pixar’s Rule #5, I have simplified and focused, selecting and slightly editing half of the rules most helpful to craft a compelling brand story.
2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to the audience of your brand, not what’s important to you. They can be very different.
5. Simplify. Focus. Combine. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
6. What is your brand good at? Throw the polar opposite at it. Challenge your brand. How does it hold up?
9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what your brand does not represent. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
10. Pull apart branding campaigns you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
12. Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
14. Why must you tell THIS brand story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
20. Exercise: take the building blocks of a branding campaign you dislike. How do you rearrange them into what you DO like?
21. You gotta identify with your target audience. What would make YOU act?
22. What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
People recognize and react to strong stories whether they are sitting in a movie theater or strolling down a supermarket aisle. Pixar’s rules that guided the creation of Toy Story will help create your Brand Story, as well as Ad Story, Campaign Story, Sales Meeting Story and more.