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How Nike Became One the World’s Largest Brands Through Storytelling

How Nike Became One the World’s Largest Brands Through Storytelling

[Reading time: Approximately 7 minutes total]

Always fascinated with successful brands, in particular, Nike, my goal has been to learn the process and formulas required to create the world’s best brands. My fascination started at twelve years old when I would sneak down to my brother’s room and steal his surfing magazine. I would gaze at the images and ads, becoming infatuated with the large lifestyle images which transformed into a desire to become a surfer. I finally got my wish, put on a wetsuit and braved the sea… It was the scariest thing I had ever done and that was the moment I realized that it wasn’t the actual act of surfing I loved so much. I had fallen in love with the stories and the lifestyle being projected by the brands I admired. From this point on, I became obsessed with cracking the code of how brands become so successful.

Why Great Brands Tell Stories

Have you ever tried to give an elevator pitch? Did it sound forced? What if when someone asks what you do for work, you told a story instead? Whenever I hear someone talk about their business, my eyes glaze over and I begin to think about my next meal or the mountain high tasklist I need to crush. But when someone tells a story about a struggle they had, then ends the story with a moral or lesson, I tend to remember everything about the conversation.. Would you agree?

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Why Does This Happen?

People are more inclined to understand who you are when they can directly relate to you.  What better way to do this than through storytelling? Telling people what you do can be complex but when you tell them a story, what you do becomes simple and digestible. Storytelling is what makes you authentic, believable and people love that shit.

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How to Create a Brand Story

Keep it simple, and follow the framework.

#1. Start with the main character (hero) _________ and give him or her a goal.

Example: Cinderella is placed in a home where she is incredibly unhappy and fights for her freedom.

#2. The hero will have help_________, which will support them on their quest.

Example: Fairy Godmother turns Cinderella’s rags into a beautiful jewelled gown

#3. Now add an adversary _________ who tries to work against the hero.

Example: Time is Cinderella’s adversary, she has until midnight before she turns back into a servant.

#4. The final step is to reach your goal ________ by overcoming your adversary ________

Example: Cinderella is reunited with the prince, and is freed from servanthood.

Now, let’s take a real business and use this same framework to create a story. I would advise that you complete this exercise with your business.

Watch Nike’s Rise and Shine Video.

#1. Who are the heroes? Athletes trying to achieve greatness but their bodies are struggling.

#2. Who’s the villain? The voices in the athlete’s mind telling them to quit

#3. Who helps the hero? The voice of defiance that combats the voices that ask the hero to quit.

#4. Who is the adversary? The path of least resistance and your self-doubt.

#5. What is the final step? Hit the alarm by overcoming your mind

No conflict, no story. Start by finding the reason why you started your business, were you unhappy with your job? Did you find a solution to a problem? Now, write it down.

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Humans are always seeking solutions to our problems, we are wired for it. So next time someone asks you what you do, think about telling a story. Now, ask yourself can you tell a captivating story about your company?


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