7 Elements of Great Challenger Brand Storytelling

November 5th, 2013 Written by

What's your story?Everyone loves a good story. From Homer’s Odyssey to Superman: Man of Steel, we’ve been listening to stories for ages. A well-told narrative can capture the attention of listeners for hours, causing them to wait with bated breath for the next surprising plot twist. This is also the key to the successful positioning of a Challenger Brand.

This type of undivided attention is the Holy Grail in Challenger Brand marketing. As customers become habituated to the proliferation of ads on websites, billboards, and buses, they learn to selectively ignore them. In order to grab and hold a potential customer’s attention, a Challenger Brand must tell a great story that is relevant to its brand and its target audience.

So, what makes a story great?

Of course, there are the obvious components that all coherent stories require: a protagonist, a setting, a problem. There should be a beginning, middle, and end — but great stories also have a larger sense of structure guiding the narrative. This kind of analysis is classically used in literature, but can be applied to Challenger Brand storytelling as well. When boiled down to the core, there are 7 key elements that make up a dynamic story:

  1. Weakness and need – The protagonist has some sort of flaw and an underlying need. Think of your target audience as the protagonist, and consider what their weakness or need is.
  2. Desire – The desire is what drives the protagonist to action; however, it is usually not the same as the need. Customers certainly have desires they want filled, or else they wouldn’t be looking to buy things.
  3. Opponent – Someone or something that gets in the protagonist’s way. Often a foe that wants the same thing. In the business world, this would be your competitor. Make sure to highlight what makes your product better than everyone else’s. Or, view the Opponent as a reason why the customer would not buy your product and think of ways to address that issue.
  4. Plan – The protagonist must concoct a plan of action in order to defeat the opponent and satisfy his desire. Your good/service represents the Plan, and is the best and easiest way for the customer to reach his or her goal.
  5. Battle – The crisis point of the story. This is the moment of ultimate frustration, right before the customer buys your product.
  6. Self-revelation – When the protagonist realizes that what he wanted was not what he needed, and is transformed. Or, in the context of storytelling for a Challenger Brand, when the product satisfies the customer’s want and also addresses an underlying need.
  7. New equilibrium – After this realization, the protagonist’s world has changed and he or she must adjust accordingly. This is often depicted at the end of a commercial when the protagonist is exceedingly happy after using a particular product. That’s the end goal, which should always be kept in mind when making any marketing or business decision.

Applying this simple story structure to your brand can help you gain a deeper understanding of your target audience and of how you can better serve their wants and needs. Try using these 7 elements to guide your marketing efforts — you’ll see that customers will genuinely enjoy listening to your Challenger Brand story so long as you make it compelling.

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