‘Tis the season for hotdogs, peanuts and ice cold beer! The tradition of baseball has been passed down, generation through generation, in the American culture. Often referred to as “America’s pastime,” baseball is more than just a game; it is an experience. Why? Because of the story.

Recently I have come across a handful of brands that have hit a homerun with their brand storytelling. Each story shines for a different reason and each brand stands out by using a different component of brand storytelling. These “fantastic five” have really knocked it out of the brand storytelling ballpark:

  1. CLIF BAR: Simplicity

cliff storytelling in marketing example

The simplicity of this story is what makes it so beautiful. With just a five-panel box, filled with antiqued images and a hand-written looking font, CEO/Founder of Clif Bar, Gary Erickson, tells us of his humble beginnings, living in a garage. The bar was named after his father, Clifford, and first created with the help of his mother, in her kitchen. It’s a simple, feel-good, family story of an everyman. (1) See below:

cliff brandstory

Courtesy of Clif Bar website

  1. GO PRO: Video

The ever-increasing popularity of video as a marketing medium made it the obvious brand storytelling choice for a brand whose product is a camera. Go Pro’s 7-minute video is masterfully shot using their Hero2 camera. Utilizing all of the features of the camera, the video displays breathtaking shots of extreme sports and intermixes them with footage of the Go Pro team, capturing the young, fun and energetic culture of the company. Go Pro clearly knows who their audience is and doesn’t miss a beat with the way they communicate their message. See for yourself:

gopro ugc brandstorytelling

  1. Sharpie: Content Design

sharpie storytelling in marketing example

Whimsical, fun and colorful are words that represent both Sharpie’s product and their story, told through a playful timeline, designed to give “the feeling that someone has actually created this entire thing with a Sharpie.” (2) By using content design in their brand storytelling they are harnessing the power of the visual, creating a fuller experience for the audience.

Here is a small section of the timeline, to give you an idea:

sharpie brand storytelling

Courtesy of Sharpie website

  1. Mail Chimp: The Human Factor

Since the CAN-SPAM act of 2003, the industry of email marketing has been living under a microscope of wary and distrustful eyes. That’s what makes Mail Chimp’s use of the “human factor” in their brand storytelling so genius. It builds trust. Think about it, people trust people, not companies. By using the faces of their team as in integral part of their brand storytelling, Mail Chimp is creating an association of ease and comfort with their product. See below:

mailchimp brand storytelling

Courtesy of Mail Chimp website

  1. Spanx: The Underdog

spanx brand storytelling

Though I am trying hard not to play favorites, Spanx’s down-to-earth, relatable “underdog” brand storytelling angle drew me in immediately. A “founder-centric” story, Spanx takes us on a journey (founder, Sara Blakely’s journey) told in first person by Sara herself.

Working as a sales trainer by day and performing stand-up comedy at night, I didn’t know the first thing about the pantyhose industry (except I dreaded wearing most pantyhose). Also, I had never taken a business class, which made the process even more challenging. As a result, I had only one source to operate from…my gut. (3)

The beauty of this brand’s story lies within its raw, real and relatable struggles. We start to see ourselves in Sara; we are rooting for her. And, since she has aligned herself so seamlessly with the brand, we are rooting for the brand. See below:

spanx brand storytelling

Courtesy of Spanx website

Who’s on First?

In my playbook, all five of these brands hit home runs with their brand storytelling. They know who they are, what their brand represents and who their audience is. Based on that information, each one of them has crafted a story tailored perfectly their brand. Brand storytelling is not a “one size fits all” sort of operation. It’s subjective, it’s personal and ideally, it creates an experience that can be shared.

Storytelling In Marketing is vital to the success of your brand because of the connection-building power that it contains. Powerful connections = loyalty and trust, two things you cannot buy but have everything to do with the livelihood of your brand and your ROI.


1) http://www.clifbar.com/soul/who_we_are/

2) http://turndogmillionaire.com/2013/03/14/50-brands-with-amazing-brand-stories-10-1/

3) http://www.spanx.co.uk/shop/saras-story


gfpeck – flickrich – Richard Cawood – GmanViz – dklimke – Vince_Lamb