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Brand Storytelling: What do Notion and Greek Mythology Have in Common?

31st May 2023

Did you click on this title wondering what on earth is the connection between Greek mythology and branding? Let’s find out! To understand how the two are related, let’s explore why people have always been fascinated by myths and why they play a significant role in our everyday existence to this day.

Why do we tell myths?

Greek mythology, despite being over two thousand years old, is still incredibly popular and generally widely known outside of Greece itself. This begs the question — how has it survived for so long?

To get a complete answer it is important to understand how our brains work.

A study at Stanford University asked participants to memorise a list of 10 words.

Half were asked to memorise the list by reading it and the other half to create a story based on the words. When the students were tested, it was found that 93% of those who created a story could remember the words, while only 13% of those who tried to memorise the list alone were successful in recalling the words.

So according to neuroscience, storytelling is the most effective way to transfer knowledge and communicate.

The reason why mythology (or other folk tales) emerged in early societies was to help us transfer skills and knowledge across generations. It’s apparently easier to remember a complicated story about a Goddess turning a young woman into a spider out of jealousy, as opposed to simply telling someone that boasting is not a good trait!

That’s great and all, but what does it have to do with branding?

Why is Storytelling so Important for Branding?

Most brands out there rely on advertising on social media or Google search results in order to get customers. Unfortunately, we can no longer just do those things and think we’re sorted. In recent years we have developed a thing called “banner blindness” – we have learned to recognise when something is an ad and we scroll past it without paying attention. Here comes brand storytelling.

What’s the best way to make my point? I think you know where this is going, I’m going to tell you a story!

Back in 2017, during my student days, I found myself struggling to keep up with the demands of studying, meeting deadlines, and managing various aspects of life like grocery shopping, job applications, and tracking bills and finances. It was a really overwhelming experience as I was just beginning my journey into adulthood (if you are a young reader – it gets better, I promise!)

Brand Storytelling Evokes Empathy and Trust

When we are talking about brand storytelling we can’t overlook the importance of emotions and empathy.

In an attempt to manage my transition into adulthood, I was using so many tools – reminders, to-do lists, calendars, Google Docs, spreadsheets, Pinterest, notes on my phone, physical notebooks the list goes on… No wonder I felt overwhelmed! Until I stumbled upon Notion:

“Hi there! If you’re reading this, you’re probably like me—spending most of your days in your office, in front of a computer. You probably have fifteen tabs open: one for email, one for Slack, one for Google Docs, and on, and on…” — went on their about us page.

“Yes, yes I do…” — I caught myself nodding.

And this is how the brand storytelling magic begins – smart brands show their customers the brand “gets it”.

Simple phrases like “…you are probably like me…” can spark instant connection and relatability.

As a business, it is important to consider what the audience needs; what their problems and situations are. And then utilise the power of brand storytelling and show your customers your brand completely empathises with them.

Brand storytelling helps your customers imagine your brand as the solution to their problems

I don’t know about you, but I also tend to trust advice or solutions coming from someone who understands my situation!

After showing me Notion perfectly understood the problems and frustrations I was facing I got presented with the following solution:

I mean it was right there! The solution to my problem — everything in one place, syncing. I no longer had to wonder if that grocery list was on my to-do list, in my reminders or notes or notebooks. It is in Notion!

This is how brands can use storytelling to build a foundation of trust and mutuality with their customers before they can offer their services as a solution. What is more, telling stories as a brand can take your customer from being confused and not quite understanding what you do to seeing exactly how your brand can help them in their situation.

Storytelling in branding can convert a customer into a brand ambassador

But wait, there is more to brand storytelling than simply convincing a single potential customer to engage with your brand!

Everyone who knows me knows I will not shut up about Notion. I’ve convinced four close friends to get on it and even here at Martin Hopkins, we’re taking steps to move all our admin and employee resources over to Notion.

Essentially, I have become an unpaid, unsolicited Notion brand ambassador. They don’t even know I exist, except maybe as a number in their databases. Yet, I am going out of my way to tell you and everyone who is willing to listen about how great they are.

All through the power of brand storytelling! And after I told you my story, you must admit you are at least a little bit curious about who those Notion people are, aren’t you?

So, what do Notion and Greek Mythology have in common?

Storytelling. Simple as that.

Both have utilised the power of telling relatable and memorable stories in order to communicate information or convince you to do something.

I know what you are asking yourself — how can I leverage storytelling to help improve my brand positioning or sell my product or service?

It is completely normal to feel lost; brand strategy and storytelling are very deep and complex disciplines and we designers and strategists spend our entire careers building on our knowledge and creativity to help us craft better stories.

If you are looking to tell your brand story in a way that your audience can relate to and recognise your brand is the solution to their problems — get in touch! We’ve got you!

Written by Stiliyana Petrova
Senior Designer + Brand Storyteller