Why Branding is a Lot Like Mythology
When we talk about branding, most people know what we’re on about: the imagery, the style, the colours, but branding isn’t just about aesthetics, it’s also about your company message. But how do you convey your message in a way that touches readers and turns them into customers?
Mythology is a symbolic story that conveys a deeper truth. So, the myth of Achilles tells us that everyone has a weakness, the myth of Santa Claus tells children to be good, the pagan myth of the Wheel of the Year tells us folk on the northern hemisphere that the sun will in fact rise again – thank goodness! All great pieces of info, I’m sure you’ll agree.
But what does this all have to do with a company’s branding?
Well, kind of everything.
You see, when you write for the internet, you’re trying to get the attention of people with little time to spare and short attention spans. Not only that, but you’re also trying to get them to remember you, so that when they need that thing you sell, your company pops into their head first and they come running (metaphorically of course, they’re online) cash in hand. Bingo. A sale.
When you create a mythological backstory that runs through all your content, you cement yourself in people’s minds and they can relate to you on a deeper level. There’s another layer of truth in what you’re saying, and people pick up on that.
How do we add mythology to copy?
To get your branding to sing, you need to think strongly about the why:
– Why would someone buy from you?
– How will your product or service improve their life?
– Why should they buy your stuff over someone else’s?
When you figure all this out, you can weave the answers through your company copy, images and communications.
It’s not enough to just say: we sell this thing, it’s good, it works. You have to sell the reasons why you sell it, the reasons why it’s good, the reasons why it works, and then you turn that into a metaphor or story.
You know that old marketing saying: ‘sell the benefits not the traits’ – that’s what we’re talking about here, except to succeed you need to go even further. It needs to become truth.
Look at Nike. Their mythology is very simple: you can do anything if you put your mind to it. This is encompassed in their slogan: ‘Just Do it’, as well as all their adverts.
And now Apple. Their mythology is that it pays to be different. They’re the posterchild for the quirky, the cool, the geeks, the hipsters. They’ve created an empire of computers that, in my PC-loving opinion, aren’t anywhere near as good as some others and are wayyy pricier, but because of their mythology/branding, they’re the leading supplier of laptops, phones and all sorts of other stuff that isn’t even that relevant to their backstory. They’re not selling software, they’re selling an identity.
So, just like characters in mythology, who are the people you are selling to? What do they want? What are the problems they face? And even more so, who would they like to be? What are their deepest desires and biggest goals?
Adding a touch of mythology to your company branding can be as simple as telling the story of its inception. How was it made? What struggles did you encounter along the way? How did you overcome them? How is that relatable to your characters/customers?
Everyone loves a story of triumph. The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell illustrates this perfectly. Every famous story encounters the same characters/hurdles/successes, so to make your business really stand out, you need to tell your story.
Bringing it back around to branding
So back to your branding – just imagine that your business is a hero in a mythology. What would he/she look like? What are their special powers? What trials and tribulations have they endured?
You don’t even have to release this info, just keep it in mind when you’re planning your marketing materials. Do everything from the perspective of your business hero or heroine.
If you’re not familiar with mythology, I suggest you hit up a book or two, Greek myths are a great place to start.
You need to give your customers something juicier to read, something that they can see a little of themselves in.
If mythology is a mirror, then branding is the frame.
You can choose to have it simple and chic or ornate gold leaf, but like I said at the start, aesthetics is not enough. Without the story, you’ve got a frame with nothing in it.
And people don’t pay big money for empty frames.
If you’d like to work with me on some mythological copy or some branding worthy of a hero – drop me an email on info[at]elliepierpoint[dot]com.