Updated: Jul 5, 2021
Urban legends, tales, fables, and myths – stories have been part of our life from childhood. Crafting myths around brands and products have proven to create more engagement with consumers and enhance perceived value.
If we were to look at a painting with a yellow splash of colour, it would just be a boring painting. If I was to tell you this yellow splash of colour was painted by a little boy in a school in Manhattan on 9/11, then the painting would certainly be worth looking at a bit more, wouldn’t it?
Brand mythology is about developing your own business folklore which then becomes part of your business culture. It can be a simple fact, or an entire story – it can be real or slightly real. What’s important is to demonstrate that your brand or product is worth buying for by creating enthusiasm.
To create an emotional bond with your consumers, it is now more than ever important to have more than just a good product, price, place, and promotion to cut through the noise. Do you have a good story? Then talk about it, share it.
‘A great story does more than represent emotion from a distance. It makes us feel an emotional charge.” Ellen Lupton, Design is Storytelling
Let’s have a look at some classic Australian myths;
1. Fosters Beer - Apparently Fosters is Australian for Beer? Funny enough, the British invented this. As a matter of fact, Fosters is brewed in Manchester and almost exclusively consumed in the UK. Nothing to do with us – In fact as few as 10 venues Australia-wide pour Fosters from their taps, and very few liquor retail stores even stock the product – a stark contrast to the UK’s second best-selling alcoholic beverage. (1)
2. Tim Tam’s Packaging - Apparently, the packaging was designed to prevent you from putting the plastic tray back inside the outer wrapping…so then you are stuck eating the whole pack (what a shame!) justifying our addiction to the delicious biscuit.
3. Qantas has never crashed – The national airline of Australia received a glowing endorsement from Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man, who refused to fly with any other airline based on this ‘fact’. However, strictly speaking, this claim isn’t quite true. Whilst it has never lost a jet airliner nor had any jet fatalities, it had eight fatal accidents and an aircraft shot down between 1927 and 1945 – although half of these occurred during World War II, where Qantas aircraft were operating on behalf of Allied military forces. (2)
Myths are stories. Stories create conversations. Conversations create engagement. Engagement creates bonding.
Want to brainstorm some myth ideas for your brand?
Start by creating a narrative set in a specific time and place. Don’t be scared to blend fact with fiction. It’s ok if it’s not 100% true (as long as you are not making wild or unsubstantiated claims about the effects of your product or service – stay legally safe please). That’s the point of a myth - it’s to create intrigue. Consider the wild story of James Squire, Australia’s first brewer who serves as the inspiration for the popular beer brand. Whilst the majority of the story is true, it is slightly exaggerated in its telling by the popular brewery. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that – it gives us a story that’s fun to share, and creates a degree of brand loyalty amongst those who share it.
Identify an emotion you’d like to convey. Can you create this emotion through your origin story (whether real or somewhat exaggerated), or are there other stories circulating around your business?
We think myths are a great way to connect with your audience because myth speaks to the subconscious. They are a play on our own personal beliefs and cultural references. Ultimately, they build emotional connections. So two people talking about this story bond together. How can your story be used to maximise consumer engagement?
We are driven by business cultures and we strive on delivering branding that communicates your story. We would love to help your brand. If you liked this article and would like to know more, contact us here.
1) Morning Advertiser, Nov 2019 Fosters + The Guardian, Dec 2020 + Brews News, May, 2015
2) News.com.au, Feb 2008 + Qantas (Web Archive)