Five Examples of Brand Storytelling (with Data) that Hit the Mark

3 min. read

Lorna Keane / July 13, 2017

Brand storytelling is a powerful way to build lasting connections with your audience. Compelling stories engage consumers, elicit emotion and foster loyalty, forging a meaningful relationship that goes far beyond product and service. Here we look at five brands who have excelled at storytelling to show us how it’s done.

1. Airbnb

Storytelling lies at the very heart of Airbnb’s marketing. Their intricate understanding of their audience and creative use of consumer data has made it one of the most iconic brands of today. Their messaging centres around community and local hospitality, tapping into holidaymakers’ desires for more local travel experiences.

For New Year’s 2015, the company told its story through an animated video, announcing that approximately 550,000 travelers had spent New Year’s Eve in one of their many rentals across 20,000 cities – a jump from just 2,000 guests 5 years previous. Highlighting the most popular choices for AirBnB guests to ring in the New Year, New York topped the list with 47,000 travellers.

Just one example of how the brand uses data to tell engaging stories, AirBnB’s stories consistently resonate with its audience by bringing to life the things they care about – travelling and new experiences.

2. Spotify

Spotify collects continuous data about what songs, playlists and artists its 30 million users select.  The music streaming service combines this information with listeners’ location data and demographics, using it to create original content for its Spotify Insights blog.

In May 2017, one post looked at ‘How Students Listen 2017’, using data to create an interactive microsite looking at how different colleges and universities in the U.S. listen to music. The site revealed insights such as where the most listening took place, the diversity of the music listened to, and the most popular genres, with findings including the fact that Penn State had the highest percentage of ‘party playlists’ in the U.S..

Using internal data in this way helps brands like Spotify to create original stories based on insights that only they can access, helping them to differentiate themselves from competitors.

3. Google

Google’s ‘Year in Search’ videos are released annually, using its data to communicate the terms most searched for, offering a ‘state of the nation’ perspective.

In 2016, the two-minute film reviewed the top searches of 2016 by showing footage of the year’s pivotal moments – both joyful and tragic. In testing, viewer response proved ‘overwhelmingly positive’, and the film ranked in the top 1% of all ads tested in 2016. It was also the third highest scoring out of nearly 700 technology ads tested.

Google manages to evoke a strong range of emotions from viewers, tapping into events that have touched everyone in some way, using data to identify exactly what topics and events will engage its audience.

4. Zillow

U.S-based online real-estate marketplace, Zillow, has data on over 110 million homes, with information including value estimates, square footage, nearby amenities and aerial photographs. The company leverages this data to create content.

As well as its more standard data-driven blog posts highlighting the best places for millennials to find affordable homes, or the best places to retire, the company also uses data to produce more quirky content.

In the run up to Halloween in 2016, it ran a blog post on the ‘20 Best Cities for Trick or Treating’, based on home values, how close homes are to one another, crime rate and the share of population under 10 years old. This data was supported with an infographic illustrating the fact that Philadelphia, San Jose, San Francisco, Milwaukee and Los Angeles make the top five.

This creative use of insights to drive content shows how data can be made meaningful to your consumers, providing a dynamic and impactful storytelling platform.

5. Jawbone

Wearable technology company, Jawbone, creates products that enable consumers to track information such as their diets, movements, sleep and calories burned. They use consumer data to drive their content marketing.

One story was triggered by data gathered by wearers of its Jawbone UP wristband when San Francisco was affected by the South Napa Earthquake in 2014. The company’s data scientists discovered that UP wearers close to the epicentre woke up when the earthquake struck, and 45% of those stayed awake throughout the night.

The company also uses its data to create stories around fitness and dietary topics, such as posts on how people eat differently during Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl, and which weight loss techniques are most effective for wearers of its wristband.

Strong data analysis like this can reveal surprising insights that attract consumers’ attention and add value to their relationship with the brand.

Like what you’ve read? Subscribe to our blog to stay inspired with the latest marketing and trends updates.

Subscribe to blog