I'm currently reading Jim Signorelli's StoryBranding, and it's wonderful. I realize it just reinforces what I already believe but it's helping me focus my thinking and use what I know.
MENGonline: Branding through the power of story, 2011-11-30, by Jim Signorelli
Brands and stories are both vehicles through which relationships are forged. To better understand this concept, consider that the root of the word relationship is “to relate.” “To relate“ simply means to understand, identify, and support someone. It follows that the extent to which we do defines the strength of our “relationship.” This explains why we love story heros and despise villains. Arguably we love heroes not so much for what they do but for the values we associate with their motivations.
Steve Jobs to many is a hero. What he did while alive is remarkable But why he did what he did is where the real admiration comes in. If you’re familiar with his biography, how he functioned as a manager has been met with a great deal of criticism. It is well documented that he was often abusive, cagey, and belligerent. But his belief system provides a more important story. Despite his eccentricities, he was motivated by the conviction that he was just crazy enough to change the world. And he did. It is hard not to admire and aspire to his indefatigable spirit and the “theme” of his life.
It is the same with brands. We like, want, and even need their functional benefits. But if we are to relate to a brand, what it does or how it performs will never be as important to us as what it represents. We like brands for what they do. But we love them for what they stand for.