Impact of Narrative-Driven Public Relations On Brand Positioning

Impact of Narrative-Driven Public Relations On Brand Positioning

Impact of Narrative-Driven Public Relations On Brand Positioning

Admin | 21 June 2024

Business leaders often stress about the importance of driving narratives aligned with their consumers to position brands as reliable solution providers. In today’s digital age, early narratives often become synonymous with brands and become critical for marketing efforts and company growth.

However, contrary to the widespread notion, a single narrative does not surround a brand. This is not a phenomenon of the digital world but has been in existence for a long time. Take Colgate for example, the American oral hygiene brand is often known for its recommendation by dentists. However, at the same time, Colgate also remains popular as a cost-effective oral hygiene solution for the global population who are ardent believers that it also makes teeth whiter. These narratives seldom raise questions but offer a meaningful interaction with the consumer community while providing a unique selling proposition that drives the brand’s growth. In today’s market, numerous businesses compete to take the throne of monopoly holders while pointing out why they are the best, but seldom do brands become synonymous with its narrative; something that is vital to position it for success.

What is narrative-driven PR?

To put it briefly, the term narrative refers to an engaging storytelling technique that establishes a meaningful connection with consumers, thus reframing how they perceive an individual or an organization. For example, the narrative surrounding chocolates has historically been that it is safe for the consumption of children. This narrative has established practices like gifting chocolates to children or handing them one to stop their tantrums. However, little is known by the mass population that chocolates are one of the biggest sources of sugar that causes children to become hyperactive, thus leading to tantrums. Irrespective of the scientific discoveries, the narrative has existed for generations.

It’s not necessarily used only to influence people. The narrative is much simpler than that. To define good and bad, right and wrong, meaningful or meaningless — narratives are present in our daily lives and help us to make decisions instantly. They are a tool for effective communication and have been used as a productive avenue by PR professionals to achieve optimum brand positioning for decades. In modern PR, it is used to convey core messaging meaningfully to the target audience, and educate and engage them while offering access to meaningful information that calls for favourable outcomes that drive sales.

Why is it important?

In today’s world, narrative is equal to ensuring long-term success. It is the combination of critical information in a single message that highlights the vision of the business and its values. Irrespective of domain, narratives are designed to focus on solutions that can enable its target audience to achieve a significant goal. Take Maggi for an example, where its narrative of a fulfilling and nutritious meal that becomes ready within two minutes is designed to interact with individuals who can afford little or no time to cook. In the case of Microsoft, the narrative often leads people to understand its cost-effective computing solution that is much more economical than its competitors with much more expensive and complex offerings. For businesses in the 21st century, narratives are important to address preconceived notions in public minds regarding a brand, as they help to clarify misconceptions and raise awareness. Narratives create a well-founded understructure for brand positioning, ensuring continued success for the long term.

Another critical aspect for businesses to use narratives in their marketing efforts is it is highly controllable by the brand’s leadership. Controlling strategic narratives through engaging storytelling helps to establish a highly loyal consumer community and craft a robust brand perception among the masses. This helps to counter false narratives at play, which are created regularly and have the capability to create a crisis for brands. For example, Tata Consumer products in India has successfully established a narrative of offering safe, reliable and cost-effective products to its consumers, which has helped them to develop a robust brand identity that can navigate through regulatory changes, potential crises and false narratives with relative ease. Its community of loyal customers work as its biggest promoter in the fast-moving consumer consumer goods (FMCG) market, which offers long-term public trust, brand appreciation and growth.

Case studies

Narrative-driven public relations have been used for decades, and have turned out to be extremely successful at times. Integrating strategic narratives in public relations has enabled several brands to sustain their growth for decades while establishing them as industry leaders in their respective domains. Let’s discuss two case studies which discuss the impact of narrative-driven public relations for brands in detail.

#Case Study 1 - While all of us often take milk for granted, there was a time after the Indian Independence when it was perceived as a commodity for the rich only. However, Amul changed the scenario for millions of Indian families and became a mainstay in Indian households through its narrative-driven PR campaigns. From celebrating milestones of India and Indians to creating an image of Amul as the enabler of rural farmers through the necessary technology and support — Amul has been able to create a loyal user base that has used its dairy products for decades or more. Even in the present day, Amul holds a monopoly in the dairy business in India and several neighbouring countries

#Case Study 2 - Following its launch in 2007, Flipkart aggressively adopted narrative-driven PR to establish a unique brand positioning for itself. The e-commerce retailer displayed itself as an enabler of millions of sellers across India while positioning them as reliable logistics and delivery partners which humanised the brand to an extent where its loyal customer community became the face of its famed ‘Big Billion Day’ campaign.


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