Brand Storytelling For Manufacturers And Distributors

Hummingbird CreativeBranding & Creative, Business Strategy, Corporate Identification, Manufacturing and Distributing, Storytelling, Uncategorized

A cup of coffee sitting and a note saying "Do you have a story to tell?" referring to brand storytelling for manufacturers and distributors.

Brand storytelling for manufacturers and distributors means identifying ways to be memorable and connect on an emotional level with their target audience, and using their size and vast resources to do it. The manufacturers and distributors who do it well are, of course, highly visible companies. But they didn’t get their by accident. They established the emotional tie early on and continued to build on it. They also had a deep understanding of the importance in establishing this same connection with each other. The relationship between manufacturers and distributors is like milk and honey… cookies and cream… tequila and lime (hold the worm). These entities work in harmony and even complement each other. But the relationship between the two is evolving as more and more manufacturers choose to go directly to the consumer—effectively bypassing distributors. And the elephants in the room such as Amazon, Walmart, and Apple are shipping products directly to their customers. Consumers welcome the convenience of having their packages delivered directly to their doorstep. Oftentimes, they receive tracking notifications and even up-to-the-minute alerts showing the package on a map and what time it can be expected to arrive. You can have anything delivered to you. Think about it… Try to think of any product right now that you couldn’t have shipped directly to you by ordering it online with Walmart, Amazon or Apple. Companies like these serve as manufacturer, distributer and also the retailer.  But there are still some industries where manufacturers rely on distributors… such as the beverage, timber and furniture industries., so the brand storytelling responsibility rests on the customer-facing distributor in these scenarios.

Nevertheless, change is happening, and the speed of manufacturing and distribution is literally changing the game. This makes it important for both manufacturers and distributors to have their customers remember who they are.  For example, Amazon’s mission and Vision statement shows their #1 priority is to solve every problem they can (and they aim to solve them all!) for their customer:  “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company” –  “to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Walmart’s Mission and Vision Statement makes a connection specifically with busy families: “helping people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retails stores and through eCommerce” – “make every day easier for busy families”. Apple, during the release of the iphone in 2007, appealed to their target audience through their sense of achievement in being early adopters of the newest and most advanced technology, their aspirations for belonging and self-expression through creativity. They brilliantly provided and avenue for their customers to take on some of the responsibility to tell the brand story FOR Apple through their creation of art, using the iphone, and sharing it with their own communities. This User-Generated Content (UGC) has taken off for Apple and many brands and is here to stay. User-Generated Content (UGC) is content about a brand that customers, typically raving fans, create and share with their friends, families and communities online. This UGC can present itself in many forms and has the potential to propel an unknown brand to a household name. In some cases, UGC can do the heavy lifting to help make an unmemorable brand memorable.

These examples of brand storytelling for manufacturers and distributors provide the basis for developing the companies’ core values, which serve as the foundation for company culture, as well as for memorable marketing with brand storytelling. This solidifies the supporting structure needed to effectively tell a brand’s story, because the employees are staying ‘on brand’ in their everyday work with their customers. When everyone at the company is ‘walking the walk’, it facilitates that connection needed with customers for memorable marketing. 

Memorable Marketing Begins With Smart Branding

How we human beings remember things is fascinating. Both short-term and long-term memory are being studied by experts all over the world… But memory research has been conducted for centuries. One of the earliest ways of remembering things has been through storytelling. Our ancient ancestors sat around the fire and told bedtime stories. Sometimes these stories told our history. Sometimes they recounted the exciting events of the day… Perhaps a great hunting trip or crossing paths with traveling strangers. A caveman family kneeling around a fire in a cave, hearing a story, to depict how humans remember and how this helps with brand storytelling.

Today is no different. We hear our families’ “old” stories shared again and again. We tell our own stories about vacations, scoring the winning goal, the birth of our children and the time the car broke down during a snowstorm. And oftentimes the stories become more elaborate as the versions are passed down. Stories captivate us, and there is recent evidence that suggests we are hard wired to both listen to and tell stories. All our communication is based upon storytelling. When we first meet someone, we ask their name. Then we might ask where they come from…  Or the type of work they do. A few questions later, and the conversation turns into comparing college experiences, sharing family photos and talking about common interests or conquests. There is a rhythm and pace to our storytelling. And when we become so intertwined with another person, we can literally complete their sentences.  

Brand Storytelling for Manufacturers and Distributors is Smart Branding

The ability to communicate and tell a story through branding or marketing is what separates success from failure. This is true for both B2B and B2C businesses. Consumers everywhere are bombarded with dozens, even hundreds, of messages every day. The ones that are special stand out… A manufacturer with a conscience. A distributor doing everything they can to lower carbon emissions. Having a superior product (or service) does not always guarantee success. These days, it’s just not enough. The manufacturers and distributors that communicate a memorable story are the ones that will survive this digital age. And the stories are inevitably changing. For instance, Nike’s famous “Just Do It” campaign, created in 1987,  is evolving. Today, Nike doesn’t just tell you to “do it.” It shows you how others are doing it. How people are overcoming their fears… How people are making tough decisions… or sacrificing fame or fortune for principles and authenticity. “Just Do It” is evolving right before our eyes with compelling stories of people doing extraordinary things.   For example, Nike took the word “Family” and created different stories surrounding that and incorporated them in conjunction with the NCAA basketball tournaments. If you have watched any of the games, you will notice teams are wearing t-shirts with the word “Family” printed prominently on the front. Now, this makes sense at first glance because being on a team is like being in a family. However, the opposing team is wearing the same t-shirt with its own logo on it. Brilliant… Nike has taken the word “Family” and provided several messages and stories that we all can relate to. Families love. Families fight. But they also support each other… And stay together. The message is that the entire NCAA is a family. Every team—and its fans, too—is part of their family… even though they are all competing for the National Championship. Sibling rivalry anyone? As with any smart and forward-thinking marketing campaign, it continues to evolve but also build on itself. The messaging has continued to keep in time with current events-again-the storytelling. Nike has a separate website dedicated to social justice causes surrounding equality for black and brown communities and LGBTQ+ communities. Their “Until We All Win” campaign is relevant to what is happening, as well as very relevant to their Target Audiences. It speaks to them – tells a story and touches them emotionally. For any brand, the ability to tell a story can go a long way in helping people remember—and choose with care—manufacturers and distributors. Intentional and targeted messaging is how smart branding is being conducted today. Brand storytelling for manufacturers and distributors means: Manufacturing with purpose. Responsible distribution. Memorable storytelling.


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At Hummingbird Creative Group, we build business value through better branding, using brand storytelling, and being true to our Core Values.

Contact us to find out how we can build your business’s value: 919 854 9100   |   info@hummingbird-creative.com