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5 Brand Storytelling Ideas to Steal from Shows on Netflix

Category: Marketing / 5 minutes to read
Author: Blake Jackson
Published: January 9th

5 Brand Storytelling Ideas to Steal from Shows on Netflix

Category: Marketing / 5 minutes to read
Author: Blake Jackson
Published: January 9th

Whenever people ask me what I did over the weekend, my usual answer is that I spent the weekend binge watching a show on Netflix. Some people immediately understand, but others wonder why I never left the couch for two days. At this point I am defending myself the same way, “I was so immersed in the story, I didn’t want to get up.” What if your customers became so immersed in your brand story that they didn’t want to look away from anything you were doing? Let’s take a few examples from our friend Netflix to see how that could happen. 

Mindhunter – Origin Story 

Poster for Mindhunter - Show on Netflix - from www.whats-on-netflix.com
Image Source: What's on Netflix

Did you know that the term serial killer had to be invented by a team of specialists at the FBI? The first two (of hopefully many) seasons of Mindhunter takes you behind the scenes of how the FBI began profiling the motives, movements, and peculiar quirks of serial killers in an effort to capture them more quickly. The show connects with their viewers because origin stories are fascinating, especially those stories for something that is established and well known.  

And while your business has nothing in common with serial killers, you can learn from Mindhunter’s excellence in telling a compelling origin story. 

Some companies have humble beginnings and had to hustle for everything, some companies started wanting to solve one problem and ended up pivoting to solve another, and some companies start by complete accident. Regardless of what your company’s origin story is, telling it will allow the connection to your customers to grow to a new level because they understand where you came from and how you came to be the company you are today. 

Great British Bake Off – Showcasing Your Passion 

Poster for Great British Bake Off - Photo from Amazon.UK
Image Source: Amazon

The Great British Bake Off is the best cooking show on TV. What makes the show so great is that the contestants on this show bake as a hobby, they are not professional bakers, and they all have regular 9-5 jobs. On top of that, there is not a monetary prize for the winner, just a glass plate. Due to this, the baker’s true passion for baking is on display every episode, and I feel genuine joy watching these people bake things I have never even heard of before.  

The way that you talk about your company and brand does not have to robotic and transactional. When people get a sense that you have a true passion for what you do, they will naturally become connected to your brand. They will also know that your passion can translate into a great customer experience. 

Stranger Things – Building on Your Foundational Story 

Stranger Things Poster from whats-on-netflix.com
Image Source: What's on Netflix

Surely after three remarkable seasons as one of Netflix’s most popular shows I do not need to introduce the premise of Stranger Things. If I do, here is a quick synopsis: It’s a story about a group of teenagers in the 80s who must protect their small town from the dangers of other dimensions with the help of their new friend who is basically created by science. At the end of each season you feel satisfied that a complete story has been told, and you do not think there are many loose ends.  

However, each new season begins with a little piece of a storyline from the previous season, and with the new evolved storyline you become wrapped up in the show all over again. Each season of Stranger Things focuses on telling an ongoing story that makes sense from previous stories they have told, and that doesn’t diminish the quality of the show.  

When it comes to marketing your business, it is easy to tell one story to your customers, but eventually they are going to want another story. Finding a way to continue to tell your evolved story will be important in making sure that your business relevant to your customers. 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Easy to Understand Story 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Poster from Netflix.com
Image Source: Netflix

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a fun and quirky show with a unique premise. The show is about Kimmy Schmidt, who is trying to navigate modern-day life in New York City after she was rescued from living in a bunker for 15 years. While it is a continuous story line, each episode is built around that simple idea. What I love about this show (other than the quirky humor) is that it is extremely easy to understand what is going on. There a few times I watch other shows and wonder “where did this guy come from?” or “how did they get to this point in the show?”  

It is very easy to leave your customers perplexed in a similar way with your marketing efforts. There are probably many different types of stories you would like to tell about your business, but when thinking about those, it is important to remember to keep it simple. Focus on which stories fit your larger brand story and tell them in a way that is easy to understand for your customers. 

Bodyguard – Leaving People Wanting More 

Bodyguard Poster from Netflix.com
Image Source: Netflix

I enjoyed watching Bodyguard, but if I am being honest it wasn’t too different from a lot of shows except for one major exception. The story is about a British secret service type who is assigned to protect a prominent politician, and while he is on the job he uncovers dark secrets about the government. Pretty basic, right? What kept me watching this show is that each episode got progressively more intense, and each episode ended with a cliff hanger that had me clicking “Watch Next Episode” with Usain Bolt-type speed.  

Teasing people with just enough information can be a powerful marketing tactic. By not having all the information, it will be hard for customers to ignore your marketing efforts because they are already interested in what you have said so far. This can cause them to take the action that you desire them to take so that they can learn the full story. 

Growing up my teachers and parents used to tell me that watching TV would rot my brain. There may be some truth to that, but the other reality is that due to the TV I watch I am a better storyteller in the campaigns that I create. LOCALiQ and the USA TODAY NETWORK is built on a platform of storytellers. If you are having trouble developing your brand story, give us a call, and let our advertising experts create Netflix-quality stories for you. 

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