Do you want to make your customers and employees supporters of your company’s vision through storytelling? Do you want them to see the “Why” and to support the brand, driven by their own commitment? Then you need to be able to answer these two questions:
- How does the habitual world of your heroes look like?
- How should their new world look like at the end of the journey?
“Before realizing there is no place like home, our apprentice must resurrect as a new person. Eventually our hero will return to where he started. But things will never be the same again.”
Airbnb and the sense of belonging
Airbnb is the world’s leading online platform for private holiday rentals. In the course of a comprehensive brand change in July 2014, the company presented its new identity and the vision behind it in a blog post. “At a time when new technologies have made it easier to keep each other at a distance and erode trust”, (the familiar world), “the Airbnb community uses technology to bring people together. Connections are part of a universal human need: the desire to feel welcomed, respected and valued for what you are, no matter where you are. It is the need to feel at home.” (new world)
This “feeling of belonging can get us anywhere” is communicated on all channels, starting with the new logo and ending in a TV campaign. Who shares this vision of a new world of travel and knows Airbnb is most likely already a member, profits from the possibilities the plattform offers (reward) and will share his experiences. And it’s these stories of enthusiastic users that Airbnb uses to introduce other travellers to their new world, to convince them (against their inner conflicts) and win them as heros.
GoldieBlox and the game for the female engineers of the future
GoldieBlox designes toy kits specifically for girls that promote the technical interests and abilities. On the website, you learn the following about the company: “In a world where science, technology, engineering and mathematics are statistically governed by men, girls lose interest in these topics starting at the age of eight. Construction toys help to excite them about these fields early on. For more than 100 years these toys are seen as belonging to boys only.” (the familiar world) “GoldieBlox is determined to change this equation. We want to change the girl department in the toy stores fundamentally and inspire the future generation of female engineers.” (new world)
This vision of a new world in which girls and women have their role in alleged male domains acts as a compass for all stories on all channels of the company. The blog introduces female role models or other ways for girls to get involved in STEM subjects. For example, they post motivational and inspirational quotes around topics like “Tools for School”, “Geek is the new Chic” or #WomenInStem on Instagram and on Pinterest boards. Specially developed comic characters, from the proper Ruby Rails, who lives according to her own code, up to the gadget fan Valentina Voltz, run through the entire product range, their own video series and much more in »Bloxtown«.
The hero’s journey defines the vision
The model of the hero’s journey helps organizations to position their vision in storytelling. A simple, yet most important reminder is that the company does not play the role of the hero. Its customers or employees do. The transformation to a true hero takes place in a new world full of adventures. By overcoming various obstacles and conflicts, he ultimately masters and dominates this new world. He is gaining new knowledge and a reward, which usually is exactly what motivated him to start the adventure in the first place.
The greater the contrast between these two worlds is and the more conflicts lay between them. The more disruptive a company has to be in its brand development and the more potential their stories have to produce drama.