Little Red Riding Hood is a story that every child knows. A little girl, on her way to grandmother’s house, meets a stranger in the woods. The stranger turns out to be a big bad wolf and adventures ensue. It is a timeless tale that nearly every parent reads to their children.
What most people don’t know is that that story is one of the oldest and most told stories in history. It predates the invention of writing and versions of it are found in more than 60 cultures and languages. Anthropologists don’t know how old the story actually is, but they know it dates back more than 3,000 years.
Little Red Riding Hood has stood the test of time because of the timeless wisdom it contains. It bears a warning—Beware. Not every stranger you meet is who they say they are and has your best interests at heart. People wear false masks all the time. They usually come in the shape of smiles and lying eyes.
Brands that are telling their stories for the first time need to find the wisdom in what they do. They need to search for a way of sharing it with the world that is enlightening and entertaining. They need a storytelling structure that shapes their story while retaining their creative freedom.
One winning strategy that has worked overtime was first used in radio—serialized programming—if you are familiar with the golden age of radio, programs like Little Orphan Annie, the Shadow, and the Lone Ranger dominated the airwaves. And then after television became popular it was soap operas and today it is multi-season shows.
You create an over-arching story arc and then each episode is a self-contained mini-story that contributes to that arc. The secret is to pull the audience into your brand story and make them a character in your adventure.
Many start-ups will begin with their founding story. The big reason WHY the founders started the company can be a good place to begin. For established brands, it could be a journey you take your customers on or a storyline directed toward individuals who are buying the product whether is B-B or consumer direct.
Either way, just like in Little Red Riding Hood, if your story is going to stand the test of time, it should convey something valuable for the audience.