These actions cover the distinctive processes, methods and activities that help move the story forward, and are not always linked to the company’s core product or service offering.
Take energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull. Their story revolves around an ideal of active emancipation (“Red Bull gives you wings”), but more so than the product itself, it is their massive sports media and partnership division that helps get that ideal across.
Keep in mind that…
Not every action a company takes can become part of its story. As for every section of the Canvas, building a plot for your brand story is a process of curation. Only actions that both serve to move the story forward and keep true to the brand ideal can become part of the plot. French sports retailer Decathlon illustrates this well. Their ideal is to help everyone become an athlete by creating high performance, sustainable and accessible sporting gear. However, a large chunk of Decathlon’s turnover used to rely on selling third-party products from the likes of Nike or Adidas – different brands with different ideals. So, in 2018 for the sake of maintaining coherence in their brand story, Decathlon chose to stop promoting third-party brands. The retailer took on short-term revenue losses but built up recognition for its own product lines. Today, Decathlon products account for over 80% of their turnover.
Brand Storytelling Handbook
While the Brand Story Canvas can be used at both institutional and product levels, it is important not to mix the two. In this section, this means not reducing the plot to your company’s advertising strategy. It also means your products might actually be a resource rather than an element in the plot. Depending on the specifics of your story, the plot can include manufacturing best practices, charity outreach initiatives, workplace improvements, and much more.
Questions to ask yourself
- What actions/activities is your hero taking to reach its ideal?
- Which actions/activities set you apart from the competition?
- Is your product part of your plot, or part of your resources?
- Can you group your actions/ activities into specific categories?