Indy Sen

February 2, 2023

The Last of Us: The power of a story and a good ugly cry 😭

I’ll admit it. I’m totally that person who tears up when a movie or show delivers the feels 😭.

If you haven’t caught the "The Last Of Us" on HBO (based on the acclaimed video-game by the same name) let me tell you that it delivered in the past week one of the most emotionally resonant episodes of TV I’ve seen in a while.

No spoilers here, but it took a plot device from the game and turned it into an hour-long character study of what it is to love, be loved, fight tooth and nail for the ones you care about, as well as know when it's time to let go.

In that, the show punched well above its weight when it comes to your typical pandemic/zombie-ravaged earth survivalist fare. Even better, it got me hooked.

And that’s the purpose of storytelling, isn’t it? To stir an emotion, and create a connection with its audience that gets them invested in how the rest of the story plays out.

The best brands understand the power of storytelling. Apple, Nike, BMW or Google don't just have customers—they have evangelists who fully subscribe to their view of the world.

One could argue they can because they're so dominant. But that's certainly not where they started. In fact they got there because they were crisp about their company narrative from the get-go, developed and nurtured it alongside their offerings, with some tweaks here and there.

I bring this up because at a time where companies are focused on growth, or even survival, it'd be a mistake to lose sight of your story.

I'm not saying go all out and hire an HBO-grade show-runner, or start your own streaming service. But don't be afraid to pull at the narrative strings of what makes your product and/or service special, especially if you have conviction that it is. If you're stumped, go talk to your most successful customers, and ask them why they still use your product *today*. Your hero videos, case studies and brand campaigns will write themselves, trust me. And it'll beat anything ChatGPT comes up with 😉.

A standout example of company storytelling in recent times is the Google "Dear Sophie" ad, which was inspired from an actual user story. While the spot is about the gamut of products Google offers to let people make the most of the Internet (Gmail, YouTube, Chrome, etc), I challenge you not to watch this video and get emotional. I was a new dad back then, and boy did I ugly cry. 

Was it expensive? Doesn't look cheap to me. 
Was it simple, convincing and authentic? You bet. 
Did it humanize the brand? No doubt.

Every great company has a story worth telling. Now is the time to flesh it out. Because the payoff of investing in your brand's storytelling is not just that you'll get the right customers and prospects onboard over time, but you'll also make your employees beam with pride. 

In times like these, there's no better story than that. 

#storytelling #brand #marketing