Katelynn MarfousiKM
Katelynn Marfousi
August 25, 2022
Updated May 16, 2024
12 minutes read

11 legendary examples in corporate & business storytelling

"Storytelling for business" sounds boring. Here are some kick-ass examples to prove it isn't.

When you think of "storytelling for business", do you picture a gaggle of different Patrick Bateman types all sitting around a log campfire with marshmallows, telling absolutely horrible stories of mortal atrocities?

That sounds awful. Even worse than that, however, is a bunch of boring corporate types that want to talk about synergy and cross-promotional integration and circling back. Yikes. When did marketing lingo get so boring, and does it have to be this way?

This is where the concept of brand storytelling comes in. Brand storytelling uses human language, written by humans, to connect to the humanity of other humans. Oh no, I'm going corporate. Let's try again: Brand storytelling uses stories and real-people language to connect to audiences, potential customers, and future fans.

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This can be tricky to do, partly because speaking from a corporate entity can leave the writer feeling creatively stifled. But more than that, attempting to humanize something that is inherently not human often comes across as forced, awkward, manipulative, or (worst of all) cringe.

Marketing and brand storytelling can happen on various platforms (owned, earned, and paid media) and can range from a tweet, a blog post, a video, an infographic, and everything in between. Technically, all forms of communication are storytelling. Some of them are just really boring. And boring? Well, that sucks.

So we've done the messy work of compiling some awesome brand storytelling and marketing storytelling examples for us all to learn from. If you want to learn how to make people fall in love with your brand, take a look at this practical guide to storytelling in business. But if you'd like to see that storytelling goodness in real-time from real brands, keep reading. 👇

The power of storytelling in business & PR (or, How to make people fall in love)
The power of storytelling in business & PR (or, How to make people fall in love)

With your business, not with each other. That would be creepy.

Platforms to use to tell your brand story

Basically, your brand story can be reflected in everything and anything, from the press releases you send out, to your clammy CEO's podcast appearances, to how you decorate your office bathrooms. Let's concentrate for now on the online platform stuff.

1. Create a hub for your brand with a blog or newsroom

If you want to tell a brand story, you'll need context. The best way to establish that context is to have somewhere on the internet where you can talk about your company's journey, accomplishments, community – everything. The best way to do that is through a blog of a newsroom. Social media can also help – we'll talk about that in a moment – but first and foremost you need a platform that you control. And it just so happens that you can create such a platform with a free Prezly trial, no strings attached.

Here are four examples of real-life company newsrooms that do a great job of showcasing their brands:

2. Build a presence on social media

This is the social media part. Concentrate on only the platforms that fit your brand, and that you will actually use – there's very little point in opening up a company TikTok account, for example, if Ben from HR uses it the one time before leaving it to go stale. A good way of deciding which platform to invest in is by using a tool like SparkToro (they have a free subscription available) to find out where your audience spends their time.

Reddit for public relations 101: How to get the most out of the platform
Reddit for public relations 101: How to get the most out of the platform

The dos and don'ts of working with Reddit in PR and marketing

Which is a whole mouthful of a way to say: use services like Connectively and Help A B2B Writer to submit your expert comments in response to journalist requests. This is often an exercise in patience, since a lot of people respond to these requests and even when a writer does use your quote, they will frequently forget to tell you about it, but it's definitely worth doing if you're pushing a brand narrative. Here are a few tips on how to get the best chance of being included, as well as a roundup of the best HARO platforms to use.

Ok, now you know where to do it – now let's look at how.

Tell your own story with a free site

Control your brand narrative by publishing your very own blog, newsroom or site in minutes with a free trial of Prezly, no payment info required.

Real-life examples of brand storytelling

Brand storytelling example #1 Ryanair on TikTok

The storytelling goodness:

Why it works: Ryanair really does seem like they just gave their professional TikTok to a 15-year-old and said, "make things messy." And it works. Why? Because, first of all, they're hilarious. But also because they don't have an ego. Like, at all. They relentlessly make fun of their "budget airline" status. They make fun of their broke customers and their extra fees for everything. Nothing is off limits when it comes to Ryanair, and people love it.

This is stellar short-form storytelling because it works spectacularly within the parameters of the medium. Ryanair uses the shared language of trending jokes, sounds, and memes to humanize an otherwise meh company that people probably wouldn't think twice about outside of a Google Flights search result.

Brand storytelling example #2 Uber Eats self-care mantra

The storytelling goodness:

Why it works: Listen, does anybody need food delivery apps? Food delivery is the perfect intersection of laziness, convenience, poor budgeting, and instant gratification, yet nearly every person struggles with the "ugh, should I somehow spend $45 on a $12 burrito that is delivered from the place literally 2 blocks away… again?"

So, Uber Eats ingeniously framing their service as self-care? Well, that's legendary. Bubble bath, fresh-cut flowers, and $128 worth of sushi? Don't mind if I do!

This marketing story puts the audience in the narrative not as someone who needs to take a budgeting class, but as someone who graciously, selflessly helps themselves so they have the energy to help others. It's a bold act of self-love with a side of fries at an inscrutable 400% markup. Inspired.

Brand storytelling example #3 Harry Dry on LinkedIn

The storytelling goodness:

Why it works: LinkedIn is sort of the go-to for cringe corporate "storytelling". It's a real graveyard of /r/thathappened content, where people regale stories of their own heroism and bravery in the face of a multitude of Business Problems. So much so, in fact, that the particular kind of LinkedIn storytelling has become a meme.

But when someone does it right, it's a wonderful thing. Harry Dry is a marketing guru who we are big fans of, and his LinkedIn is a breath of fresh air.

This is also a great reminder that business storytelling doesn't have to have a narrative structure, it can simply be presenting interesting information in digestible ways, and the story is that you are a reliable source of engaging and useful information.

Brand storytelling example #4 Timex's Adsum billboard

The storytelling goodness:

Why it works: A story doesn't have to be long to be effective, and Timex proved that with its recent billboard campaign for its Adsum watch. As everyone is clamoring to pack in more futuristic features and make all of their devices constantly connected and buzzing and alerting and pinging, Timex is like… "Nah."

In fact, in ten short words, Timex managed to evoke a sense of nostalgia for the days when every device wasn't screaming at us for a response. Timex doesn't appear to be making a smartwatch any time soon, and they're leaning into the classic, timeless, actually-just-a-watch-and-not-a-tiny-computer aesthetic with their clever marketing.

Brand storytelling example #5 Play-Doh's ad

The storytelling goodness:

Why it works: Similar to Timex's watch campaign, Play-Doh's recent campaign harks back to a simpler time when toys didn't require updates, in-app purchases, or wifi reception to be fun and engaging.

The story? Endless futuristic progress is exhausting. New and constant updates can leave us feeling fatigued and can even impact our children and their play. It's something most of us feel in our gut at one point or another, and can empathise with without the need for over-explaining. The ad just works.

Nostalgia is a powerful storytelling tool, and can be extra effective when your product isn't straight out of Silicon Valley.

Brand storytelling example #6 Goodr's About Us page

The storytelling goodness:

Why it works: It's really easy to make a really boring About Us page. Either the page is an afterthought, and it's clear nobody really cared about the content, or it's an aggressively sanitized and simplified version of the corporate origins. Either way, it's very boring content most of the time.

Goodr decided to do the opposite of that and make their brand story quite the tale of sass. Are they just an athletic sunglasses company? No, they are a margarita-fueled, chaotic, technicolored, hard-partying... athletic sunglasses company. And that's just a far more interesting story.

Here are more kick-ass examples of companies that are telling their brand story without boring everyone to death.

Brand storytelling example #7 The Figmanual

The storytelling goodness:

Why it works: Customer case studies are a great way to showcase how companies use your brand to make their lives easier. Notion highlights a variety of companies that use their software as part of their traditional use cases. One such company is Figma, who uses Notion to curate a "Figmanual" (cute name).

The video starts with a problem: "When I started here at Figma, I started as a team of one. IT was the wild west, there was a bunch of tribal knowledge. Nobody knew where to get anything." Then, in great storytelling fashion, the team talk about how they created a database full of HR information, SOP, and otter cams that everyone can use and build together. It's A+ storytelling because Notion could have just said, "yeah, Figma uses Notion to do their onboarding." Boring. Lame.

Instead, they used the power of video storytelling to share the hero's journey from Problem to Solution, using the whole team and effective visuals to really make the facts into a story. This allows the viewer to start brainstorming how Notion can help them solve their problems. And that's the power of storytelling, folks.

Brand storytelling example #8 Gimlet's StartUp podcast

The storytelling goodness:

Why it works: We all know that podcasts are great for short-form and long-form storytelling, but did you know they can also be effective for… brand storytelling? 😮

Many businesses have fascinating origin stories: Theranos. Enron. WorldCom. WeWork.

But there are also companies that didn't crash and burn that have fascinating origin stories, too. One of those is Gimlet. Gimlet is now a well-known and beloved podcasting powerhouse, but their humble beginnings make for a fascinating tale, as detailed in season one of their podcast.

Their tagline is, "This is a series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one." Charming and slightly chaotic, but ultimately relatable for many startups. In subsequent seasons, they invite other interesting businesses to share their brand stories as well. It's a great podcast and an excellent example of brand storytelling.

Brand storytelling example #9 Conan's YouTube channel

The storytelling goodness:

Why it works: Conan O'Brien is a beloved comedy icon, famous not just for his decades of talkshow hosting, but also for his podcast and generally being an all-around cool guy. Everyone who meets him talks about what an absolute champ he is.

This brand storytelling shines through with his Team Coco YouTube channel where fans can get behind-the-scenes footage of not only Conan and his guests, but the whole Conan O'Brien crew (as we all know, it takes a village to make a comedian). He heavily features his crew, which makes the audience not just love Conan, but the entire production team of Conan and his various projects.

Showing the team behind the company is fantastic brand storytelling. People don't care about your business, but they do care about relatable and interesting people. Corporate YouTube channels that just share traditional sanitized advertisements are just… not interesting anymore. People want to see a new and fresh take on traditional mediums like talk shows, and Team Coco does a great job at this form of behind-the-scenes storytelling.

Brand storytelling example #10 Ahref's user quotes

The storytelling goodness:

Why it works: It's fun to see brands take a playful approach to traditional product marketing. While case studies are not new to marketing (or even new to this list), it's always refreshing to see case studies and brand use cases being highlighted in funky-fresh new ways.

You don't need to go full Notion with a video production to showcase how useful and effective your brand can be. Some well-crafted quotes from some industry people can tell a quick, powerful story about the brand. Ahrefs did just that, and threw in some stylised illustrations for sass.

Brand storytelling example #11 Water is Life

The storytelling goodness:

Why it works: Getting people to donate their hard-earned money is quite difficult. We all know there are millions of people out there with millions of needs, and the pressure of it can feel overwhelming. NGOs and nonprofits essentially rely on the power of storytelling to get anyone to donate, well, anything. Water is Life knows this and used the power of storytelling to help people understand the reality of the situation for many people.

The fact that one in five children won't reach the age of 5 in Kenya is an overwhelmingly awful statistic, but this video does a great job of telling that story in a very poignant, sweet, sad, terrifying, and impactful way. Nkaitole's story is a masterclass in effective brand storytelling.

Tell your own story with a free site

Control your brand narrative by publishing your very own blog, newsroom or site in minutes with a free trial of Prezly, no payment info required.

Conclusion

Storytelling in marketing is more important now than ever. People connect to stories, and a compelling narrative will help you stand out in the cacophony of the internet. Have a suggestion for a great business storytelling example? Hit us up on Twitter!

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