Storytelling is in. Brand stories and storytelling are the vehicles of choice for content marketing. But not all stories are created equal.
One of the better brand stories is by GoldieBlox, which was launched in 2012 as a way to "introduce girls to the joy of engineering at a young age.” Founder Debbie Sterling earned a degree in mechanical engineering and was struck by how few women studied to become engineers.
“Construction toys develop an early interest in science, technology, engineering and math,” the GoldieBlox website says. “But for over a hundred years, they’ve been considered boys toys. GoldieBlox is determined to change the equation. We aim to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of female engineers.”
The young company, which went from Kickstarter funding to a $1 million in orders in six weeks, features BloxTown on its website. This is a storytelling showplace. There are videos, apps, toys and “The Gang” – four young multiracial women who personify the goals of GoldieBlox. There is Goldie Blox (mechanical engineer and Ms. fixit), Ruby Rails (software engineer and dressmaker), Li Gravity (daredevil who calculates the physics of her stunts) and Valentina Voltz (gadget lover and musician). They even have their own compatible pets, like Nacho, Goldie’s basset hound sidekick who “eats, farts and drools.”
Products are placed on the web page as just another avenue to adventure.
GoldieBlox has a blog with frequently updated content, typically featuring women engineers and technologists, who are called #goldmodels. The blog invites stories from women with careers in scientific and engineering fields (“Engineers in the Wild”), as well as from young girls whose interest in those professions has been piqued.
GoldieBlox is an excellent example of a brand built around and fueled by a story. The story and the brand are inseparable. The GoldieBlox brand story works for several reasons:
- The story about the brand is authentic
- The story has human appeal
- The product and the brand story are closely linked
- There is a clear call to action.
Too many brand stories are forced or superficial. They come closer to brand hype than a brand story.
Like any other good story, a brand story needs to resonate with its audience, to touch as many of their senses as possible so people feel transported to where the story takes place. That place can be as close as the family living room where a young girl constructs her first whirligig.