Brand Stories: Trust Based on Trustworthy Behaviors
Nike has employed corporate storytellers since the 1990s. Their decision to illustrate the “Just Do It” attitude with ads that support NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s decision to call attention to police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling during the National Anthem is an excellent example of supporting a moral story to correlate meaningful goals with commercial goals. While there was a temporary dip in Nike stock price, the stock price soared to new highs within a week. Sales showed an immediate increase in 2018 post Labor Day sales (31 percent) compared with the same time period in 2017 (17 percent). Those who might discredit Nike’s moral stories by pointing out that the company’s record is not pristine ignore the reality that no one, no institution, and no company is morally pristine.
We have to start where we are. That’s why we need stories that teach us how to face and forgive imperfections so second chances keep us moving toward virtues like justice. Gillette’s decision to call out toxic masculinity in a two-minute advertisement illustrating their tagline “The Best A Man Can Get” is yet another example of adding virtues to a product’s value proposition to increase trust and awareness. Public uproar not only increased awareness, it may have increased the trust that women who buy razors for men feel toward Gillette. Budweiser’s 2019 Super Bowl ad promoting wind energy just adds to the evidence that stories that illustrate moral backbone engage listeners.
Excerpt from Chapter 12, 3rd ed. of The Story Factor (2019) AUDIBLE VERSION HERE