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What’s the Retail Story?

By Brendan Boyle

Who doesn’t love a good story?

The stories we love most are the ones we engage with more than once and retell to others. Being Irish, it’s almost an intrinsic part of our nature. The idea of brand storytelling isn’t new to us. However, with the rapid advancement of tech and a hyper competitive brand landscape, the craft of visual storytelling to engage your audience has never been more important.

Brands can no longer afford to be faceless - they need to stand for something. Quality range, good value, a reliable service have become homogeneous statements and are no longer enough to keep people engaged. This is where the power of brand storytelling comes in - by communicating compelling narratives, you can set yourself apart and connect with people on a more personal level that reflects your charisma.

Charismatic brands stand out and are harder to emulate. Competitors may fundamentally do the same thing as you, but if you articulate more effectively and position in a memorable way, your brand will be the one that feels unique.

Despite the ability to reach audiences more directly than ever before, the potentially treacherous mix of instant AI generated content and unforgiving era of social media, means it’s also easier than ever to get your brand storytelling treacherously wrong. Modern audiences will also glaze over the familiar so it’s vital to think about the stories we tell and how.

At TapCreative, our visual storytelling is rooted in strategic thinking so our decisions are informed from the start of a project. This provides us with the framework to ensure brands tell the right stories to the right audience and create impact for all the right reasons.

It is vital to understand and articulate what sets your brand apart. What are your brand truths, what is unique to you, and how do you tell your story authentically? We’re all demanding to know a brand’s purpose, values, and story. We want honesty and transparency if we are to become part of any brand’s community.

The fundamentals of brand storytelling haven’t changed, it remains: who, what, why, how, and where.


Identifying the demographic so we can determine your tone and where you tell your stories. Do different geographies play a role? What might be colloquial and fun to one group might be completely lost on another.


What do you want to say and why do you want to say it? It needs to be something worth telling. A box-ticking approach will be spotted a mile off for the wrong reasons. A defined personality coupled with a clear brand purpose, will allow brand storytelling to sound more ownable and believable. It reveals your human side to your audience. In an age of increased digital detachment and decreased brand loyalty, this approach can go a long way to creating genuine emotional connections which will ultimately lead to stronger trust for your brand.


How you say it. Tone of voice is an extension of your personality. Finding the right tone is crucial; are you funny or serious, casual or formal, sassy or respectful, enthusiastic or matter of fact? If the tone feels forced or not in tune with your brand, your audience will experience an immediate disconnect.


Where will these stories be told? Identifying your audience earlier will allow for careful consideration to the platforms that get your message across. For example, we recently worked on an innovative sustainability project for Maxol. With known customer profiles and an abundance of information to distil, we defined a simple communication hierarchy in-store with screen-based content that lent effectively to social messaging, and printed interactive moments to emphasise the brand’s pioneering store initiatives. The right story, right place and right time for the right audience.

Is it time to rethink your brand storytelling? At TapCreative, our deeper insight forged in strategy, helps us to define the narratives and vision to engage your existing and new audiences more credibly. We keep it true to you, find your charismatic edge and stand out with meaning.

Brendan Boyle (Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder of TapCreative.)

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