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What all brands can learn about storytelling from fashion ads 

As you may have heard: instead of selling your product or service, you should be focusing on the solution it provides your client.

That very personal, emotion-driven, make-me-feel-or-look-better kind of solution.

Not just the logical, obvious one. 

The story you create around your brand is what will connect you more deeply with clients—it’s the adventure they will want to join. (And what will eventually help you “sell” whatever it is you are selling.)

In addition, your story doesn’t have to be long and complicated, or Dostoevsky-inspired.

It can also be a short, three letter one-liner, as some fashion ads prove.

How fashion ads tell their story and what you can steal

Not only do the following ads grasp storytelling (focusing on the emotional side of their hero, the client), they also get copywriting: it’s short, memorable, and poignant. 

  • Estée Lauder is not selling makeup, they are reminding us of confidence
  • Patek Philippe is not selling watches, they are telling a story about tradition; something you can pass on from generation to generation
  • Hermès is not selling shawls for when it’s windy, and purses to carry your iPhone in, they are setting the stage for “a lighthearted day”
  • Cucinelli is speaking to a soulful moment with a loved one
  • Free People, a specialty women’s clothing brand, is conjuring the creative spirit in everyone
  • De Beers is about embracing new beginnings (it’s not about the colors or clarity of the diamonds); another brand might carry that same clarity diamond, but there is only one De Beers with that unique story and if you want to be a part of it, you should join the club (i.e. buy the product)  
  • Longines projects Kate Winslet’s elegance as attitude   

Notice the irony: these product-based brands are selling impalpable things. 

Again, they are not selling products. They are selling dreams, visions, aspirations, possibilities… and so should you. 

Your story is not your latest product and its features, or your service offering and its price

Your story is that je ne sais quoi feeling I will get after using your product or service.

It’s the promise of a palpable experience—something I will feel.

Show me that experience (whether through visuals—images, videos, etc.—or words—from long copy for web, to video scripts for social). 

Paint that story so that I can picture myself “there.” 

It’s doesn’t have to be over-the-top either. If you’re selling a wallet with unique digital features, for example, you don’t have to bring me to the moon if you don’t want to.

But you can make me feel cool and depict me as an early adopter, on my morning commute, others will want to imitate.

If your service is accounting, show me how I will feel once my business is in order and I can relax at a spa instead of losing sleep over taxes. 

Stories separate you from the rest (whether they are communicated verbally at a cocktail, showcased visually on TikTok, projected across giant buildings, inserted in the metaverse, or printed in magazines).

They showcase your unique DNA. 

Give clients something impalpable—something enchanting—to connect with and they will want to be a part of your story.

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