“I don’t know this band, but I like their stories.”

I was at a roots and blues music festival recently. It was great to hear some favorite acts. And it was exciting to discover new performers. It got me thinking about why I liked what I liked. Obviously, the music was a big part of it. But this weekend was packed with great music. This wasn't open mic night at the local watering hole. Great music was expected. It was the ante. So I decided to ask those who went with me.

"What is it about this song (asked as a performer was on stage)?"

It was an interesting collection of answers that had nothing to do with composition, melodic structures, time signatures, harmonic components, etc. Instead, the answers had everything to do with stories.

It was the memories this song brought back – described with rich detail about where and when it was first heard. It was also stories shared about the performer. Adversity she had overcome. Or an interesting road that led her to this point. There was a story about the time and place that a song was written and how that gave it meaningful context.

It's the stories

I write a lot about what stories mean for us. How they can pass on history. Or simplify a complex idea. My festival weekend reminded me that they can add context. Context that can make whatever you are sharing even more compelling.

Music is already an emotional medium. Songs can be wonderful stories all on their own. But when these other stories get attached to them, they become transformative.

There is a great lesson in this for us marketers. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of our brand is not how it looks or sounds. Rather, it is the stories that our brand has the potential to trigger. If we can encourage that, we can foster something transformative for our organizations and all those our brand hopes to serve.