How Villains Convey Energy To Your Model Story
What is a story without a villain? Most storytelling experts will tell you that while not every hero needs a villain, a great story includes an antihero or villain because these characters cause conflict – and tensions usually make the narrative more exciting.
If your brand story has a hero (your customer) and a buddy (your brand), it makes sense to have an opposing or complementary character who is actively working to create obstacles and challenges that the hero has to overcome to win . The struggle that villains or antagonists wage in the narrative gives the audience an additional level of empathy for the hero and the buddy. The more experience of conflict heroes and sidekicks through enemy characters, the more fascinated the audience becomes when it comes to predicting the outcome and the end of the story.
The content of the brand story may include, but is not limited to, the history, mission, purpose, and core values of your brand. Sharing past accounts to create nostalgia is a great way to seduce your audience, and can also serve as an opportunity to introduce the competing characters that are an integral part of the narrative. What challenges did the brand face at the beginning? Which competitors have gained market share in the industry that has driven a full renaming or product expansion?
Nevertheless, villains and opponents are not only reserved for condemning the actual act. These rival characters can and will be found in the most unlikely places, wherever there is a possibility that the brand, brand history and the entire storytelling process, including its design, will be adversely affected. Even you, as a storyteller, can unwittingly become an anti-hero to the narrative. In order to get a well-told account, we cannot leave anything to chance when we examine the challenges and obstacles that your brand and brand history face and that you may encounter throughout your life's journey.
Why rogues and antagonists?
The purpose of bringing these bad guys to light is not to force you to include them in your brand history (although you can do this very well if you think it's right), but to sensitize existing enemy forces that may want to rip apart from the careful weaving of the narrative that you have constructed.
Villains and antagonists give the plot a context in a way that no other character can do, because they let us see the level of evil or opposition through the eyes of the protagonist.
In the context of brand storytelling, bad guys can range from competing brands to isolated internal systems and processes that disrupt brand value goals and the brand's unified voice and message. When thinking about your brand story villains and antagonists, it's important to identify the level of influence and resistance that each of these characters offers so that you can decide whether to have a leading role in branding, if any.
After all, it's important to understand the unique differences between bad guys and antagonists.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a villain as:
- A character in a story or piece who defies the hero.
- an intentional villain or criminal
- one was accused of a certain evil or a certain difficulty
While an antagonist is "one who fights or opposes another". In many cases, an antagonist is not necessarily a bad guy or even a character. It can be a force that brings conflict and resistance to the protagonist, even in itself.
Contribution to the Branding Strategy Insider by: Miri Rodriguez. Excerpt from her book Brand Storytelling: putting customers at the center of your brand story
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