brand tomorrow logo

Making You. The Stories We Tell Ourselves.

Image: thanks to Martina Bombadieri

We know we use our designed environment, including brands, to figure out what we think is important and tell the world what matters to us and even who we are.

From the suburb you choose to live in right through to the car/bike you drive, the clothes you choose and the products you buy you are consciously or unconsciously defining who you are through these choices.

What you may be less aware of is the next step in the process of making you.

Every time we make a decision we are referencing a set of patterns or a library of information we have arranged over many years into a system in our memory a self story. 

This allows us to make decisions quickly without having to ‘reinvent the wheel’ on what we believe and what our values are each time we must make a choice.

The collection of stories can be thought about as a ‘self schema’. It helps us navigate our world, what we believe, our ideas about ourselves, how we might feel in a given scenario. 

These self schemas, when faced with disruption or the unexpected, need updating. 

In fact narrative theory that supports our contemporary ideas about story telling and our sense of who we are suggests that any ‘challenge’ to the normal is a chance to update our ‘schema of self’.

When we need to update it is usually our big period of growth, although at the time it kind of feels like a big mess sometimes.

Maybe you lost your job or your you break up with your partner kind of stuff. Our narrative is not solving the issues so we have to update it.

This is a time when we seek other possibilities from friends, or a movie or even a brand narrative. We don’t going looking when everything is running smoothly.

Really, you may be asking? 

98% of our decision making is a subconscious, referencing these self schemas.

If you think that isn’t effected by the images and ideas presented by a brand then think again.

People are increasingly looking to business to offer leadership on social and environmental issues with somewhere between 60% and 80% of people basing their decisions on these factors.

When hoping to have greater impact socially and environmentally with our brand we do well to present narratives that can be used to update these schemas.

These are techniques that bring about action rather than a superficial attachment to a cause to improve marketing stats for a bit. 

It is not your garden variety approach to branding but it is a powerful way to bring attention and action to things that matter to your brand and your audience alike to get results.