BRAND Theory: Monsters Inc.

By: Gary J. Nix | Reading Time: 3 min

Image courtesy of Pixar, Monsters Inc., All Rights Reserved

Image courtesy of Pixar, Monsters Inc., All Rights Reserved

I was recently speaking in front of a group of students at New York University about brand narratives: the power of story telling and we got into a conversation about the convergence of brand and emotion. Emotion is a powerful tool since it breeds connection. However, what emotions do you use and how? Let's get some help from some of the best storytellers at Pixar.

Image courtesy of Pixar, Monsters Inc., All Rights Reserved

Image courtesy of PixarMonsters Inc., All Rights Reserved

Happy > Sad

Many effective narratives use sadness and fear. Both of these feelings evoke sympathy, empathy and relatability. If you remember the beginning of Monsters Inc., top scarer, James Sullivan, leads the team at the scare factory in Monstropolis in gathering children's screams for the city's energy.

With that being said, there is another emotion that is even more powerful: joy. Evoking happiness is relatable and inviting. Although misery loves company, happiness does a better job. Furthermore, it keeps people together. Back to our muse in this post, who in the world thought, at the beginning of the movie, that Mike Wazowski and the laughter he created would've been a better source of energy? The allegory is real.

Image courtesy of Pixar, Monsters Inc., All Rights Reserved

Image courtesy of PixarMonsters Inc., All Rights Reserved

Immersion or nothing

Have you ever felt like the GIF above when reading or otherwise experiencing a brand story? If your answer is yes, welcome to the community of approximately 7 billion plus human beings on this bluish-green ball revolving around the sun. While there may be a number of reasons why a brand's story is not resonating with you, a common issue is the fact that the story is not immersive.

When crafting your brand's story, it is certainly necessary to relate to your consumer. Moreover, your story needs to include your consumer and bring them all the way in. As a brand, one of your jobs is to provide opportunities for the consumer to be a part of your brand. The more you do this, the better your connection will be and, subsequently, the better the relationship will be between brand and consumer. Don't bore Boo. Keep her happy.

Image courtesy of Pixar, Monsters Inc., All Rights Reserved

Image courtesy of PixarMonsters Inc., All Rights Reserved

Truer words have rarely been spoken

The Ballad of Mike Wazowski continues with the words he is providing here. As a brand, or at least as one that is interested in longevity and sustainability, nothing is more important than your relationship. The lifetime customer value, a long-term element related to your bottom line, is directly connected to the relationship you have (or don't have) with your customers. 

Yes it is important to be sure that your brand is collecting revenue from the product or service within, the first rule of BRANDarchy is to hold the relationship or, as Mike Wazowski put it, the friendship, paramount. When you do that, your brand emits better energy, connects with people better and makes more money. 

And what brand doesn't want that?