Why do we stick logos for an exercise program, a motorcycle, or a sneaker on our clothes, notebooks, or automobile’s rear window? Because we believe in the story associated with that logo and we want to “shout out” that we share the story’s values. In this interview with Peter Davis, Owner of Hero’s Quest Consulting, where he helps leaders use storytelling to attract their most natural audience, we learn how a tagline, a form of trademark, attracts consumers by telling a story.
To appreciate taglines as a form of storytelling, we must understand the purpose of storytelling. Peter points out that “humans have been telling stories since the dawn of time.” In prehistoric times, “if you hunted bear, you told a story of the bear hunt on the walls of your cave.” The bear hunters used “story to deliver meaning to the rest of your tribe” and answered the question, “What does it mean to be bear people?” In the more recent past, President Kennedy used storytelling in his “We Go To The Moon” speech and Dr. King used storytelling in his “I Have A Dream” speech to create a common, national purpose and to paint “a picture of what the future looked like,” respectively. In all cases, the storytelling inspired a common set of values and a common world view. The purpose of storytelling is, thus, to “integrate others into our tribe and to tell the stories of our world view.”
Peter explains that businesses attract their natural audience when “you’re attracting people who share your world view and values.” Peter defines a business’s natural audience as “people who actually want to buy from you, work with you, invest in you, fund you, volunteer for you, whatever you are asking of that audience.” The natural audience seeks “very simple story telling, with deep meaning, that’s easy to adopt, and share on behalf of the original storyteller.”
Businesses may explore any of 12 archetypal characters in a story. The archetypes include, for example, the outlaw, the hero, the sage, and the jester. Peter describes the importance of archetypes to storytelling: “they each have their own structure, and they each have their own core values, and they each have their own call to action, and they each have their own shadow side, and they each have their own strategy, so it’s a very compelling way to organize your storytelling.” Archetypes, inherently, convey a common set of values and world view.
Taglines, like logos and other trademarks, identify a source of goods and distinguish that source in the marketplace. Taglines based on storytelling archetype provide a meaningful and easy-to-adopt story to attract a business’s natural audience. Peter reminds us that “we already know the story.” We understand all that comes with an archetype. A business merely provides a sliver of the story in an archetype-based tagline “and we are going to fill in the gaps.” For example, the tagline, “Live Free and Ride,” (Trademark Registration No. 3,297,331 to Seacoast Harley-Davidson, Inc.) calls to a natural audience – the outlaw. Consumers fill in the rest of the story: breaking free of the daily 9-5 grind, sitting on a powerful machine, and traveling with no destination in mind. A tagline does not attempt to tell an entire story. An archetype-based tagline tells “the belief system, the world view,” and consumers tell the rest.
Consumers who purchase the tagline-associated products or place logo stickers on a bumper proclaim tribe membership to the world. These consumers have chosen to separate themselves from those who purchase competing products. Seeking trademark registration of these taglines protects the business’s intellectual property and honors the consumers’ choices.
I want to thank Peter Davis for sharing his storytelling and branding expertise. To learn more about Mr. Davis’s consulting practice, please visit Hero’s Quest Consulting.
Hutchison Law, LLC has experience protecting intellectual property rights, such as trademarks and taglines. To learn more about our intellectual property practice, please contact us at 410-978-7287 or email@example.com.
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