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What You Can Learn From Brand Heroes Like Newman's Own, Burt's Bees and Ben & Jerry's

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“Never meet your heroes,” the saying goes. But disappointment and letdown aren't always the case. Some heroes are just as heroic up close as they are from a distance — the trick is in finding them!

Brands can be heroes, too. Whether it’s giving back to the community, committing to eco-friendly measures, or championing diversity, I’ve seen brands establish themselves as something to look up to, for both the competition and the target audience. As I build my own business, these heroes and their methods have taught me lessons that I can use in my own branding journey.

Related: 5 Killer Examples of Branding Done Right

Storytelling is one of the most powerful marketing tools because it appeals to the emotions and empathy of the viewer. There are a few main ways to use storytelling to establish a hero brand.

Tell the brand’s origin story — especially effective if the brand started as an underdog.

Utilize the hero’s journey in marketing, with the brand as the “hero” character.

Setting straightforward marketing aside for the moment, one of my favorite tropes in branding is the underdog-to-hero journey. Not every brand starts out this way; some brands were favorites from the beginning, had plenty of funding, filled a need without having to make sacrifices. But that doesn’t make for very impactful storytelling.

Audiences connect more closely with brands that they can empathize with. One of the first........

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