The Power of Story: Four Things We Can Learn From Rapha


“Technology is changing. People are not changing. This is pivotal.”

I wrote these word in the blog of the last company I worked for almost a year ago, in May of 2011, in a post entitled Storytelling and the Power of the Social Network. And while this might be old news, I think it’s news that bears repeating.

That said, I think that storytelling is quickly on its way to becoming a buzzword. Something we all talk about a lot but that has little meaning behind it. It doesn’t have to be that way. Stories can still be told, and be relevant. And it’s important for brands to get this right.

One of my favorite examples of great branding through storytelling many of you might not have ever heard of. I, myself, only heard of this company from a friend a few years ago. And that might have been that. I’m not their demographic and I’ll never buy something for myself from this website. But my boyfriend, much like the friend who first mentioned this brand, is a cycling enthusiast. And this is one of his favorite brands. 

The gear looks good, for sure. But that’s not what interests me. What’s fascinating to me is that this UK based company is selling a great story. And as content creators, social media pros and brand strategists, we can all learn something from Rapha’s story.

1. Tell a good story. Content is king, after all, right? On the Rapha website, you can check out posts about rides and races. Written by the people doing the riding. They also have a blog with photos and posts.

2. Make it look good. Everything about this site is beautiful. From the embedded videos (you can check them all out on Vimeo) to the images of their products, it’s all so great looking, you can’t help but click through.

3. Be consistent. Every bit of Rapha’s story is consistent. Email marketing, website, pop-up shops. From the look to the feel to the voice. Street style shots or professionally shot video, it’s all the same conversation. That’s important.

4. Don’t make shit up. Your brand came from somewhere. Don’t lie about the origins. Sure, you might not need to shout them from the rooftops, but don’t be caught telling lies. If your story is not quite what you were hoping it to be, keep writing it. Rapha does this with rides and pop-up shops and constant development of their brand. Could they dispense with all that, keep making gear and be OK? Probably. Is that a good story? Not so much.

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