July 06, 2008

Nothing But The Same Old Story?

At Islandbridge, we like to say that we work with brands that ‘live happily ever after’. That talk might seem a little naïve or clumsy in the current climate when much of the talk is of unhappy endings. What place is there for the storyteller in a world where the monsters under the bed are just waiting for us to turn out the light?

Driving on the gridlocked streets of Dublin in the early July rain with the radio bringing news of economic gloom, doom and echoes of the dark days of the 1980’s, the classic Paul Brady line popped uninvited into my head: “It’s nothing but the same old story”.

There’s more than a touch of gleeful spite in much of the “We said it would all end in tears” commentary which suggests that the sins of the greedy and the insatiable are inevitably visited on the children of the boom economy.

But, as we see it, it’s anything but the same old story. It’s easy to forget that the opening lines of many of the success stories of the past twenty years were heard in an Ireland that had been in a deep economic sleep for hundreds of years. They were dismissed as fairytales, the never-neverland imaginings of the naïve and the foolish who needed to open their eyes to the harsh realities of the grown-up world.

They said it would all end in tears. But, of course, it didn’t.

It’s true there’s a certain naivety in every entrepreneur and small business owner. We still believe in happy endings. And then we work hard to make belief come true.

There are other narratives at work besides the self-pitying one of the naysayers. Lots of them. So let’s switch on some lights and chase those monsters out from under the beds. This is the time when strong brands come into their own. We may be sitting a little uncomfortably right now, but I invite you to stand tall and tell your brand story.

And where to begin? Like all the great stories: ‘Once upon a time...’

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