Out of the 380,000 pieces of artwork hosted in the biggest museum in the world, the Louvre, the Mona Lisa is hands down the most famous piece and draws millions of visitors each year. What is it about the 21 by 30 inch painting that garners enough attention that it needs to be covered with bullet-proof glass, be flanked by guards, and have barriers to keep the hordes of people and their camera phones at a safe distance away? Art scholars recognize that the Mona Lisa is in fact a very good painting, displaying Leonardo DaVinci’s ability to closely imitate nature, but among many other very good paintings the quality alone is not enough to merit 6-8 million visitors a year.
The intrigue and interest that surrounds the Mona Lisa roots in her mysterious story, a compelling narrative that captured a nation and made this relatively small piece larger than life. The power of a captivating story turned Mona Lisa into one of the world’s most famous women and differentiated her from the hundreds of thousands of pieces of art in the Louvre. This same principle can be the turning point for your business with a compelling story that differentiates your brand and makes it stand out from the crowd.
THE MYSTERIOUS MONA LISA
The Mona Lisa was installed in the Louvre Museum at the beginning of the 19th century drawing the interest of writers at the time who identified the painting as an exemplary piece of Renaissance art. Even then, the painting had a mysterious aura surrounding it as the woman featured in the portrait couldn’t be conclusively identified. At this time, the Mona Lisa was acclaimed enough to be put under a protective glass, but didn’t stand out among the other pieces in the Louvre. This changed drastically in 1911 when the mystery of the Mona Lisa extended far beyond the muse of the portrait, as the story of the theft of the painting took the world by storm.
The painting, in the “art heist of the century”, was taken right off the wall of the Louvre with no one noticing it was missing until 26 hours later. News of the disappearance broke out on the worldwide stage and ensued a media frenzy. People were flocking to the Louvre to get a look at the empty space on the wall where the painting once hung. In the months following the disappearance, the public was going wild with speculations. The New York Times described how “a great number of citizens have turned amateur Sherlock Holmes, and continue to advance most extraordinary theories”. The public was not alone in contriving wild explanations of the disappearance, as the police arrested high profile suspects Guillaume Apollinaire and Pablo Picasso who were later cleared for lack of evidence. The painting was finally found two years later in 1913 when the true thief, former Louvre worker Vincenzo Peruggia, made an attempt to sell the treasure and was turned in to the authorities.
With the Mona Lisa returned to the museum, over 100,000 people made their way to the Louvre to see the painting in the first two days of its return. The mysterious smile took on a whole new meaning as according to Dianne Hales, “the Mona Lisa had left the Louvre a work of art” and “she returned as public property, the first mass art icon”. Today she is the world’s most recognizable painting with unyielding crowds pouring in to see her each year.
BRAND DIFFERENTIATION AND STORYTELLING
The mystery and intrigue of the story of Mona Lisa differentiated the painting in the sea of countless pieces of art and in today’s marketing world, learning how to stand out in a crowd is a must. Consumers are being targeted by companies all day long, with marketing messages being pushed at them from every channel imaginable. For a brand to cut through all of this noise, it needs a compelling story that sets it apart from the competition. Stories resonate with customers far more than any fact or figure, as they engage the audience, taking them on a journey and giving them something to feel invested in. Telling your brand’s story allows customers to feel what you are about and align themselves with the stories that feel authentic and captivating to them. With a genuine and compelling story as the anchor of your brand, your business and its messaging will have a new meaning and focus that both differentiates it and draws customers in.
FIND YOUR BRAND’S STORY
To connect with your market, your story needs to feel authentic. Stories rooted in the core values of a business ring true with customers and inspire trust and loyalty. Every business feels that they have a good product or offering, but your business is unique in its philosophy, why it came about, and its core values. Each brand has its own story to tell and yours can set you apart from the competition if you employ effective storytelling to resonate with your target market. The brand story must be consistent from the brand name, to the logo, slogan, mission statement, and marketing messages. Every touch point with your brand is an important chance to touch the minds and hearts of your market.
The Mona Lisa has seen lasting attention from its story of mystery and intrigue, demonstrating the transformative power of a narrative to elevate a piece above a multitude of options vying for the attention of an audience. Your brand can tap into the power of story to stand out among the crowd and bring loyal customers to your business.
Tap into the power of story to differentiate your brand with Magic Flight Studios here.