At no other time in recorded history have we been so inundated with marketing messages. One company combed through piles of data to glean that each person in the United States saw between 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day in 2022. Compare that to the 1970s when we saw “only” 500 to 1000 ads a day (

When we’re bombarded with so many ads, our brains “nope” and cannot absorb that much data. That means we only process about 100 or fewer ads a day and very few of them “stick.” What brands and ads do you remember? It is different for every one of us. Let us look at a few that have been woven into our society through the decades.

Narratives We Take as ‘Fact’

First, what is a narrative for a business? Simply, it is a message or a story about a business. This is different from a mission statement. A narrative tells one piece of information tied to your business’s brand. If you think about Coke, you might think of happiness. Brown, bubbly water might be a tough sell if they didn’t use emotion. Here are some other examples of narratives that have been woven into our lives.

Diamonds Are Forever

Some marketing narratives have been so incredibly successful over decades that we now assume what we are being told has always been the case. Let us examine diamonds as the ring of choice for engagement. Before WWII, only 10% of engagement rings were diamonds. De Beers wanted that to change because through consolidation, it had a monopoly on the diamond market supply. To sell its growing stockpile of diamonds, demand needed to be generated, which required marketing. They hired the marketing firm of N.W. Ayer.

According to The New York Times, N.W. Ayer’s game plan was to “create a situation where almost every person pledging marriage feels compelled to acquire a diamond engagement ring.”

And, boy, did they succeed! I’m sure you know the slogan “Diamonds Are Forever,” which is still being used in their marketing today. To read more about the complete history of this marketing narrative/campaign go to

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Why in the world were we encouraged to eat an apple a day? Why not a pear, an orange, or a bowl of blueberries? What made the apple so special? Back before safe drinking water was readily available, people of all ages used to drink hard (alcoholic) cider because it killed the germs in the water. People stayed healthier this way. Apple trees were grown to produce the types of apples that were less sweet for the express purpose of making hard cider. All was great until the temperance movement and prohibition came into play. No longer was alcohol in favor and was, in fact, against the law.

“. . . (cider) apple orchards were cut down and burned. Before Prohibition, apples were largely used for hard cider and baking. Apple growers, who literally saw their future going up in flames, invented phrases like “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” to encourage people to start eating apples. Sweeter apples more suitable for eating were developed and planted.”

Thus, to keep their livelihoods, apple orchard owners had to create the marketing narrative about eating an apple a day to keep their businesses alive and thriving. Who knew? To read more about it, go to

Got Milk?

When bad weather comes sailing through, there tends to be a run on the grocery store. The aisles that typically sell out of product are toilet paper, water, and MILK. How in the world did milk become such an important staple that it even has its own spot on the food pyramid? Back in 1993, the California Milk Processor Board was figuring out how to use money provided by its members to sell more milk. The board representing the milk farmers in California hired the marketing firm of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. This marketing group came up with the slogan “Got Milk?”

“The “Got Milk?” campaign, the 3-A-Day Dairy campaign, the Healthy Weight with Dairy campaign, the Real Milk Comes From Cows campaign, and the current, inane Bedtime Milk campaign are all funded by these mandatory assessments. In total, these ads have created a nearly universal perception among the public that we are in the midst of a calcium crisis and that only milk and dairy products can save us from the epidemic of weak bones and osteoporosis. It has not escaped notice that essentially every scientific article published in support of these advertising claims is based on research funded by the National Dairy Council.”

Who knew? If you want to read more about the history of one of the most popular marketing campaigns of all time, go to

What Does This Mean for You?

Think about how we are socially trained by being exposed to up to 10,000 marketing messages a day. What do we believe? How do we make choices? Do external messages influence how we think, make judgment calls, and interact with each other? For each person, those answers might be different, if we even know to ponder them. And, since we are so conditioned by marketing, do we create opinions about a product and service when it is lacking? Yep. We sure do. Have you noticed your opinion might be more on the negative side than the positive when there is a lack of information?

So, what is your narrative for your business?

First, everyone has a narrative. Who created it? What is it? If you have a marketing company or are a person who is consciously steering the ship of public thought about the business, the answer most likely popped into your head. It’s like when we see the Nike Swoosh and we immediately think of shoes and Nike. How does the community know, think, and engage with your brand? How do you as a company reinforce your brand in the community? Where do they see/hear about your brand? For example:

  • Word of mouth via neighbors and the parent network
  • Branding through signage
  • Social media with ads, posts, videos on all the platforms that your demographic (i.e. pet parents) utilizes
  • Google searches from ads, local search, information located on Google Maps, and organic search results
  • Voice search on various devices
  • AI, although still in a baby stage, is the upcoming place to watch for your brand exposure
  • Newspaper
  • Online reviews
  • Radio
  • Influencers
  • Community events

A quick and easy exercise to tackle your narrative is to start by writing down every place you remember seeing your brand and what the message is that you recall about it. Then, actually go look at the messaging on the various places it is posted and see if it matches with what you recall. Some questions to ask are:

  • Is the messaging consistent? Is the same story being told in every place people look?
  • What is the messaging? Is it clear, concise, and easy to grasp while scrolling through or scanning on a mobile device? Think about famous marketing campaigns like “Got Milk?” and “Just Do It.”
  • Is your business’s brand (logo, colors, tone, theme) used on all of the marketing messages?
  • How often is your brand being promoted across multiple platforms on the Internet?

Concise, simple, powerful, understandable, and easy-to-grasp messaging is tricky. It’s not easy to master, nor is it a snap of your fingers to maintain. Being aware of what your business’s narrative screams to the world is the very first step. Then, deciding what to do with it is the second step. Either you control how your business is perceived or the rest of the world will through their comments, reviews, and interactions on the Internet. What are you waiting for?

If this all seems extremely overwhelming, then reach out to us here at Beyond Indigo. We live, breathe, and create narratives all day long. We are happy to help. Simply go to Contact Us at and we will schedule a call to get to know you and to learn where you are stuck the most.