Rooted in Rap Royalty, Narrative Focuses on Storytelling for the ‘New American Mainstream’

Russell Simmons was a co-founder of the New York shop

(L. to r.) Narrative's Benjamin Vendramin, CCO; Tricia Clarke-Stone, co-founder and CEO; and Aaron Royer, content and technology chief
Courtesy of Narrative

It’s been four years since Tricia Clarke-Stone and Russell Simmons—most notably known as the force behind hip-hop label Def Jam Records—co-founded Narrative, an agency focused on storytelling for the “new American mainstream.”

Since then, Narrative’s 16 full-time employees and freelance collective of “nerds, cool kids and weirdos” have worked for brands ranging from JCPenney to Santo Mezquila, a mezcal-tequila startup founded by musicians Sammy Hagar and Adam Levine.

“For us, it’s about going beyond stories told to stories experienced,” said Clarke-Stone, CEO of Narrative. “And usually how we’re able to do that is by leveraging technology and culture.”

For Showtime’s Billions, the shop created a Kickstarter campaign for the show’s fictional company, Axe Capital, which solicited ideas for Showtime to fund real-life entrepreneurs via the platform. Recently, to promote a signature shoe by Under Armour and Stephen Curry, Narrative developed a wearable, Bluetooth-equipped “Fan Badge” that alerts fans whenever their favorite player does something notable. It now has a patent pending and could be available more widely by the next NBA season.

This story first appeared in the June 26, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.