Why we are still obsessed with Storytelling
"Once upon a time"
"...and they lived happily ever after"
"It was all a dream!"
I would like to bargain that there are very few adults today that didn't grow up without hearing a version of those classic lines at some stage in their childhood.
Storytelling is an art that many of us were lucky to be exposed to, starting off as tales of princesses, talking animals and magical powers. Today, stories still leak into our daily lives however, instead of glass slippers we have the latest New Balance and instead of pots of gold, we have credit cards.
But what is it about storytelling that sticks with us through our adult years? While there is an incredible amount of research out there, I worked to narrow it down to three key reasons;
1. We are simply just simply hardwired to love storytelling. From the year dot, it has been believed that humans used oral storytelling to communicate before the written word had been created. Stories then were used as a tool to remember important details and were passed between family members like treasure. Beautiful art was carved and painted on walls of caves which helped later generations depict tales of life at that time.
Nowadays, right from when we learn to speak to adulthood, we think in narratives all day long.
In fact according to writer Jeremy Hsu, "personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations".
2. We learn faster through stories. It has been discovered that we are more likely to remember details that are told as part of a story than with other format. Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that "character-driven stories with emotional content result in a better understanding of the key points a speaker wishes to make and enable better recall of these points weeks later". By nature, we tend to remember things that interest us which is why for decades, teachers & lecturers and often parents create stories to help children remember boring yet important facts.
3. We feel part of something bigger. Humans are emphatic creatures by nature. We respond to stories because they cultivate emotion, a sense of belonging- a connection. When we hear a story about somebody or something with feeling- we often find a way to identify ourselves in the situation. Think back to the last time you watched a particularly emotional movie or TV show. Did you cry when the on screen actors cried? Or perhaps giggle at just the sight of somebody else laughing. We build connections through emotion and stories allow these emotions to be shared.
Storytelling is an ancient art but we see it creeping into modern digital marketing practices such as social sharing, company bios and of course content marketing.
Storytelling really isn't just for fairy tales, it can help your brand connect with your customers, get your message across and enhance your presence online and offline.
An effective way brands can communicate purpose is by sharing their tale in fact, I have found that the brands who are most connected with their audience- have told their story. They've shared what passion started it all or what barriers they had to overcome.
These are the stories that, repeated over and over, stay core to the brand’s DNA and can establish them as authentic and reliable sources in the eyes of their audience.
If you'd like to look into telling the story of your brand, I would love to help!
Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll take it from there.