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Benefits of Storytelling for Business

by MARCUS KRIEG, on Dec 4, 2017 1:28:00 PM

The 4 Superpowers of Stories

Storytelling has been one of our most fundamental communication methods for thousands of years. Brands who can create and share good stories have a powerful advantage over others.


When you package your message within a story, it can be 22x more memorable than presenting just facts.

That's because evolution has wired our brains for storytelling.

And by telling a great story, you can actually change the way your prospects think and engage with your brand.

Stories Have 4 Superpowers:
  1. Emotion
  2. Attention
  3. Belief
  4. Memorability

As a sales and marketing leader, you can use stories to better engage your audience and increase your bottom line.

If customers can see themselves as characters in your story, they’ll be more likely to adopt your product and experience the transformation you offer.

Superpower #1 – Emotion

Have you ever watched an action movie and felt your hand or foot twitch during a fight scene? Smiled during a cheesy RomCom? Been embarrassed for one of the characters? Or even felt afraid during a horror flick?

That’s because our brains act like stories are real, and have real physiological reaction to stories.

When we’re being told a story, not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but our auditory, olfactory, visual, sensory and motor cortex can be activated too.

In other words, a story can put your whole brain to work, and cause you to FEEL what the protagonist of the story is feeling.

And as countless brain scans have shown, we don’t make rational decisions when we buy. We make emotional decisions and then backward-rationalize it with logic. So emotional is a powerful tool.

Superpower #2 – Attention

Stories are the ultimate attention tool because they constantly create and release tension. The reason this works so well is that our brains crave certainty and closure.

That’s why new TV shows like Lost and Game of Thrones are so addictive, while old Sitcoms like Seinfeld or Cheers don’t have the same effect.

And it’s more than just the cliffhangers at the end of each episode, although cliffhangers are one example of the kind of techniques you can use to create binge-able content, even if you think your industry is “boring.”

Did you know that stories also trigger the release of neurochemicals, like Oxytocin and Cortisol?

Cortisol is released as a reaction to stress and indicates that you’re so “immersed” in the story that your body is reacting like it’s actually experiencing those events. It’s one of your fight or flight hormones.

And then there’s oxytocin, which researchers have discovered is responsible for empathy. The longer you’re immersed in a story, the more you’ll empathize with the protagonist or hero.

Maybe that’s you, a happy customer, or even a fictional character that embodies your customer archetype.

Superpower #3 – Belief

When your prospects engage with your stories, you can literally create beliefs by showing them how YOU, a customer, or even a fictional character, came to believe the same thing.

When a character has an epiphany in your story, your customers will experience that same epiphany right alongside them, which is why stories are the ultimate tool for transferring values and beliefs.

And that makes sense when you think about it, because isn’t that how we teach children morality? By sharing parables and stories?

Some scientists even believe that stories are able to activate parts in the brain that make listeners feel like the story was a part of their own experience and they had the idea themselves. It’s as close as we can get to the movie Inception.

So how does that tie into sales?

Well, the big idea is that if you can take what you know and believe about your product or service, and transfer that into the mind of your prospects, then the purchasing your product or service becomes a no-brainer.

Otherwise, you don’t have a marketing problem, you have a product problem. Make sense?

So building positive beliefs is one of the cues we use to decide when we NEED a story, versus when a story is just an amplifier.

Superpower #4 – Memorability

We simply remember stories better than we do other types of information.

In fact, messages delivered as stories can be up to 22x more memorable than just facts.

Scientists have many reasons for this, but like we mentioned earlier, the BASIC idea is that stories engage much more of our brain than do logic and facts.

Memory champions actually create story templates to memorize the order of 52 cards in a deck in under 20 seconds. They craft a variation of the story based on the order of the cards, and that’s how they use story as a hack for recall.

And before paper and printing technology, knowledge and information were passed down generation to generation, largely in the form of stories. It’s a natural part of the human experience and it’s time marketers catch up to the way people actually make decisions.


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