There’s a Scientific Reason Why Storytelling Is Such An Effective Marketing Tool.
Storytelling science is providing new insights into content marketing.
For example, Professor Jennifer Aaker of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business conducted an interesting experiment. She had each of her students prepare a one-minute-long pitch, and present it to the class.
One out of ten pitches told a story. The other 90 percent used facts and statistics.
Then she asked the students to write down what they remembered most. Here’s the interesting part—only 5 percent of the students cited a fact, but 63 percent remembered a story.
Conclusion: our brains are hard-wired to remember stories, much more easily than facts and figures.
In other studies, neuroscientists have proven, using MRI research, that sights, smells and emotions cause neurons to fire in different regions of the brain.
And Véronique Boulenger, a cognitive scientist at the Laboratory of Language Dynamics, found that simply reading sentences containing action words sparks activity in the motor cortex.
It seems that our bodies respond the same way to stimuli, whether they’re physical or fictional.
In other words, the human brain does not distinguish between reading or hearing a story and experiencing it in real life.
That’s why stories are so powerful. They elicit physical reactions in us. We feel anxiety, sadness, happiness, relief—whatever emotions the story’s characters are experiencing. And that’s not just opinion—the storytelling science is removing any doubt.
So what does this mean to content marketing?
The Power of Storytelling
Content marketers have long known the power of storytelling. And now, storytelling science is proving how stories can provide you with a much-needed advantage.
A marketing professor at Johns Hopkins University spent two years analyzing Super Bowl advertising. He found commercials that told a story were more popular with consumers, and generally ranked higher on the Advertising Age Super Bowl Ad Meter.
Other studies show that the same holds true for online content and social media. Posts that tell a story are more likely to be liked, retweeted and shared.
Shouldn’t you be using stories in marketing your business? Storytelling science seems to suggest it.
Develop Your Own Brand Story
There are many approaches to developing a story about your business. Here are a few examples:
Some of my favorite comic books as a kid were the origin stories—how Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman came to be. Your brand story can work the same way. Tell the story of how you got your business off the ground.
Did you run into problems along the way? If so, talk about that. People love stories about overcoming adversity.
Talk About Failure
Stories about how smart, hardworking and successful you are sound like you’re bragging. It’s much more effective to talk about failure. Tell a story about a bad decision or a stupid mistake, and what you learned from the experience. People will respect you for it.
Behind the Scenes
People are curious about how things work. Maybe your story can give them a peek behind the scenes. Talk about your team and how you learned to work together.
Your story can also be about what you believe in. Maybe you insist on building things a certain way, or only using quality materials, or never working on Sunday. Just about anything that’s unique to your business can be turned into a good story.
Some of the most effective stories are told from a customer’s point of view. In the best examples, companies go above and beyond in some way to deliver exceptional quality or service.