Once upon a time……
Two lovers kiss for the first time in a dark street, a family hugs at the airport during Christmas time, a soldier is running with a boy bleeding in his arms. These scenes are stories; they’re tiny moments of people’s life acting and affecting the world around us. Because at the heart of it, that’s all a story is. We encounter storytelling in everyday aspects of our lives. And we all love stories. Humans have been telling stories around their campfires for generations!! From nursery rhymes, to The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R., to the popular series The Crown on Netflix.
Storytelling has numerous important effects on our daily lives. It has been one of the most effective sources of inspiration known to man. Its effect has shaped our world in numerous and varied ways, some boringly obvious to see and understand and some which remain more obscure and elusive in their significance. The value storytelling holds as a source of inspiration and as a teaching tool makes it the most important tradition mankind possesses.
Because of the emotions they evoke, stories transcend borders, genders and cultures. They are fundamental to all cultures, religions and ages. They are myths and legends, novels and plays, poems and anecdotes, films or series, long or short it doesn’t matter, what does is that they connect us emotionally.
Storytelling has earned its place as the most important tradition humans possess. The most important reason for this being that every story contains a lesson to instruct the audience. Stories teach us to love, to forgive others, to be just and to strive for better than we have. The greatest stories ever told function as a reflection on the world we live in and of both the goodness and evil present in our world.
A story can be told using any of the human body’s senses: vision, hearing, smell, taste and texture. Storytelling isn’t a collection of facts, but a narrative with perspective and emotion. Stories can transform people. Through the narrative of a story people develop a deeper understanding, and create their own emotional connections.
Stories well told provoke emotions in all of us—young and old. Joy, fear, excitement, anger, nostalgia. Cubby Graham, social strategist at charity: water said at Spredfast Summit in Austin this October:
“Behind every face is a story. And we believe that every story matters. At charity: water we believe that people respond to stories, not statistics. They move us. They activate us. They drive us. They inspire us.”
Think about your favorite series. When the action builds, your excitement intensifies, and you’re on an emotional precipice—just to be met with the closing credits. “Tune in for more next week.” As humans, we are designed to crave these rollercoaster emotions, these page-turning desires, and we thrive off these dopamine ‘hits’ in our brain. For brands, understanding the behavior of their audiences and triggering these emotions can be a challenge. At a recent Spredfast event in London, Digital Behavioural Scientist, Dr. Jillian Ney said:
The importance for brands to create stories with meaning for their audiences is clear. Stories that create emotion in our audiences drive action—maybe drive purchase. And whether purchase or engagement in its many definitions, action is the behavior that brands want their consumers and fans to demonstrate.
Telling stories on 2017 is going to be more important than ever. Brands that tell stories will win; brands that fail to tell stories will lose.