Storytelling to Connect

Stories matter. From the earliest times, humans passed on information – truth, belief, history, medicine, life skills, everything – via story. Because of this, we are essentially hardwired to love hearing a good, well-told story. In fact, we are more likely to remember information when it is presented in story form. That explains, in part, why we remember song lyrics from when we were kids but sometimes forget the name of someone we met yesterday.

Why do stories work, and how will that help promote your brand to your target audience? Primarily, stories connect, and this begins with a proper understanding of the target audience. Once you have that – and you know you do – it’s time to craft a message containing some or all of the following story elements:

Understanding

This goes back to building and maintaining working familiarity with the audience. Once the brand understands its target, communicators can effectively present something familiar to the market, transitioning the interaction from a transaction to a connection.

Responsibility

When a story draws the audience in and makes them a vital part of the success or failure of the process, gives people a sense of ownership, compelling them to nurture a positive and proactive relationship.

Personality

Stories should feel “human.” They should be emotional, authentic, and evocative, full of life and thought and hope and the feelings that make us all human. When a brand achieves that level of humanity and connects it with who and what they are, that brand begins to transcend a product and become something much more, a part of that customer’s life rather than something meant to sit on the shelf.

Mystery

“Always leave them wanting more” might be a theater cliché, but it’s hugely important as an element of effective storytelling. You always want the audience to lean in, wanting more, especially when the story is over. If the story ends, and they are simply “content,” something was missing in the content or the delivery… or both.

Contrast

In a novel, this story element might be called “conflict.” Whatever term that fits, this compares the central subject of the story and whatever that subject exists to push back against. It might be the mundane or boredom, hunger or pain, or some other feeling of lack… Whatever it is, the subject of the story should be placed in opposition and shown in contrast to that negative feeling or situation.

Urgency

Give people an open-ended opportunity, and they may not act at all. That’s why all the best stories have an element of urgency – of compelling energy into action – about them.

Brand messaging infused with these story elements will stick better and last longer than standard pitches. Those without them just become part of the anonymous crowd of pitches all the other brands are making.