How to Use the Power of Storytelling
“We’re all storytellers. We just don’t call ourselves that, but it’s what we do every day.
For several years scientists and medical researchers believed that people could only get addicted to drugs and alcohol. Then, neuroimaging emerged that allowed them to see blood flow in the brain revealing that humans can be addicted to activities like sex, gambling, food, shopping and well, the power of storytelling.
Thanks to neuroscience we’ve learned more about the power of storytelling in the last 10 years than we’ve ever known before.
We now know which brain chemicals make us pay attention and which make us feel empathy toward another person. Also, we know what triggers those neurochemicals. It’s been proven that stories work, why they work, and we can prove it scientifically.
When your customers read information only, that area of the brain works to decode the meaning. But when you tell a story, everything changes and the brain lights up as if you’re personally experiencing the event.
Telling a story will instantly make your brand more memorable.
So, how can you use the power of Storytelling marketing to gain rapport with your audience and supercharge your engagement? Check out this example to inspire your efforts.
GE: Leveraging storytelling to expand your reach
Beth Comstock, CMO of GE, said, “Behind every person, behind every company, behind everything, is a story of how it got there — and the most relevant stories connect on a personal level.”
The company created advertising focused on the human experience, linking the concept of a childlike imagination to the innovation of GE products.
Check out this clip from their “What My Mom Does at GE” campaign:
The child in the video explains, “My mom makes trains that are friends with trees, a hospital you can hold in your hand, and amazing things that you can print.” It looks at GE’s innovation from the viewpoint of a child, which stirs up emotion and interest from the audience. The video was wildly successful, capturing more than 2 million views to date.
Key takeaway: The trick to using storytelling successfully is to not always talk directly about your products. Instead, use the power of emotion and storytelling to show what those products can do for your audience.
4 Critical Parts of an Amazing Story
There are many layers to telling a story that drives your audience to action. If you leave out an important layer, your story can fail to make sense. The prescription for storytelling starts with 4 critical parts that you can integrate into your next story to instantly make it more engaging and compelling.
1.) Where & When – Clearly stating when and where the story takes place tells the audience if the story is fact or fiction. And, the meaning of context is the setting, so you can’t just leave this part out!
2.) Who is the main character? This is the subject of the story or the hero.
3.) What does the character want? What is the hero trying to achieve?
4.) Who or what is getting in the way? This is the obstacle, the villain or the enemy in the story. Your audience simply won’t like your story without a villain!
This is where you will tell what happened to your main character and most importantly, this is where the villain will battle the hero! Conflicts should arise, problems should occur, and things should get heated. The hero sets in motion an attempt at a solution but fails at first. Always create temporary setbacks. The ups and downs create excitement for your audience along the way.
The result is the final stage of the story. This is where you will explain the correct lesson the audience should have learned and connect back to why you were telling the story in the first place.
So, there you have the basic structure of a compelling business story. Stories have the power to shape our lives and the lives of our listeners. Our personal experience- the stories we’ve lived through- make us who we are today.
Embrace each of your stories as an opportunity to transform, grow and make authentically passionate, deeply meaningful, emotional connections with your audience and watch your business grow.