Storytelling #3: The Application of Storytelling

3.2 Using storytelling in commercial creativity

Stories have changed the world over and over again, started wars and ended them, driven civilization forward in pursuit of progress, happiness, and the quest to answer the biggest question of all: who are we, and why are we here? Story defines us. 

“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”

Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

And over the centuries, we've become spectacularly good at finding increasingly inventive ways to tell stories. But when you look at where storytelling is in terms of its history, everything and nothing has changed. Audiences are still looking for meaning and messages that are relevant to them. 

Weave a brand in to these emotional connections and you have the potential to create loyal, lasting relationships between brand and customer.

Add to this the fact that stories are 22 times more memorable than facts alone, and you’ve got a pretty compelling format for commercial communication.

“Fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than nonfiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence. Studies show that when we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to make us rubbery and easy to shape."
Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

But using storytelling as essentially a sales tool does come with some warning. Robert McKee says that when a society repeatedly experiences glossy hollowed-out pseudo-stories, it degenerates. We can't just put filler out in to the world. We need to be making something that's sincere and with substance. Something we believe in. It’s our responsibility to tell relevant stories that need to be told.

Once we have our story, we’re spoiled for choice with how to tell it to our audience. We have a toolkit of platforms and touchpoints, all which can be carefully selected and used to share stories with maximum impact.