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The psychology of stories
Sarah Walker
Global Neuroscience Practice Director
Millward Brown
Using tools from neuroscience and
psychology to improve our
understanding of brands and
advertising
Neuroscience @
AIM:
6000+
Projects
200+
Clients
60+
Markets
Storytelling
Everybody’s talking about…
The default:
‘Let’s all talk
about me’
Stories can help brands
engage people and
overcome their
indifference
But most of us are indifferent towards brands…
so telling your own story may not help much!
Your brand doesn’t
have to be the
to SHINE
STAR
Great advertising creates change
for brands
Changing the brand
associations that
feed a decision
Changing the
criteria for a
decision
Stories are powerful tools for
creating change
— By creating emotional journeys
— By building brand cues and associations
— By making information more compelling
— By telling us how and when to use brands
Stories can: create emotional
journeys
Stories can: create emotional
journeys
?Which one is
A:
B:
Stories can: build brand cues and
associations
Availability
heuristic
Stories can: build brand cues and
associations
Memory
cues
Stories can: make information
more compelling
Fluency
heuristic
Stories can: make information
more compelling
Stories can: create the script for
how and when to use the brand
Stories can: tell you how and when
to use the brand
Similarity
heuristic
But: the brand can’t just be tagged on the
end like a sponsor
ENABLER
REWARD
It needs a role – there’s no single answer
CHARACTER
HERO
It needs a role – there’s no single answer
But the role your brand is playing must be
credible for people
The moral?
Credible
Relevant
Worth listening to
Stories can be powerful tools to change brand
image
But only if they are:
Chinwag Psych London 14. Sarah Walker, Millward Brown. “The neuroscience of stories”

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Chinwag Psych London 14. Sarah Walker, Millward Brown. “The neuroscience of stories”