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The Science of Story: How Brands Can Use Storytelling To Get More Customers

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Storytelling is not only an entertaining source for information, but a way to engage and humanize our messages that helps them stick. Our brains are wired for stories. Like a drug, we seek them out. Good stories create lasting emotional connections that persuade, educate, entertain, and convert consumers into brand loyalists.

Here’s another good reason to believe in the power of stories: You don't have a goddamn choice. We spend a third of our waking hours crafting stories, and the rest of the time consuming them. Our brains are always searching for stories. You need stories. You live your life around stories. Your life itself is a story. So, now find out how you can use them to better understand how brands and businesses can use storytelling to increase engagement and sales.

The Science of Story: How Brands Can Use Storytelling To Get More Customers

  1. 1. The Science of Story Understanding How Stories Work for Brands
  2. 2. Stories are a Base Human Function. More science than art Like a heartbeat, stories come natural They are how we evolved, truly
  3. 3. What is a Story?
  4. 4. “Beginning, middle, and end.” A Story is Not…
  5. 5. “You’re a moron.” Gross Oversimplification “Beginning, middle, and end.”
  6. 6. Story is Structure. Conveying information through the rise and fall of emotion within a range of time.
  7. 7. Connect Emotionally with your audience Story Structure
  8. 8. Connect Emotionally with your audience Build Tension through conflict and obstacles Story Structure
  9. 9. Connect Emotionally with your audience Build Tension through conflict and obstacles Offer Relief and repeat Story Structure
  10. 10. Story Structure It’s a measurable push and a pull — a way to play on feelings — consistently engaging, informing, tempting, and reengaging an audience.
  11. 11. Why We Need Stories. They give us an escape; letting us play in fantasy worlds. Every night, we go to bed and our brain sits up telling itself wonderful stories, both memorable and mundane.
  12. 12. They prepare us mentally for conflict. Like a flight simulator, they help us perform better in the world. We fail tests every night in our dreams, so we can succeed in real life. Why We Need Stories.
  13. 13. Stories Are a Drug. Our brains are wired for stories. Like a drug, we seek them out to find comfort in them. They help us feel joy, comfort, pleasure, fear, tension, fun, love, romance, passion, lust, need, etc.
  14. 14. You Can’t Escape Stories. The average daydream is 14 seconds long, and you have about 2,000 per day, whether you want to or not.
  15. 15. We spend ⅓ of our waking hours crafting stories, and the rest of the time consuming them. Our brains are always searching for stories. You Can’t Escape Stories.
  16. 16. Stories Connect. They help us share information — fire, the wheel, what’s safe, what’s not, cooking, hunting, etc. They create a person-to-person conversation and an entertaining source for information. They offer lasting emotional connections, and are entertaining enough to keep our attention.
  17. 17. “Cool story, bro. Down low!” The Goal: As much useful information and emotional engagement as possible, in the shortest amount of time. Stories Connect.
  18. 18. Facts Tell, Stories Sell The Science of Brand Stories
  19. 19. Stories have a spooky ability to mold our thinking, emotions, and behavior by changing our memory and opinions. The Science of Brand Stories
  20. 20. Only Emotion Endures, and that’s why we use emotion-driven stories to sell brands and businesses The Science of Brand Stories
  21. 21. A Brand Story is an Experience. Stories appeal to fundamental human desires – to contribute, to be included as part of something, to be understood and loved as a result. They help our audience understand who we are as a business, and as a group of people. They give consumers a reason to interact with us, to join us on our journey. It’s the opening of a door, a beginning of a relationship.
  22. 22. Brand Stories Humanize.
  23. 23. Brand Stories Humanize. A story is about creating a person-to- person conversation, making the brand more relatable and appealing. Businesses do not have emotion. People do.
  24. 24. Brand Stories Sell.
  25. 25. Stories help solve a need, or craft a new need based on unarticulated needs and desires. But, people don’t want to know they’re being sold. Brand Stories Sell.
  26. 26. We are not to be sold. We are to be entertained! “So I said, “Don’t shoot, I’m unarmed!”
  27. 27. “Your puns are getting out of hand, and I don’t know how I feel about it.” “So I said, “Don’t shoot, I’m unarmed!” We are not to be sold. We are to be entertained!
  28. 28. Group A Group B Personal stories make a hotel room worth more $126 $133 (Photo & story from a guest) Knowing the artist makes a painting more valuable $100 $110 (Adding their personal story) Short fiction on eBay listing makes an impact $43 $70 (Short story resulted in 64% more bids) *Origina/Hill Holliday conducted a study with a representative sample of 3,000 people.
  29. 29. It’s easier for people to remember stories than cold, hard facts.
  30. 30. The brain doesn’t distinguish between hearing/ reading a story and actually experiencing it. In both cases, similar neurological regions are activated. It’s easier for people to remember stories than cold, hard facts.
  31. 31. Crafting Brand Stories Brand stories are about giving the consumer what they want and need, whether they ask for it or not, and whether they know it or not.
  32. 32. Find Your One Thing. Your Hook Your Why Your One Thing No One Else Has Your One Thing No One Else Can Do That One Thing That Will Get Attention
  33. 33. Find Your Why. Brand storytelling is less about crafting a story and more about finding one. Find your brand’s why, and you’ve found your story There’s always a story behind a brand, whether it’s in the product line or company value system. It’s just waiting to be told. It’s rarely an RTB.
  34. 34. The Brand Isn’t the Hero.
  35. 35. The Brand Isn’t the Hero. Normally, brands believe themselves to be at the center of their story, saving people. The best brands make their consumers the hero of the story, facilitating their dreams and desires Make the product or service the great gift, tool, or mentor so they can save the day themselves
  36. 36. Know Your Audience. Understand the customer and what motivates them, what they want out of life — their goals, dreams, aspirations.
  37. 37. Assume They’re Stupid, Your Story will be Stupid.
  38. 38. “Tell me a bedtime story.” Assume They’re Stupid, Your Story will be Stupid.
  39. 39. “Once upon a time… you have tuberculosis.” “Tell me a bedtime story.” Assume They’re Stupid, Your Story will be Stupid.
  40. 40. Check the Ego, Make the Sale.
  41. 41. We’re still trying to sell, so don’t leave the product or service out entirely Stories that entertain, but do not inform, generally, do not sell Always connect the brand to the story with emotion and purpose. Do it in a believable way. Check the Ego, Make the Sale.
  42. 42. In this industry, we try too hard to force-feed content, stories, claims, RTBs, etc.
  43. 43. We offer one perspective, one solution, one way to think.
  44. 44. Sometimes the Story is in What You Don’t Say.
  45. 45. Tell stories that aren’t 100% clear, so people will fill in their own elements, utilizing story layers and depth to create narratives across audiences. Sometimes the Story is in What You Don’t Say.
  46. 46. Like an iceberg, have the consumer fill in the pieces to an incomplete picture, taking them on their own journey by allowing them to customize their story to fit their needs and desires, and what they envision in their own mind. Sometimes the Story is in What You Don’t Say.
  47. 47. Consider the legendary six-word Story by Hemingway, “For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” It incites a story in your mind. You fill in the pieces yourself. Sometimes the Story is in What You Don’t Say.
  48. 48. Also consider Ogilvy’s creation: The Man in the Hathaway Shirt. This "story appeal" aroused reader curiosity through an eyepatch. How, they wondered, had the man lost his eye? What adventures has he experienced in those interesting shirts? What adventures will I have if I buy one? Sometimes the Story is in What You Don’t Say.
  49. 49. Never Let the Truth Get in the Way of a Good Story.
  50. 50. Don’t Give’m a Song. Give’m Something to Sing About. We’re not just selling products, we’re selling the emotional connections that come from them — the people and passion behind the work.
  51. 51. Intrusive, self-involved marketing doesn’t work, so you must tell stories that endure. Don’t sell a mattress. Sell a good night’s sleep. Don’t Give’m a Song. Give’m Something to Sing About.
  52. 52. Remember, You’re a Storyteller. Everything you do is a story, and the stories you consume help you in everything you do
  53. 53. Remember, You’re a Storyteller. Use the communication of emotion in a specific structure to build brands
  54. 54. Remember, You’re a Storyteller. Believe in the power of stories, and their ability to be a tool, a weapon, for us as marketers, whether you’re writing an email or pitching a client.
  55. 55. The Science of Story by James Dowd

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