Stories help you remember. More and more companies use stories as part of their communication – both internally and externally. But what is storytelling and should you use it in your business?
What is storytelling?
Spinning a story is one of the very basic and natural ways we human beings communicate with each other.
For more than 30,000 years people have been telling stories – through image sequences, drawings and words. And storytelling has not just been a part of the cosy conversation around the camp. Stories have been a very essential tool for creating survival for our species and our tribe – and for socialization in society.
People tell stories, artists and art tell stories, television tell stories, ads tell stories. We use the storytelling as part of our daily lives. Just think of the old cave paintings, the Bayeux tapestry, church frescos, comics, TV shows, movies and animations.
Your recipient “experiences” your story
A good narrative is excellent to help your audience experience your story – to live your story. And this creates understanding and feelings in your recipient’s body and mind. And this is essential, if you want your recipient to understand and remember your message.
Related: Archetypes in storytelling
Memory is linked to emotions
Feelings, comprehension and retention (memory) are closely tied to the limbic system in our brain. This is where our brain determines what feels nice – or what could be a threat. If something feels nice and creates positive resonance in our body, we remember it with pleasure. On the other hand, if something is unpleasant or horrifies us, it can override our system and create trauma that settles deep in our minds and in our memory. So you should try to make your recipient feel something (preferably something pleasant).
Telling a tale as a marketing tool
Stories in marketing is not just about telling a story. It’s not just about making a new video or a new commercial that uses a storytelling model. It’s a lot more about telling your brand story across multiple channels. Just think of iconic brands like Malboro or Jack Daniels.
Why you should use storytelling
Telling a story is a strong tool to make your viewer / recipient pay attention to what you say. It also helps your target audience understand your message and it helps them remember. Because as human beings we remember information much better when it comes in the form of a visual story of images or drawings than if it is conveyed as a list of facts or a long academic text.
We constantly use 25% of our brain capacity to decode visual information. On the other hand, people are 60,000 times faster to decode visual information than for example. to read or to hear information.