The best storytelling model is essential to your business. One of the most unifying features of the human race is that we all crave good stories. We love hearing stories. We love to tell stories.
That’s why storytelling is a really good tool when creating your marketing content. But how do you create and shape a good story?
Freytag, Shakespeare and the ancient Greeks
Probably Gustav Freytag (German author of the 19th century) posed that very question when he began analyzing the storytelling models of classical storytellers from the ancient Greeks up to Shakespeare.
A storytelling model that works every time
Freytag found that the ancient Greeks and Shakespeare built their stories around the same structure. Based on his analyzes, he made his own narrator model or storytelling model, called Freytag’s pyramid.
The structure is a bit more complex than the model Aristotle used as structure (beginning – mid – end). On the other hand, it is not as detailed as the common and well-known Hollywood model (or narrative arc).
Freytag’s pyramid has five points (the more common narrative arc has seven points). This makes Freytag’s narrative model very easy to go to — and very easy to build your story around.
- Exposition / introduction: Here all vital aspects of your story is introduced. You uncover the main plot and the background story of the most important characters.
- Rising action: A series of events that continue to build up to the most interesting and exciting part of the story.
- The climax: The situation where the fate of the protagonist is changed. The turning point of a story.
- Falling action: The conflict of the protagonist and antagonist develops — where the former either wins or loses to the latter.
- Denouement / solution: When the conflict is resolved for the protagonist and the audience enjoys being released from the excitement and anxiety that has built up.
Marketing and internal communication?
But is this storytelling model really good to build your communication around? And can it be used for marketing content, advertising or internal communication? The short answer is yes!
Because Freytag’s storyteller model works well as the basis for a feature film for the cinema audience — or for a 30-second promotional video online. Want an example? Check out the well-known Budweiser advertisement, “Puppy love“, from Super Bowl a few years ago. I got all teary eyed watching it.
Cuddle-hormone really works
But why should you, as a business or communications executive, use Freytag’s storyteller model? You don’t want your employees or your customers going all mushy on you — do you? Well, yes you do! And here’s why…
Oxytocin is a hormone produced when we hug and build a trustworthy relationship with another human being. Or when we watch a movie or hear a story that touches us! The hormone increases the sense of empathy so we can feel and understand what others feel.
Related: Cuddle-hormone wins
And at the same time, the amount of Oxytocin in our blood stream tells us how willing we are to help others – both physically and via money donations. We human beings are simply more willing to buy and help others when we have a high level of oxytocin in our body.
So next time you need to get your message out – think about the cuddle-hormone, storytelling and the good narrative model!