Why do stories hold us all in awe?
What is the human connection to stories, that makes them so captivating to listen to, read about, or watch unfold before our eyes?
Stories can be so emotionally agitating that they can make you cry… even when you know that they are not real… like in movies.
And, in marketing, it is not different… powerful brand stories can be the game-changer in your efforts to attract leads and build your marketing profits.
Stories can help you to build relationship bonds with your customers. Talk about brand loyalty and other intangible business assets.
With stories, you can answer to those inner dialogues going through your prospects’ minds and persuade them quickly, and convincingly too.
A captivating story has a way of changing our perceptions and appreciations of things.
Now that you know how stories can turn around your marketing fortunes… How do you start kicking it in?
Well, yours sincerely’s got you covered…
So, in this article, you will find out…
- How and why stories mess with our minds.
- Why stories are better than just plain old vanilla facts and figures
- How to harness the power of stories
- The three things you need to tell a great story
- How to tell a captivating marketing story
- The key to telling stories better.
And, knowing these things, you can start crafting your incredible-hulk-powerful stories to start smashing profits to smithereens
Let’s get started quickly… strap your belts on, let’s fly…
How and why stories mess up our minds
Studies show that stories affect our emotions and kick-up the production of hormones that affect our behaviors.
Have you ever watched a horror movie and felt your heart skip a beat? Probably when the demons came at midnight and wanted to pluck the eyes of little Cindy?
Oh yeah, that’s it, your heart skipped a beat and started racing like a Porsche Panamera at 250 miles an hour.
You felt yourself perspiring… you were afraid something nasty was going to happen to her…
Then magically and suddenly, the little medallion on her chest, light up in vibrant gold and burned away the ghouls coming after her.
You found your pulse getting back to normal…and you are happy that Cindy is still alive and can continue to attend her music school, where she sings every Friday in her tiny cute voice.
You felt this way because little Cindy’s story caused your brain to brew up a cocktail of chemicals that caused you to feel for her. You felt empathy.
So, what are these chemicals that can mess our minds up when we hear or read stories that touch us?
Here they are…
Whenever you feel stressed up. This is the culprit, also known as the stress hormone. When you watch movies or read stories that make your hairs stand on their ends, that’s cortisol buzzing you up.
And guess what, it affects memory formulation as well, the reason why you still remember the movie that made you cry.
How did you feel when your favorite movie character came back to life after you were already griefing that he died… Did you feel relieved and happy?
I guess you did.
And that’s Dopamine’s handiwork… makes you feel a sense of reward and fulfilment.
Perhaps the greatest effect stories have, is that they make you feel for the character… stories build empathy within us…
And that’s cos of Oxytocin…
Which is responding for bonding and feeling of love and attachment.
Now, you see how stories stimulate the mind, it’s time to find out how to harness their power…
But, before we wade in deeper, I guess, you need to get this new insight…
Why stories are better than just plain old vanilla facts and figures
Wonder why plain old vanilla business presentations don’t cut it?
You’d rather be out there reading a good yarn off your feeds than brave a 1-hour spat of uninteresting and boring business growth facts and figures.
That’s cos features, facts and figures have no emotions. They do not engage the brain as much as stories do.
Recent research showed that facts and figures only activate a single area of the brain, the Wernicke Area__ where speech and language processing takes place.
Things become different when stories are involved…
The brain becomes more active with other areas of the brain not previously activated, lighting up with activity. The areas of the brain involved with vision, hearing, movement and smell processing.
This increased brain activity causes us to remember more and get involved more compared to when it was only numbers and figures and facts.
It doesn’t matter if the story was presented visually, orally or by reading. The result is the same.
This study also showed that our brains react the same way with words as it would with the actions associated with the words… this is why descriptive narratives are so powerful.
Our brains play out the roles suggested by words even when we were not physically involved with the action.
It is because of the feeling of involvement that makes us remember and relate with stories more than we do with emotionless facts and figures.
So, let’s leave the brain now and find out…
How to harness the power of stories
For your brand, product or service to stand out, it must be unique.
And if you don’t tell your audience how unique you are or what makes you different, they will never know.
Stories are the weapon you need. Stories are what will make you different. Stories are what will make you become endeared to your audience.
To harness the power of stories, you must tell stories that stir the emotions of your targets.
Your story should not just stir emotions… it must stir emotions that resonate with the 3Bs of your prospects… their beliefs, their behaviors and their belongings.
A football (soccer) jersey turns from being a piece of patterned color fabric to a story and an experience… when it is signed on by Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
People buy because of emotions and not facts.
The more you draw on the emotions of your prospects, the more their perception of you and your brand grows in their minds and this will affect their experience of you.
Let your copies, marketing messages tell stories that target desirable emotions in your targets to deliver your goals.
The reason why symbols are powerful is that they carry stories, deep meanings and experiences associated with them…
This is why soldiers fight to the death in defence of the integrity of their nations and what they stand for. A soldier will give his life to keep his nation’s flag flying in battle.
Tell stories that build a community of ardent loyalists about your brand… this is what brands like Apple do.
Want to start telling your great marketing story?
Take a look at the…
3 Things you need to tell a great marketing story
Stories don’t exist in a vacuum. Every story needs an audience, so…
Who is your audience? And how does your story relate to your audience?
Without an audience, your story is nothing but a wasted creative energy___and with a wrong audience, your story pretty is much nothing but rumbling noise and will achieve you nothing but raise eyebrows.
Your story should resonate with your audience. It should pick their interest and show them an interesting desirable picture. This way, you hook them and get them coming to trust you and bond with you.
When you know your audience, then the stage is set for your story.
Every story needs a hero. The story always revolves around the hero.
And in this case, your marketing story revolves around your prospects, your customers, your audience…
This is why your audience is the hero of your marketing story and not your product or service or brand as you might have thought contrarily.
Why is this so?
Because your hero (audience) is troubled by their pains (weight problem, anxiety, depression, unproductivity, financial insecurity, self-image problems)___ and they want to move from that point, I call it point A to a different and better point, point Z, where they feel happy and fulfilled.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your brand, product or service is the hero.
It is always about your audience and what your audience wants.
The theme of your story is your audience and not your brand or your product.
Your Brand, Your Product
Your brand or product or tool that your audience needs to arrive from point A to point Z, the place where they want to be.
Your marketing story should tell your audience why your tool is the right one and the best one for them in making their transition.
Now, you know what you need to tell a captivating marketing story. How do you start?
How to tell a captivating marketing story
Start with a hook
What you say is not as important as how you say it.
Don’t give away the story before you even started… this is done with a hook.
Drive the curiosity balls of your audience up. Get them hooked with your opening and hold them hostage.
Make it relatable
Stories make more sense when we can relate to them.
Your story needs to relate with your audience to build the emotions and stir up the pool of brain chemicals necessary for your audience to bond with you as well as set their cerebral ping pongs running___ Increased brain activity leads to greater retention.
Make it easy to read and understand
If it needs a dictionary handy, it becomes hard work. Stories are supposed to be fun and experiential.
Therefore make it simple and enjoyable to read.
Here’s what Mark Twain said about writing in simple language…
“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English―it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in…”
Make it lively and colorful…
Make use of descriptive phrases to breathe life into your story and make your reader live the story. Get his brain light up with vivid and vibrant descriptions.
As I showed you at the beginning of this article___ the brain responds to descriptive words in the same way it will respond to the actions associated with those words. So maximize this discovery in your stories.
Make it pleasant
Of course, you know that your story needs to have a pleasant ending where your audience becomes the hero through your brand.
If the happily-ever-after is not clearly there and defined, your audience will feel incomplete and by association, your brand is inadequate in taking them to the desired experience.
You should avoid giving your brand the wrong perception in the mind of your audience at all costs.
Don’t ever do the U-turn
How do you react when you hear this story killing phrase…
“To cut the long story short.”
it’s a story killer, never use and if you are used to using it, stop it.
The mere mention of the word ‘cut’ disrupts your readers’ train of thoughts and jolts them back into reality… denying them the experience of the story.
It’s like waking a kid up a dream… when he was about getting a sweet kiss from his celebrity crush…
Instead of cutting your story short in the middle___ make it short from the onset___ by cutting away the fluffs and fillers and getting to the meat of it.
Cool! That’s about how to tell captivating stories that sell.
Now, I want to give you…
The secret key to telling better stories
Of course, there’s a formula to telling great stories but building words into experiences and creating vivid pictures and the whole onus of creativity lie on you…
Storytelling is an art and it’s up to you to create your own style, personality and voice and inject it into your stories.
The best hand you can get on this is to start reading books and stories
Read books, novels, short stories___ check out how your favorite authors tell stories in their books… the descriptions, the narratives, the dialogues, the flow and use of words…
Study them and use them as stepping pads to developing your own voice, writing and storytelling style.
You have seen how powerful stories are and how they affect our emotions.
Take advantage of the power of stories today and take your marketing to whole new heights.
Go on! Share!