Throughout history, people have always had a natural attraction to stories. Around a campfire, over a phone call, to coworkers, or at the request of a child before bed, we spin tales of suspense, imagination, wonder and hope. It’s no surprise then that people are far more likely to connect with a brand that uses stories and relatable characters to reach their audience. This study finds that when humans relate to a character on an empathetic level, they experience increased levels of oxytocin. In other words, when we connect with a storyline personally, it makes us feel good, and we are more likely to associate the tale, and thus the brand, with positivity.
We’re also more likely to remember stories than, say, purely factual messages. Think back on the commercials you actually remember–is it an insurance ad telling you about their fabulous rates or Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad about one soldier’s unforgettable homecoming? The emotion we feel for this soldier is an involuntary reaction that connects us to the character on a visceral level, leaving an imprint on our minds that ordinary words, facts and images cannot.
While storytelling is an age-old tradition, dating back all the way to drawings on a cave wall, the increase of social media and digital forms of communication has created a society of ever-increasing information sharers. The information we convey to one another over Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr is likely highly personal, and we have become accustomed to knowing the inside details of everyone from our close friends to our favorite food bloggers. These days, if something doesn’t tap into our natural inclination for connection to the individual lives of others, it becomes uninteresting, drab and irrelevant.
Telling a story, whether uplifting, funny or outrageous, is a clever way for brands to tap into a desire old as humankind: the desire to connect.
How does your brand tell its story? Let us know in the comments!Share this post