Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Five Tales : Influence through Storytelling

A story is more credible than other types of communication

I.   Stories evoke prior knowledge - including much we know implicitly
II.  Stories provide details
III. Stories provide a context to enable comprehension against 'norms'


  • Neuroscience shows how a powerful narrative stimulates emotions, engagement and long-term memory encoding of the message, enabling sub-conscious influence.
  • There has been a recent surge in the number of major advertisers claiming to base their marketing strategy around the concept of ‘transmedia storytelling’
  • Effective transmedia storytelling should include a combination of “an immersive world, heroes, villains, friends and foes, a compelling story and multiple access points
  • More recent neuro-scientific studies have been able to demonstrate how the context can turbo-charge the delivery in generating emotions, engagement and long-term memory encoding.
  • There are three benefits to the power of storytelling that particularly chime with marketing; comprehension, motivation and memory –
  • There is plenty of evidence to show the fundamental power of story to influence our thoughts, feelings, learning, memories and behaviour
  • The true power of story; to influence us implicitly, without our conscious knowledge.


  • People love to share stories and leveraging the power of a social network is an effective way to develop and spread a brand narrative.
  • This article addresses two basic questions.
  • First, why is storytelling effective for communicating and building a positive brand image?
  • Second, what are some of the best practices of organisations that are using e-marketing to spread their stories?
  • Four concepts about the power and effectiveness of storytelling
  1. Stories are effective communication devices because they enter the mind naturally and completely, touching both reason and emotion
  1. Storytelling is effective in building a brand image because human beings love to share their stories
  1. Story is the basis for shaping and uniting any community. Social media is a natural platform for storytelling, since it is a modern way of creating community.


  • Planners must influence the conversation through brand stories that are honest, transparent and built around unexpected truths; journalism not advertising.
  • With an increased ability to feedback on, advocate for, and even complain about the brands we use, the audience's ability to participate in and change the conversation with a brand has evolved. If it is the case that brands today are at the whim of the conversation, then perhaps the only brand truth that can truly endure today is the non-fiction, raw conversation itself?
  • If so, then how do the agencies of the world embrace this honest, unpolished dialogue?
  • How do we build on this new enduring truth?
  • Brand journalism may be the answer.
  • What is Brand Journalism?
  • It is a method of engaging our audience in discussions about the brand by creating compelling content and by incorporating the audience's own viewpoints.
  • It is teaching brands to mimic publishers and journalists in how they produce content, and to get into the conversation by enriching the conversation.
  • Brand journalism is editorial content about the brand, crafting a narrative using journalistic techniques.
  • And in the process, maintaining a non-fiction, honest voice within the brand-consumer dynamic.

4. STORYTELLING : DIGITAL MEDIA - the art of immersion

    • Humans comprehend and process information through stories, and, in digital media, control over their authorship rests with the people, asserts Graham Hodge of LBi.
    • In a command-and-control world, we know who's telling the story; it's the author. But digital media have created an authorship crisis.
    • Once the audience is free to step out into the fiction and start directing events, the entire edifice of 20th-century mass media begins to crumble.
    • The Way We Tell Stories, since tools like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have made publishing our own content as easy as writing a Post-It, storytelling has fundamentally changed.
    • New storytelling paradigms are clearly a great opportunity for brands to connect with their ever more elusive target audiences.
    • Stories can be anything from a 140-character tweet to a 90-minute film, but what all stories have in common when they are done well is that they engage with audiences by giving them something of value over and above a brand message
    • For successful storytelling, you need a good story. But you also need a good storyteller. And there might be better storytellers out there than your brand.
    • In execution, brands must learn to value work-in-progress and the lessons learned through failing fast. There is no time to de-risk your communications - your audience are telling stories about you already. And all the while, brands must listen.

    5. STORYTELLING : CO- Create a Tale

    • The most engaging stories are a team effort that gets both internal and external buy-in, becoming part of the brand's belief system.
    • A lot is happening in terms of understanding how storytelling is a forgotten art, or its not actually an art but a science - a tool to influence, to address complexity, bring out brand stories and, in a nutshell, make the corporate world more human
    • Stories were the only way to transmit learnings and influence people in the past world
    • Stories work, simply because of the power of the protagonist - ‘the power of one’.
    • Stories are like the user interface of a smart phone. The average user doesn't need to know the complex technology that works beneath the beautiful phone. They marvel at the outcome of such technology through the user experience. Similarly, real life is multi-variate.
    • Crafting and telling stories is one of the greatest tools to influence and change behaviour. Stories appeal at an emotional level. Why is that important? According to modern psychology, emotion, behaviour and cognition influence each other. The point is that emotions affect cognition, which in turn affects decision-making.
    • The most important thing about storytelling is the fact that the ‘telling’ is as important as the crafting.
    • Tell engaging stories about your goal and its achievement - again and again so that it becomes a part of the company's belief system
    • When your team feels the story, you will be able to make them think

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