There is a reason no one can pass up a good story. Brain scans are revealing that stories stimulate the brain and even change how we act. The classic language regions of the brain have long been understood, but it is only recently that scientists have come to realize that narratives activate many other parts of the brain. Words like cinnamon and lavender elicit a response not only from the language processing part of the brain, but also those devoted to smell. Researchers have also discovered that words describing motion stimulate regions different from the language processing areas.
Beyond this, there is evidence that when a story is told the teller and receiver’s brain become aligned so more information is retained.
It’s no wonder that storytelling goes back more than 27,000 years to cave paintings. It has long been at the heart of public relations outreach and can be traced back to the 1920s when Edward Bernays, who is known to be the father of public relations, was hired by the American Tobacco Company to entice more women to smoke (Lucky Strikes to be exact) in public. At the time cigarettes were equated with men, but Bernays began telling stories that made cigarettes torches of freedom for women at a time when the suffrage movement was riding high.
Now with the need for more content than ever before there is a renewed interest in storytelling as part of the marketing mix. One good story can make or break a conversation, article or presentation. It’s as simple as this: if people can “see” themselves as a character in the story, they are more likely to buy that product. That’s why case studies have always been such a successful selling tool.
Whether you are a PR person writing a news release, a marketer crafting a sales message, a social media content creator, or a sales professional wanting to win new business, get busy crafting your stories and witness how stories can be far more effective than reciting facts and business speak.