The Power of Storytelling

Who doesn’t love a good story?

According to Fast Company, a staggering 92% of consumers want brands to integrate stories into their marketing. 

Today, brands survive on their ability to relay a message while connecting with their audience on a deeper level. Good storytelling is a powerful medium to create a human connection and build loyalty amongst consumers.

The Science Behind Storytelling

When it comes to the human brain, stories enable listeners to relate to their own ideas and personal experiences. This process is termed neural coupling. When the brain experiences an emotionally stimulating episode, it releases dopamine, making the story more memorable. A well-told story can engage multiple areas of the brain, including the motor cortex, sensory cortex and frontal cortex.

Naturally, visual storytelling has become a successful strategy for businesses seeking to connect emotionally with their customers. Many companies are taking note – including both Airbnb and Nike, who are (and have been for awhile now) effectively integrating storytelling into their marketing.

Case Study: Airbnb

Airbnb is a great example of a company that delivers content that is easy to understand, and with a clear storyline.

When Airbnb first launched, hotels scoffed at the thought of people opening up their homes to strangers. Airbnb’s biggest challenge was building trust – with both hosts and guests. Through purposeful narratives, this trusted hospitality service has become extremely successful in connecting with its customers on a deeper level.

Airbnb’s approach has worked because their advertisements are completely focused on people – those who rent out homes and the travellers who visit. The following video from 2014 illustrates the true story of a how an Airbnb guest and her father happened to reconnect with an old friend in Berlin, Germany.

Case Study: Nike

Nike has been using emotional stories in their video advertisements for years. These stories connect with their target audience on a more personal level, helping to build an organic following of people that respect the brand.

For example, the following Nike advertisement highlights Michael Jordan’s career in reverse – starting from his end back to his beginning. As an authentic story, this video leaves you with a sense that anything is possible and with a reminder that all dreams start from somewhere. Nike isn’t even mentioned until the very end, with their motivational slogan, “Just Do It”.

The bottom line (or rather, the “moral of the story”)? Regardless of the industry, we’re all human beings with emotions. Storytelling creates space for an emotional aspect to be included in advertising. If your business is going to succeed, you need to create something more powerful than just selling your products and services.

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