Why do stories make a difference?

We are fascinated by stories, like our ancestors thousands of years ago. People love to hear a good story. They have an essential role in our lives, whether as a form of entertainment or to share our experience with others. That’s why Storytelling is persisting as a form of marketing strategy.

What is it about?

The method of Storytelling is about the mediation of knowledge, ideas, products and other information with the help of constructed or real stories. As a form of expression, the story should present the information as simple as possible, so that it is easy to understand and can directly memorize in the long-term memory of the recipients. This part is very important for many industries and business areas but seems easier than it actually is. Information has not only become more complex over the last decade but also the amount of relevant and available knowledge, processes and data have been increasing in the age of digitization. In contrast to that, this further limits the absorption capacity of the consumers and users.

How to convince with storytelling:

“Sometimes we think people are motivated by money or power, these very concrete incentives. But they are also motivated by stories. So, it’s important to listen to people and ask them what stories are important to them.” –Barack Obama

As former POTUS said, it is essential to respond to your audience.

For companies, this means knowing their target group in detail. Who is the target group consisting of? What are their fundamental values? What emotions do you want to evoke?

When you want to answer these questions, you should not focus on demographic characteristics. It is important to look at the different interest groups, to create the stories accordingly. After defining the target group, you must think about the key essentials of the company’s culture and what the brand wants to represent. Based on these three answers, you can start creating a story, that reflects the company’s message authentically.

In general, anyone who wants to create successful storytelling must prove their creativity. You can tell the most exciting brand history, but it always depends on how the audience receives the message. By telling a story the company must give the audience the possibility to complete it in their own words and with their own imagination. The most important part of storytelling is however that the people notice the story and associate it with different kinds of emotions.

The main argument for storytelling is obvious: stories remain in the minds of people, way easier than plain product information. With a good story, there is another advantage. People like to talk and gossip a lot. Exciting and extraordinary stories were often passed from one to another. Think of old fables, fairytales and of course the bible. If the story is able to convince some users, the chance that it will be passed to friends, colleagues and family is high.

What is new?

Nowadays, classical Storytelling is more about Data Driven Storytelling. In a digital world, dominated by data and facts, it’s the responsibility of managers and marketers to act as a mediator between technologies and the consumers. With the help of Data-Driven Storytelling, data can be visualized by using information graphics, text, and spreadsheets. They can be produced in a way even non-specialists can get a first idea of the content and receive the most important data. Manager and marketers create a story consisting of data, that remains in the recipient’s minds.

The typical features of Storytelling can be transferred to the area of Big Data and can cause understanding, emotions, and action. Nobody should be forced to have to deal with endless data sheets. Today, nicely edited graphics are finding their way into companies. The art of making data speak is important and everybody knows it. But remember, data are the most meaningful facts about a company, how well its marketing works or who the consumers are. Therefore, data itself gas a story that is worth telling. But not every data set need a story.