Marketing guru and author Jay Baer knows how to tell a great story. Anytime I have the chance to hear him speak, I make an effort to tune in. I know that regardless of the specific topic, I will be entertained as well as informed.
As his quote implies, a laundry list of product features is about as interesting and memorable as…well…a laundry list. Even stating the benefits of a product or service won’t be particularly memorable unless they are made relevant to the customer. The best way to do that is through storytelling.
Stories figure prominently in all cultures. They are a powerful tool for educating, informing, and entertaining in every human tribe, from animal fables to epic poems to biblical parables.
Why is storytelling so powerful? Humans have been recording stories for more than 30,000 years, the age of the oldest cave drawings found to date. It’s logical that the telling of tales dates much further back. It’s estimated that oral language developed with Homo Sapiens between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.
In fact, our ancestors’ lives almost certainly depended on storytelling. Think of the valuable information to be learned from tales of a successful hunt (eg. herd migrations, best weaponry) or how they escaped the jaws of a hungry tiger (eg. how to distract or confuse)!
Human brains are hard wired for storytelling. We take in and retain information much more easily when there is a story attached to it. We also assign more value to those items featured. As marketers we would be fools to not take advantage such a powerful and effective tool. However, we need to be careful that we don’t go the way of the laundry list, mistaking brochures for stories.
Here’s one of my favourite pandemic influenced stories from the past year. It’s a video over 6 minutes long and I watched the WHOLE thing without complaint!
Share some of your favourite storytelling hits and misses in the comments!
Unlike wild bears, feeding the content creator is encouraged! 🙂
© 2021-2022 Tracey Copeland, Rolling Sands Consulting.