(image is featured on Science of Storytelling)
Stories are how we connect with people. When we share our experiences or information through storytelling, our listeners begin to connect what they are hearing to some of their own experiences. Through this process rapport is built, along with credibility and trust. Meaning is embedded in the stories we tell. As you can imagine, this is why the practice of storytelling is huge in the fields of digital marketing and creative media.
Let’s take a look at storytelling in a social setting, and then dig into the science behind the actual practice of storytelling. Lastly, we’ll dive into how we here at Conclave Agency use stories in our digital media strategies.
The Stories Ready to Go
I always have a few go-to stories in my back pocket to share with others at parties or networking events to get the conversations going. For instance, sometimes I tell people about the time I interviewed a woman on film at a fundraising event but had no idea who she was until after I finished the interview. It turned out she was Laurene Powell. Or sometimes I tell people about the time I completely embarrassed myself in front of an entire class of Stanford University students while demonstrating how to create a MindMap (ask me about it later – it’s a real knee slapper).
Although these experiences were a bit embarrassing at the time, I have found that they make for great stories to tell to break the ice in social and professional settings. Of course, not all the stories I tell are humorous, but I make sure they contain some sort of key takeaway or insight. By sharing a story or two with colleagues or potential clients, I am able to establish an immediate foundation of trust, comfort, and rapport. Not to mention, it’s a great way to show others that you have the ability to laugh at yourself and/or learn and grow from past experiences.
When you share a story, it’s like planting seeds in the world, and sometimes they sprout new opportunities.
The Science of Storytelling
“When we tell stories to others that have really helped us shape our thinking and way of life, we can have the same effect on them too. The brains of the person telling a story and listening to it can synchronize…”
As it turns out, there is an actual science behind the practice of storytelling. During my time as a lecturer, we would have our students read the The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains for homework. It is a super easy and fascinating read. Below, I have outlined some of the key points that jumped out at me:
- We are more likely to remember a story than a list of boring facts
- Different parts of our brains are activated when we are being told a story as opposed to other methods of communication. If we are being fed facts and tidbits of information, we are only using a part of our brain to process the information. However, when being told a story, our whole brain is put to use.
- When listening to a story, we automatically want to connect it to one (or more) of our own existing experiences. This, in turn, helps us build empathy and an authentic connection with storytellers (this is HUGE in marketing and sales).
How Conclave uses Storytelling in Video Concepts
Here at the Conclave, we use storytelling in several of our projects including website design, video, proposals, and presentations. We believe in connecting audiences to the mission and values of unique brands of the clients we work with. The best way to do this, is through storytelling.
One great example of how we do this is through our collaboration with ASUS Computers. ASUS computers was launching new technological products and wanted to introduce them to their customers and online audience. One way to do that is by producing a standard product video showcasing the product and having a qualified representative explain every one of its new technical features…
Sounds kind of boring!
Although that style of video would be effective in informing its viewers of the new product features, it would be no different from someone retrieving that information from an online article or product website.
Instead, our team and the team at ASUS decided to use the power of storytelling to demonstrate how these products can be beneficial in the everyday lives of their users. After presenting several video concepts, we produced five short videos to live on their company YouTube channel – each with a unique story demonstrating how their new products can benefit their users.
The results? SUCCESS. We were able to meet and exceed each one of ASUS Computers project goals and expectations, including reaching over a million combined views on YouTube.
Here are the completed videos:
- The Tree House – A tale of ASUS Networking
- Cut the Cord – ASUS Router
- Wireless Charging with Elvis the Pug
- UPS Power Backup
- Transfer files with built in NFC
It’s All About Connecting With People
Whether you are on a marketing team and need to come up with the next super viral campaign, or if you are at a family gathering or networking event and would like to engage others in your experiences, storytelling is a skill worth practicing and obtaining. Seize any and every opportunity to share a story with those around you. Add stories in your presentations, conversations, and work projects. Be on the lookout for other storytellers and observe their style of casual presentation. Remember, the purpose of telling a good story is to connect with others. You’ll be surprised to learn how many stories you’ll receive in return from your listeners.
Written by Gabriel Lomeli, Jr.