Storytelling is big buzzword in marketing these days, but as recent research is proving, it’s no passing fad. Storytelling is a powerful tool for engaging your audience’s brains on multiple levels. It enhances their interaction with you as well as their perception of your brand. It also aids in retention of the information you present.
A recent article by Scott Schwertly of SlideShare offers a simple yet adept explanation (have a look at Schwertly’s fantastic infographic for full details):
- When you tell your audience FACTS, they use just two parts of the brain to either agree or disagree with you.
- When you tell a STORY, audiences use seven parts of the brain. Rather than simple agreement or disagreement, your audience’s brains literally participate in the story you’re telling.
The seven regions of the brain illuminated by storytelling correlate to specific senses. Movement in a story triggers your motor cortex, for example. Touch triggers the sensory cortex and cerebellum. By contrast, information is processed only as language. Aside from sensory responses, stories trigger emotional responses as well. Emotions, not logic, drive decision-making and action.
The language you use matters, too. Rich, descriptive storytelling in everyday language is more effective than vague clichés or complex, technical wording. Don’t forget that humans relate to other humans, so you’ll need to be authentic and relatable as well.
Engagement Depends on You
What does all this brain science mean for your organization? Essentially, you get to choose whether or not your audience will be engaged. From the onset of any marketing piece, speech, event, or campaign, you can choose an approach that has an inherently higher ability to engage your members. Or you can choose to present facts and figures that by their very nature—and by humans’ very nature—are less likely to be interesting, engaging, or memorable.
If members aren’t engaged, they’re not going to be compelled to connect with your organization, renew membership dues, or attend your events. They’re not going to become brand ambassadors who participate in storymaking and deliver essential third party credibility.
All this adds up to a pretty compelling case for storytelling.
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