Addicted to good stories

Oxytocin good stories

Addicted to good stories

Stories are like drugs. Truly. There is empirical research to prove the human brain is glued to stories, due mostly to the release of the feelgood hormone oxytocin.

So if the identity of a brand is the sum of the stories told about it, then it stands to reason that quality storytelling can make a brand more memorable, meaningful and relevant to the people that matter.

Stories have an unparalleled power to move people to action – whether that action is being glued to Netflix, trying a new product or seeing the world in a new way.

In the old days, big brand advertising was relatively simple. It was easy to tell a consistent, compelling brand story in the days of mass media when one TV campaign could easily reach and convert hundreds of thousands of people.

Today, it’s different. The rise of digital and social has fragmented storytelling channels and equally made real people way more powerful than they used to be on the story front.

digital media fragmentation

A story is a picture made up of facts, feelings and interpretations, usually from customers or potential customers. Yep, that means real people – not your ‘message’ – are the ultimate determinants of your brand story.

Most of a brand’s story isn’t even told by the brand, it’s told by people.

For example, one of the world’s biggest brands Coca Cola has always had a powerful brand story about its refreshing drink brand – but these days, the rise of  the “sugar is the new smoking” story has impacted on Coke’s brand. Today, Coca Cola sell Sugar-Free and No-Sugar versions, as well as other types of sugar-free drinks to broaden its brand story.

A brand story is the narrative that ties together the how, now and ‘wow’ of a business, product or brand.

It’s the glue that makes a customer buy and recommend you to their friends. It’s the cohesive spine that makes someone instantly say ‘yes’. Equally, it can also make a customer say no. That’s how powerful stories really are.

A good brand story is sometimes the bridge to your ideal customer’s dreams.

Brand storytellingWhen this happens, there is less scope for the story to go the way of the “sugar is poison” scenario Coca Cola is dealing with. And that’s because people like stories that make them – and their dreams – the hero.

Good stories have meaning, and are not demeaning. They offer help, not hype.

Most importantly, good stories tap into our cognitive unconscious to make us want to know more … and if it’s not as good as a drug, then don’t waste your time – or your customers – talking about it.