Amidst this mixture of experiences and interactions, during our fits and starts of daily activities; in moments taken for granted or cherished forever in memory—our minds are ever keen on gathering information to mold ourselves into stronger individuals, better able to cope with the future when tomorrow finally comes for each one of us despite today never happening quite as you imagined it.
Our brains don’t work without a story to tell about everything that happens. Some are mundane; some are epic! We are what we make of ourselves based on our brains’ stories about the world around us and each interaction with it or another person. The strength in these stories gives us the opportunities to learn, grow, and achieve greatness beyond imagination.
Our lives become defined by our memories—not just those of great moments but also important ones. We must remember that no matter how hard we work or how much effort we put into anything, there can be no memory of it without a story. So next time you step up to bat, consider your story:
What will people who knew you say?
Will they laugh at your failures and cheer your successes?
Do you even want them to?
Once upon a time, there were no brands. Companies produced stuff and sold it as best they could before their competitors knocked them off the shelf.
I know you’re thinking, “That sounds awful.” And, well, you’re right. It was pretty rubbish. However, that’s just how it used to be – and now we have brands. And we can thank storytelling for that.
You see, back in the day, your only form of advertising was a billboard and a newspaper ad (if you were lucky). That meant you were competing with every other business doing the same thing. The result? More or less, all companies produced similar products, and consumers couldn’t tell them apart.
By spending money on brand building, companies invested in their future success by creating a story around the products they sold. And it worked – to this day, stories still move people. They are even part of how we communicate our sense of identity with others – i.e., “I’m an Apple person” or “I’m a socially conscious dude.”
People want to relate to what they buy and be part of something bigger than themselves – this is true whether they’re conscious of it or not. I bet you do it yourself with at least one brand. And if you don’t, I bet you like the brand (or hate it) for a reason.
So, what do you need if you want to make sure your company is successful in today’s consumer-centric market? Well, more than anything else, it’s a great story! And that’s not only because of how we communicate with each other and how we think but also how we make decisions (it’s why your parents want you to stop buying clothes and read more).
You see, when it comes down to making a purchase, consumers use emotions or rational processes. The former is based on how information makes them feel, and the latter focuses on logic and practicality.
Ration vs. Emotion may sound a little complicated, but it’s not. The best example is how people buy cars. Think about your last car purchase, and you’ll realize that the process probably went something like this:
1. Look for a car (rational)
2. Find one I like (emotional)
3 Familiarity – do I know anyone that has one (logic and practical)
4. Cost – how much can I afford (logic and practical)
5. Color – do I like it (emotional)
6. Extras – should I get the automatic/sunroof/upgrade package (emotional and logic + practical)?
7. Decision made (emotional)
8. Purchase (rational)
That was probably an over-simplified version of how you got your shiny new set of wheels, but it demonstrates that people don’t just consider the rational aspects of a purchase. They also allow emotions to drive them through the process, which is important because research has shown that emotional decisions are the best predictor of future behavior.
So how does this relate to you? Well, getting your audience to make an emotional connection with your brand is the difference between you being a flash in the pan and having them return again and again (and spending that hard-earned cash).
So, if you want your audience to connect with your brand emotionally, you must tell them a story. And that’s the beauty of it – it doesn’t even have to be original! Just make sure your audience is there with you at every stage.
So, for example, when you’re writing an advertisement or content marketing piece, make sure they are learning something about the product they wouldn’t know otherwise. The ad could talk about how much room there is in the boot or what features make it a safer drive in the car example.
That way, you give them information that they can relate to and become more emotionally invested in your product.
For your brand, if you want something a little more cohesive – don’t just advertise through various outlets; try creating a multi-platform campaign. People are always on their phones or listening to the radio. So, if your audience is a captive one, you can get them invested in your product by giving them information at every stage of the purchasing process.
In short, companies have been telling stories for years to grab their audience’s attention and invest in their brand. But today, people don’t just want to be told a story – they want to be part of it too. That’s why storytelling is an important marketing tool for your brand, and great storytellers can make or break a company.
This is your story, and it’s important to you.