Four Simple Rules of Storytelling
Simple rules of storytelling
Humans are hard-wired to respond to stories. In fact, recent neuroscience studies have shown that our brains often don’t distinguish between fiction and reality and we immerse ourselves in stories as if we are a part of them. Have you ever been snapped back into reality by a noise in your house while watching a gripping film? It’s exactly that. And more areas of our brains are activated when we hear stories over simple facts, which means we remember more too, so you can see how it could be critical to getting your brand noticed.
Crafting a compelling story around your brand or your product, one that people simply can’t ignore, could just be the boost your business needs. The good news is, it’s not too tricky once you know how. Here are some simple rules to follow to harness the power of storytelling…
Rule 1: Get your structure right
It seems so obvious but every great story needs a clear beginning, middle and end. And by that, I mean setting the scene, giving the detail, and then tying it all together. Not everyone will make those connections for themselves so you need to make it really clear to your audience. What’s the background to your product/business (beginning); what’s the detail – what do you do/make, how do you do it, when do you do it etc (middle); and how does it all work together – what’s the outcome (end)? The right narrative could make all the difference so make sure you can tell your brand’s story from start to finish.
Rule 2: What’s your hook?
So now you have your brand narrative – but what makes you so special? A new kids’ clothing brand is not a story. A new kids’ clothing brand that is exclusively for children with sensory issues and is scientifically proven to help them is a story. Likewise, a person launching their own business is not a story. A person launching a business after being made redundant while fighting cancer and is using half their profits to give back to the hospital they were treated in, is a story. You see where I’m going with this. A hook is what makes your story stand out and, literally, hooks people in to it. Find what makes your product, brand or business unique and turn it into the crux of your story.
Rule 3: Be an attention seeker
What was the last great story you read, saw or heard? And by great I don’t necessarily mean positive – I mean the one that stopped you scrolling through Facebook to click on it. Or the one that had you turning up the radio on the drive home. Or the one that got your family glued to the TV. Was it because of a striking image? A shocking headline? A question that made you think? Or a strong opening statement? Either way, there will have been some tactic used to make you sit up and take note. Once you have your hook, use your storytelling tools to entice people in and make them pay attention.
Rule 4: Make a connection
Facts and figures activate the analytical right brain whereas stories engage the emotional right brain – and emotions are powerful allies in storytelling. Research has shown that words that prompt memories or feelings create an emotional connection. So while it’s ok to state facts where facts are needed, using emotive language and words that create visuals in people’s minds will help you to make the leap from “telling” people what you’re all about to “showing” them. Anecdotes and analogies that resonate with your audience are great for creating connections too, so be creative with your copy! Just be careful not to create complete works of fiction…
If you need help crafting messaging for traditional or digital communications, drop me a line @samboncomms or firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to chat more!