Storytelling is an integral part of our lives. We crave connection and desire to feel emotion, if only briefly. It’s brief because our attention span has become increasingly truncated and as a result, the narrative needs to be shortened.
People make decisions based on emotion, not logic. And our memory is directly linked to storytelling. If you were shown 12 objects in a sequence, and asked to list them in the order they appeared, you may only get a few. Why, because our short-term memory can only hold 7 things for 20 seconds. Enter a “story,” think about those 12 objects again, only this time take each object and create a narrative around the sequence in which they appear. Now you have a story, something more rooted and reflective…magically your memory has increased. It’s a simple test. Try it!
When we are able to tell a story and evoke emotion, we have created the perfect brand storm. There is a simple formula, used from political campaigns to epic movies, to deeply connect us to memorable, emotionally powerful narratives. Disney was built on storytelling, as is the Apple brand, which is built on imagination, possibility and inclusiveness.
But there is a paradigm shift in storytelling, on the horizon. The focus is moving towards a different narrator. Brands are now recruiting, looking for consumers to interact with, to become advocates and doers for them. Brands that want to be relevant, stand for something and rise above the competitors need to pass the narration to the consumer. Brands need to shift and embrace the need for story doing. This is the strategy of high engagement of your audience and casting them as an active participant role. We are in an age of “full-on” consumer involvement. Consumers desire to be part of the narrative, actively driving content. They want to be the focus. Brands need to provide platforms for them to be the hero and aid them in crafting their story. A brand’s relevance and success could hinge on joining this doer movement.
Who has control of your brand?