Quick Fact - “Stories are about 22 times more memorable than fact alone” - says Jerome Seymour Bruner, a renowned American psychologist who made significant contributions to human cognitive psychology & cognitive learning theory.
Sounds like a conclusion at the beginning, right?
But it is not, because as a digital marketer, there is a lot more to learn about wondrous effects that a story could have on your target audience.
A story is no less than a ‘Magic Wand’ that has got supernatural power, to change people’s mind. Power, to modify how they perceive your brand. Power, to turn things in favor of your brand. Power, to do the kind of magic that nothing else could do!
A story is powerful! And here are the reasons why it just can’t be ignored or forgotten once told.
For any idea to make an impact, it is essential for the audience to be able to relate to it. They should ‘feel’ its importance. They should be able to gather why that idea exists and why it actually matters.
Storytelling approach gives you all the scope to design your communication in a way that not only it becomes relatable but also impactful. That’s essentially why most TV Commercials use this approach to put across their marketing message- so that people can identify with the idea that’s being told and can realize its value.
Ultimately, it is the realization of value that leads the targeted audience to take the desired action.
Here’s a video that establishes instant connect- PayU Money
When information is too much to process, we tend to avoid going through it or look out for ways to simplify the process of comprehension. We like to break it down into chunks and process it in a sequential manner. Breaking down and sequencing, not only simplifies understanding but also makes it easy for us to remember.
Now, with a story-format, our brains don’t have to do any of these extra efforts. Why? Because, a story, essentially, is nothing but a continuous sequence of events. Therefore, it won’t be wrong to say that ‘sequence’ is its inherent characteristic. Hence understanding & remembering the core idea or message naturally becomes easy, when done through storytelling format.
When a listener is indirectly or directly directed to use his imagination while moving along with a story, he gets completely involved with it. Why? Because he automatically starts building his own visuals in head.
As the narration progresses, so does the listener’s interest & engagement. And since the listener, in a way, ‘participates’ in the process of communication, the end result is total involvement and much-enhanced memorability of the idea that is being communicated through the story.
“Emotion is a critical element that makes information relevant & memorable,” says Daniel H. Pink, author of the books-‘To Sell is Human’ & ‘The whole new mind’.
When we want our offering to ‘touch’ our targeted audience in some way or the other, it becomes essential to attach an emotion (‘happiness’ or ‘fear’ or ‘excitement’ etc.) to the piece of communication that goes out. Why? Because attaching some humanistic characteristic, in a way, humanizes the ‘offering’, adds life to it and makes it all the more relevant to the audience. The communication becomes dynamic, relatable and acceptable.
And what better approach than ‘storytelling’ can capture essential emotions?
The author also says that “ Storytelling is universal and multi-cultural, involving a process of give and take.”
A story, therefore, appeals to the heart and in doing so, eventually opens the mind to become attentive to grasp things quick & easy.
Accurate comprehension of written language relies on an individual’s ability to process the context of the information, the tone in which it is written, the meanings of words and phrases used, grammar & so many other aspects. It also depends on what prior information, about the given idea, does the reader have.
That is why, for an average individual, it becomes difficult to assimilate the text-only information entirely and accurately.
However, when delivered in a storytelling format (say as a visual, infographic, video etc.) , the same information becomes much easy to understand. Multiple senses collaborate together to effectively draw meaning out of the content being fed. Thus, language barrier overcomes and effectiveness of communication increases significantly.
This video shows how: Symantec
Since our childhood, we are conditioned to take interest in stories. Our brain naturally perceives ‘story’ as a source of entertainment- something we ‘enjoy’ consuming. Plain, direct information with no dynamics is often taken as boring & cumbersome!
This is how it has been and this is how it is! Therefore, the story always wins over text!
Stories significantly enhance cognition & memorability and this ‘psychological’ fact holds true for every kind of audience.
As digital marketers, be quick to take advantage of this fact and educate your audience about your offering in an entertaining & engaging manner !
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