LEVERAGING THE SCIENCE OF STORY TO BUILD BETTER BRANDS AND BREAK THROUGH THE WHITE NOISE
LIZ WEIR, SVP DIRECTOR OF CONTENT, SOCIAL AND PR LEVLANE
The brain is a peculiar thing.
You have five, maybe ten seconds to capture your audience’s attention before it shuts down.
That means if I haven’t already done that by now, I’ve lost you. If there is any ambiguity, or the brain has to think too hard, it withdraws.
Technology is changing the landscape and how people interact with brands in ways we never imagined, making it even harder than ever to connect with consumers. Today, they are bombarded with more and more information about all types of companies from every outlet and in every imaginable format.
Clients come to us every day dealing with this situation. They often want to change their branding, improve how they’re viewed in the market, and build trust and loyalty with their customer base. But most are using the old model of pushing their message into the crowded ecosystem. What they fail to realize is that the old way of marketing–pushing your message, pushing your sale, pushing, pushing, pushing–doesn’t work when the market is crowded with comparable messages. But what does work, what does cut through all that noise, is the tried and true method of storytelling.
Let’s think about your company. When someone asks what you do, what do you say? Do you start listing out the problems you solve? The customers you serve? If you do, that’s a problem.
Ask that person what you do a few days later and I’m going to bet they don’t remember, or they misremember what you told them. That’s because when the brain senses that it’s being pitched or sold to, it has a natural cognitive reaction to resist. It pushes back. It overloads. It shuts down.
Now if you were to relay what you do in a simple but engaging story format, something very different happens. Their brain takes that information and claims it as its own–as if they found it. That’s because the brain spends 30% of its waking time daydreaming–when you work, drive, etc. But when you are watching a movie, reading a great book, or listening to a great story, your brain doesn’t daydream: that story is doing the daydreaming for you. The story has literally taken over the brain.
Stories go beyond a product. They resonate because they’re human. They hit you in the feels.
It’s not a list of features. It’s not telling them how great your company is, all the great things you’ve done, or all the people who love you. It’s not about the fanciest technology. It’s about connecting at a subconscious level, it’s about understanding how the brain works and working with it, not against it. It is about the customer, your hero. Your company is simply the guide or the helper to get the hero to the finish line.
And you don’t have to take my word for it. A recent study shows that when you read stories that evoke emotion, it stimulates the brain and even changes how you act. (Paul, Annie M. “Your Brain on Fiction.” The New York Times. Mar. 2012.)
At LevLane, we know and work with all of the latest and greatest technologies– AR, VR, AI, IOT and any other acronyms you can think of. But innovation without story is just a channel, just a medium, just a gadget. Without a story to connect, without a brand to love, without that emotional hook, you are yelling into the void.