Of the many buzzwords that have entered the language of marketing, few have been as pervasive as the word ‘storytelling’. But what does this word really mean, and why has it become so popular?
The first thing to keep in mind about storytelling is that it is not a new phenomenon – in fact it’s very old. Even before the invention of written language, people told stories as a way of understanding their world and sharing ideas.
From cave paintings to religious parables, from Mt. Olympus to Hollywood, many of the most enduring ideas in human culture have been presented in the form of a story.
Of course, some things have changed over the past few thousand years. Today we have all kinds of new technology for communicating ideas. Yet, for all these changes, our instincts are still very much the same – we still connect with those that engage our curiosity, and rouse our emotion.
In other words, storytelling is not just a marketing fad – it’s a big part of what we are, and it’s very powerful.
So what exactly is a story?
Stories come in many shapes and sizes. Feature films have stories (well, the good ones do), but thirty-second promos also have stories. Despite variations in length, they all work the same way – they hook the viewer’s attention, develop a premise, and work towards a resolution.
In other words, “story” really just means a series of events or ideas arranged into a particular order. Sometimes called “narrative”, this format is intuitively appealing to us. A cause-effect structure is much better at holding our attention.
Why are stories better?
In order to understand why we all share this deep affinity for stories, it’s important to understand how storytelling affects us on a fundamental level.
Research in brain science has recently shed some light on this. As it turns out, when we take in information – say, in a power-point presentation or a lecture – our brains decode the language into meaning, but most of our brain is actually inactive. Simply put, information is just plain old boring.
However, if we’re given that same information in the form of a story, our minds are much more engaged. Our brains don’t like to simply process information; we respond much better to ideas if we can connect with them intellectually and emotionally.
That’s why storytelling is so much more powerful than just telling. It’s certainly possible to persuade an audience with facts and figures, but if you want to inspire your audience, you must speak to them on a deeper level.
Video: The Ultimate Storytelling Tool
Considering what we now know about storytelling, it should come as no surprise that video is the medium of choice for sharing ideas today. Video engages us both visually and aurally, so it can literally give a story a human face, and a human voice.
The fundamental need for a good story is inherently human, and that will almost certainly never change. When you’re creating your next video, remember that the true value of video emerges out of its unparalleled storytelling potential.
Larn more about by downloading the Storytelling Ebook below!