Jul 30, 2020

Why Brand Stories Succeed or Fail

Engaging an audience is vital. We are living in a pivotal time in world history, yet we’re addicted to overwhelming graphs and tables and lengthy presentations. Often times this leads to failed sales pitches.

The solution to the problem turns out to be simple: stories. Brands are built around and set up for storytelling, and our capabilities have grown exponentially over the years. Of course, plenty of people in the industry have adopted the power of stories.

Seriously, chefs now talk about their food telling a story. Yet there’s a compelling reason why we should be talking about this topic. Storytelling, done right, works! Research demonstrates that stories affect us at a deep neurological level.

What Makes a Story Effective?

The answer lies in the understanding that stories are about managing threats. A while ago the advertising industry didn’t have as strong of a need for storytelling. When the creative canvas was clearly defined with one-page print and 30-second TV ads, it was relatively easy to get teams to believe in creative ideas. The executive team already knew what they were buying, and we knew what we were selling.

We live in a world where digital technology spreads information at light speed. So bad ideas are a threat to our careers. Whenever a person hears one their brain instantly determines what dangers it poses. Will it threaten her job? Impact her ability to eat? Feed her children? Maintain her social status? Pay her healthcare bills?

Unfortunately, most people presenting an idea respond to this challenge with rational appeals. This is understandable. Business decisions should be rational.

Why Do Stories Fail to Resonate?

As an industry, we tend to over-tell our stories. When we try to show how smart we are with lengthly PowerPoint decks containing tons of data points, detailed charts and cutting-edge analytics, we create a threat. It’s not emotionally engaging, and it requires the listener’s brain to inefficiently process extensive information.

If your goal is to do breakthrough work that creates a Sticky Brand, you need to get your team to rally around unprecedented ideas. Research and data are a necessary part of the ideation process, but that’s not enough to build internal alignment and excitement.

Great ideas are not enough. We need to tell compelling stories that make an emotional connection during our presentations.

If you’d like to discuss how your story can elevate your brand, we’re here to help!

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