Why Stories Matter

What is one thing we all have in common?

We desire to connect with others and the world around us. It’s why we try new things, travel to faraway places, and listen to those 25 podcasts we have saved in our iTunes library.

The need to connect drives us to unknowingly compose a story of varied experiences that have the power to influence others.

Everyone has a story, but why is it important to share it?

Stories bridge the gaps and are more memorable than statistics.

From “Once upon a time” to “In the beginning,” stories have the power to bridge experiential, cultural, economic and educational gaps. Whether you are illustrating a simple point through a metaphor or passing on your cultural heritage, stories somehow stick with us.

In Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling, Dr. Paul J. Zak discusses how there is a science to the way we tell stories and how our brains react.

There are five parts to every good story.

Think back to your elementary school days. Your teacher drew that funny looking line on the board and proceeded to explain how every good story has five parts. (Here’s a quick refresher: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.)

For instance, let’s take a closer look at the story of a hero. In the exposition we learn about his background and current situation. Then, we see the character experience something (often a struggle) that ultimately leads to the climactic moment in his story when he discovers who he is meant to be. He rises above any obstacles and owns his newly discovered heroism in the falling action. The resolution comes when he saves the world and gets the girl.

We see this storyline play out in a plethora of classic superhero movies, but what keeps us hooked even when we know what’s coming?

Stories positively affect our brains.

In The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool by Harrison Monarth, he references Paul Zak’s research and uses it to explain what we experience throughout the five parts of a story. When we watch, read, or listen to a story, our brains are waiting to be captivated and entertained. Three main chemicals are released in our brains as the story unfolds: cortisol, oxytocin and dopamine. Cortisol holds our attention, oxytocin allows us to relate, sympathize and trust the character, and dopamine makes us feel satisfied.

So what does this mean for marketers? We have to tell stories to captivate our audience and inspire action.

Stories matter.

As marketers, we spend countless hours anticipating what our audience wants to hear, creative ways to sell our products, and we’re always on the lookout for the next big trend in our field. However, there is one medium that has always persisted throughout the constant ebb and flow of marketing strategies: STORY.

Stories are the most impactful tool mission-driven organizations possess. The passion that drives you to do what you do has the potential to inspire your following and motivate them to get involved. Don’t just champion your cause, champion your purpose.

Today, we encourage you to tell stories that are personal. They don’t have to be profound epiphanies or eloquent monologues. Give your readers, followers, and fans a chance to connect with your mission-driven organization. Everyone has a story, get out there and share it.

Let's Talk.

If you need help telling your story or just want to brainstorm how your mission-driven organization can connect with others, get in touch with us.