Storytelling has quickly become one of the new marketing buzzwords. As discussed repeatedly in the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal and other leading business publications, the use of storytelling in businesses and other organizations is more than a valid concept; it’s an essential, proven communication practice.
Motivating people to reach the organization’s stated goals is “a big part of a CEO’s job,” says award-winning Writer, Director, and Screenwriting Coach Robert McKee in his HBR interview. “To do that, he or she must engage their emotions, and the key to their hearts is a story.”
The general idea of storytelling may conjure up images of children sitting in a circle as a teacher reads from a storybook. But many large, well known companies have been using storytelling as a communication tool for many years.
Most people know that the Disney Corporation tells fantastic stories in their films, but they also use stories to manage their operations. So do other Fortune 500 firms such as The Container Store, FedEx and Nike.
The reason is simple: people are far more easily drawn to and pay far more attention to stories rather than to boring facts and figures.
Why? Human beings are social beings, and we naturally share stories as a means of connecting with one another. And every time you hear someone else’s story, you identify with a part of it, a part that connects to your own experiences. Stories work because they touch us at an emotional level.
Stories captivate our attention, they motivate us-and they stay with us. In this short video about legendary filmmaker Ken Burns, he says, great stories are when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Ken Burns: On Story
People love stories, whether they are television shows, newspaper articles, plays or movies. We enjoy hearing them over and over again even though we know how they will end. They comfort us, educate us, excite us, make us laugh and touch our hearts.
Humans have been using stories from the beginning of time to pass down information to future generations, to teach valuable lessons, to tell us where we came from and help us cope with the world around us. Notice how we crave stories about everything from workers trapped in a mine, to the discovery of a new galaxy or how a team prepared for and won a big event.
Check out this short video that does a great job of setting the stage for one of sports biggest stories going on right now; The NCAA March Madness Tournament. Or as the narrator so eloquently puts it “a celebration of tradition, youth and togetherness.”
NCAA March Madness
Despite the use of mobile devices and the shortening of our written communications, we are crazy if we think we simply communicate in short bursts of information. We are constantly thinking in narratives throughout our daily lives. There is always a beginning, a middle and an end. Whether it is a trip to the grocery store, a workout at the gym or a day at work.
Simply put, we may have evolved a liking for stories because they are an efficient means of communication and transferring information. In fact, some stories can be very short. Take a look at the following video we produced for the National Runaway Switchboard featuring Ludacris. This short spot quickly tells the story of a girl looking for help for her friend who has run away from home and is having a tough time.
Richter Studios’ National Runaway Switchboard “Live Chat”
Master craftsmen spend many hours planning, scripting, shooting and editing their film into the perfect story. This video does a great job of giving you a little insight into the preparation and work that goes into a production.
Storytelling With Heart
The world is full of incredible stories; stories that people want to hear, absorb and feel. We’d love to hear your story, leave it in the comments below.