People love being entertained, and that’s one reason that storytelling in marketing campaigns is so popular. It has become a proven method in attracting consumers to try a new product or to switch brands. However, new research has found that there may be a cognitive process that influences how well a storytelling marketing campaign works on consumers.
Listening to a story isn’t just about being entertained. Psychologists have found that a story can work as a trigger, driving memories to the forefront of our minds. If that’s a good memory, it can inspire us to try that product or brand. In fact, neuroscientist Paul Zak says specific stories can cause changes in our brain chemistry, prompting an emotional connection to the story and captivating our attention.
Through research and real-world experiences, we’ve found that our brains are wired to respond better to stories than to dry facts. This is why parents are torn about the effects of vaccines on their children. They have heard the horror stories from mothers of autistic children, so, no matter how many facts and statistics prove otherwise, they’re still reluctant to believe that vaccines are safe. True or not, they put more faith in the stories than in the statistics.
While the previous example indicates the adverse effects a story can have, they can also be used to produce positive results. When used in marketing campaigns, well-crafted stories can help consumers connect to a new product or an alternate brand. As the tale evokes memories or feelings of empathy, they’ll feel more drawn to the product. This is why celebrity endorsements work so well. The consumers connect the product with their favorite television or film star and, because they trust the celebrity, they also will believe the product. This is particularly effective when the celebrity can relate a convincing story about their experiences with the product.
Indeed, the entertainment factor as a part of storytelling helps to keep audiences interested, but there’s also the emotional investment that people begin to feel with the story. They connect with the characters in the story and feel empathy for their situations, so they become invested in seeing how it concludes. Along the way, the audience is exposed to a new product they have never tried before, and the emotional attachment helps compel them toward that brand.