Stories are nailed into our brains right from when we are wee young things.
They are how we make sense of everything. From a very early age, we poked around, learned what things are, and linked things up:
We grew up drawing pictures of the stories of our lives. Kids in warzones draw guns in their stories; others draw smiley suns. Psychologists use the stories from play, to analyse kids’ psychologies.
A story is the linking of event-A to event-B to event-C, etc, with all the zillions of other stuff cut out. A story is a thought-experiment: what happens when there’s A then B then C…?
Thought experiments help us make plans — the more we’ve sussed things out with thought experiments, the more we can figure out what will happen if we do A then B then C. And plans help us do better in life. They are fundamental to survival and to success.
Maybe that’s why we enjoy films, and books, and stories in conversation. Because survival of the fittest has made the story flick on the pleasure switches in our brains — so that we learn. So we can survive and prosper.
We are each the center of our own stories, of course. And when you make your product integral to our story, you are keying into the fundamentals of how we understand the world.
This type of thinking is what drives good copywriting: in ads, in direct marketing, in website copy.
In your story, you’re planting ideas, thoughts, and emotions into people’s brains. Story helps people come to their own conclusions. And when they do that, they are way more convinced than if someone just tells them the facts.
It’s not always about ‘telling a story’. Rather, it’s about weaving in elements of story.
And it’s about becoming a part of people’s stories. With my Vodafone Hole Through The Earth, for example, it’s about being a part of the excitement in their day:
(Of course, it’s not an actual hole. There’s telecoms equipment under the grid.)