By Bram Vanoirbeek
Founder, The Thing About Stories
“The human brain is wired to pay attention to stories. For centuries storytelling was used around our ancestors’ campfires to explain how the world works, to point out dangers and to share discoveries.
Until we no longer got together around campfires or fireplaces. This is when newspapers, radio, television and the internet picked up the slack.
Every society in the world is built upon its stories.
Stories make facts easier to process, and processing speed has been essential to our survival as a species. When attacked by a saber-toothed tiger, it’s quicker to act based on a quick-firing emotion rather than a carefully considered logical decision.
The most impactful advertising plays into this. Nike doesn’t (just) tell you what type of fabric their sneakers are made of. They tell you to “just do it”. Apple encourages you to “think different” and even the (perhaps morally questionable) Marlboro Man was not selling cigarettes but an entire lifestyle.
I’ve always been intrigued by those advertisers that get their narrative so right. Equally, ever since I was a little boy I’ve been dreaming up more impactful alternatives of the frightfully boring adverts that are hurled at us at an increasing rate.
This fascination inspired me to go study strategic communications at university. My dream was to build an advertising agency with the aim to create adverts that would actually strike a chord with the intended audiences.
It’s at university that I also discovered my love for improvisational theatre. Improv makes people’s need for emotional connections and stories more clear than any other form of performing arts. If you’re building up a scene that doesn’t resonate or doesn’t support a compelling narrative, you will lose your audience almost immediately.
Fast forward more than a decade and after two master degrees, a teachers degree, setting up three different marketing consultancies and developing digital content strategies for industries varying from law to truck tyres to e-books, I decided to refocus our business to that what I love most: helping organisations uncover their story and communicate it in a clear, captivating and consistent way.
It’s the only way to win your customers’ hearts and to inspire your employees, combatting the mortal enemies of any successful business: low conversion and retention rates, low employees engagement and high staff turnover.
Storytelling is for the business of today what steam was for factories during the industrial revolution. Those who leverage its potential can create an incredible competitive advantage.
And similar to the engineers at the forefront of the industrial revolution, compelling storytelling it is incredibly exciting to leverage proven methods and creativity to make a difference. “
Read more about the importance of storytelling for winning new business and how to inspire your employees. Or find out how we go about distilling your story, using the mould of your story to forge your brand and craft a consistent content strategy. Or get in touch for a free consultation.