How Does Storytelling Affect Our Brains?

How do we learn about our early ancestors, the early Homo Sapiens, who were yet to develop writing skills? Yes, the most vivid evidence of their times are the cave paintings they left behind. The earlier known cave paintings are thousands of years old and they tell the story of those societies, how they lived, hunted or gathered. We are a species that has been telling stories from the very start. Over generations, our souls and our mind has become accustomed to storytelling. Everywhere in the world, young children are told stories by elders as a way to educate them, inculcate good morals and prepare them for future. We and importantly our customers naturally get attracted to a good story. As a brand owner, have you ever asked yourself- how does storytelling affect our brains?  How can you create stories that allow you to build trust?

How Does Storytelling Affect Our Brains Brandanew Blog

In the world of marketing, experts value storytelling highly. If you look at all the great brands of the world, you will find an interesting story that you recall. Many of these around brand set ups are true events, these brands have worked hard to weave these effectively into pop culture. Brands publicize stories so as to intrigue people and build an aura around the products. This is exactly what needs to be understood by Startups and new or small businesses. Today, we are making an effort to delve a bit deeper into the science as well as the art of storytelling to gain a better understanding.


A perfect brain workout with Storytelling

Our brains are wired complex. Research has shown that a good story can engage the brain in different ways, thus stimulating various parts all at once. It intrigues us and makes us think. It may make us empathize with a character. Certain metaphors can make us imagine harder and visualize various scenarios in our minds. With a bit of planning and creativity, marketers can come up with stories that develop the emotions that they want the customers to feel towards a brand.

How Does Storytelling Affect Our Brains? Brandanew

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The Cause and effect of Storytelling

At the very basic, any story is a sequence of causes and effects. One event leads to another event and the next. Human beings naturally want to know the outcome of a cause and this is what leads them to get engaged in a story. So, a good storyteller must be very clear in this respect. He/she must know what kind of triggers are working with and the plot and imagine an outcome. It is also advisable to understand the psyche of the audience and deliver a climax that satisfies them. One must avoid extremely clichéd and overused elements and explore new ideas and plot-lines.

Stories Create Engagement

While the whole idea of storytelling is suggested to engage the audience, it does get one dimensional at times if you just keep telling the stories. So, one way to improve upon this is to engage people directly by asking them to be a part of the process. For instance you can make up a hypothetical story about the use of your product and let them complete the other half. Such an activity will naturally awaken the storyteller that inherently resides inside every human being and they will always remember this experience and the brand associated with it.

How can you create great stories?

Paul Zak, a professor at Claremont College and author of The Moral Molecule: How Trust Works, has discovered the following (source):

> If you develop tension in the story you will sustain attention.

> If you sustain attention then it is more likely that the people hearing the story will start to share the emotions of the main characters in the story.

> If people share the emotions of the main characters then they are likely to mimic the feelings and behaviors of the characters when the story is over.

> Listening to a character story like this can cause oxytocin to be released.

> Oxytocin release allows people to build trust

Storytelling tips for your brand:

a) Create stories with a sort of tension focusing on emotions.
b) Know the emotional triggers of your audience, so that they can share these and relate to them
c) Maintain the shared trust through consistency and quality.

READ ALSO: 5 Digital Storytelling Projects That Inspire Us

How are you using storytelling for your businesses? Give us a shout-out when you need a tip!

Enakshi Sharma

Digital Storyteller at Brandanew
Enakshi is a storyteller, curator (India Art Fair, 2015), anchor (May Queen, 2015), research associate (Centre for Civil Society, India), a travel writer and a blogger. She's a Digital Storyteller for Brandanew.