Most companies would tell you, “no;” it’s a nice cherry to add on top of your marketing efforts but certainly not the foundation upon which you build things.
But that answer overlooks what “stories” actually are and the important role they play in organizing our world.
Storytelling is a fundamental and essential part of human behavior.
We’ve relied upon stories for our communication since we first started scratching pictures on the walls of the caves we lived in.
The universe is made of stories, not atoms. – Muriel Rukeyser
We create and consume stories, 24/7…
- In the updates we share and consume in our social networks each day
- In the religions we follow and teach to our children
- In our daydreams (which occupy about 8 hours of our day)
- In the brainstorming sessions we hold in our meetings
- In the entertainment and advertising we view across our many screens
- Within the lyrics of the songs to which we listen
- From the mouths of those with whom we talk throughout the day
- In the quiet, deep spaces within our dreams at night
The powerful pull of cyber-Neverland.
As people spend more time online, their reliance on storytelling is growing even stronger.
In fact, there is a danger that someday, “stories” may be the only thing we’ll want to consume…
The future will see an intensification, even a perfection, of what draws us to fiction in the first place. The gravitational pull of story is going to increase manyfold. We will be marooned in cyber-Neverlands, and we will like it that way. – Jonathan Gottschall, “The Storytelling Animal.”
The marketers of tomorrow who hope to reach audiences need to start learning how to use storytelling in new and exciting ways.
Simply “telling your story” won’t be enough.
(Quite frankly who isn’t out there telling someone a story?)
You’ll need to be able to program your story and harness its power to…
- Give shape to the disparate, fleeting impressions your audience has of your brand.
- Provide your audience with structures for working towards their goals and overcoming their obstacles.
- Give your audience a sense of identity.
- Integrate the feelings of your audience’s right brain with the language of their left.
Storytelling will be your ticket to Neverland.
It will be the mark your company leaves on the cave walls of tomorrow.