Storytelling has long been a topic of interest to brands, because, with the right stories you can convey your brand’s values, differentiate it from competitors, make it memorable, and give influencers something they can use as a springboard to create their own stories. What’s not to like?
Carmen Simon, PhD, author of “Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions,” has shared some of her thoughts about storytelling in a Brand Strategy Insider article. Good storytelling is founded in memory, she says, and “ … all memories include some combination of sensory elements, contextual details, cognitive processes involved when that memory was formed, abstract concepts, and meaning.” Appealing to emotion is particularly helpful, because it makes the search for memories easier. And considering all these elements helps in creating a formula for good storytelling.
That said, here are a few tips for creating memorable stories:
- Balance the concrete and the abstract in your communications and keep your audience alert by varying your pattern.
- Start with the generic and move to the specific. Degree of specificity depends on how advanced your audience is.
- “Text and graphics have the potential to be equals in memory. Make pictures easy to label and text easy to picture.” (Refreshing news to someone who’s been hearing a lot of shade recently thrown at the written word.)
- Use visuals to convey abstract concepts and avoid clichéd images.
- Activate different parts of the brain and create more memory traces by appealing to the senses. Sharing personal experiences will allow you to share more sensory details.
Which of the brand stories you’ve been exposed to lives in your memory? It’s freaky, I know, but I still remember one of the early Mary Kay ads, which pictures a dignified, silver-haired gentleman tanning a piece of leather and linking the process to the product line’s ability to create similar miracles for our skins.