It seemed like my grandparents knew everything. I could listen to them talk for hours, and even when I was supposed to be sleeping, I would sneak to the top of the stairs, lay on my belly, and eavesdrop on them talking to other people. I remember those conversations like they were yesterday… but I can’t remember what I heard yesterday.
Why is that? Because there’s no story.
Would you rather look at your friend’s souvenir from a trip to China, or hear how he acquired it? Do you remember the uneventful boat tour you had in Amsterdam or running smack dab into the middle of the anti-American protest (ask me about that one…)? Would you rather watch a boxing match or the movie Rocky?
Since the beginning of time, people have passed on information by telling a story. It’s an art that has been lost in this age of information, where you can literally find a hundred million pieces of information about any topic and without interacting with anybody. People are desensitized and they’ve stopped paying attention to the minutia of messages.
So, as a marketer, how do you not only grab somebody’s attention, but get them to remember you for more than six seconds after your interaction? You tell a story.
Stories help us remember because they involve humans instead of statistics, features, or insignificant details. A good story helps the audience put themselves in the shoes of the protagonist, and once they are in invested in the story, the listener will more readily accept the lessons learned by the heroes in the story.
One Moore Thing: Telling a great story (and being a great storyteller) gives you a chance to frame a problem and provide a solution. People will remember what you said long after they’ve forgotten your competition’s name.