The art of storytelling is one of the oldest and most common forms of expression. From ancient cave paintings to this weekend’s box-office smash, humans are obsessed with telling stories because they hold a key to something we can’t quite explain.
A story, when told well, has a way of burrowing deep into the crevices of the brain. Most people, for example, probably can’t recall the dates or names of the key historical figures involved in the ancient battle of Troy. But it’s easy to remember the story of the Trojan horse. You may even be able to see the horse in your mind. Who cares what it really looked like. The interpretation you’ve created for yourself is what really matters.
At its core, a good story is an idea conveyed through emotions. Sometimes it’s a complicated message, and sometimes it’s just a simple feeling. But all memorable stories tug at the strings of your soul. Cavemen displayed their innovative hunting tactics through paintings in shadowy recesses, authors write to share experiences of the mind, and film directors show people things they may never get to see in their own lives. Why? The fundamental urge to create. Audiences want to connect with characters and their struggles because it helps them make sense of their own situation.
If you truly want an idea to last, weave it into a story. Advertising often misses a huge opportunity by failing to confront a real narrative. Not that there is anything wrong with sticking to standard advertising tactics — showing the product and listing what it can do is an efficient way to educate the customer about what you’re trying to sell. But if you want people to truly remember your brand and have a strong emotional connection to it, you need to tell them a story. Whether it’s recurring characters, a mascot or just telling the story behind your company, don’t be afraid to create something new.
If you tell it well, your idea may last for generations. The Trojans probably didn’t think we’d still be talking about their horse today, but here we are, reminiscing. That’s the power of narrative. So, tell your story. Be remembered.