It took millions of years, but our once very basic lizard-like brains evolved to become complex systems with a critical purpose: survival of the species. And although we are learning more every day about what makes the human brain tick, it remains in many ways an unexplored frontier. One thing we know for sure, though, is that our amazing, extraordinary, complicated, big brains developed to make us successfully social.
Our earliest ancestors did not possess fangs and claws, nor great strength. We could run and climb, but what made us truly successful is that we formed social groups. We banded together to make us stronger and to grow our population. We have always lived in families, tribes, villages, cities, countries, teams, parties. We connect with one another, and we use our amazing social brains to build and nurture relationships of all kinds.
Think about it: we tell stories all day long. We do it to explain something – to amuse or compel an emotion from someone. We do it to establish and maintain common ground. We weave, share, and build on the stories of our lives at the water cooler, at the dinner table, over coffee, on Facebook. It’s what we are. We’re storytellers.
Telling stories is powerful and emotional and connecting. It fires up our brains. And those brains have a large repository where we can catalog, organize, retain, draw from, and use often all the stories we have told or been told. This vast tapestry makes nations and partnerships alike. It’s the fabric of humanity.
Storytelling and branding are a perfect match.
In business, in organizations of any kind, everything is built on ideas. Products, services, creative works, inventions, developments – all began with an idea. And every idea began with one excited person telling another all about it.
How can you measure your return on investment (ROI) for using brand storytelling? Well, it’s a part of the whole. Of course, you have your marketing goals, you use a variety of tools and strategies, and you can capture and analyze metrics to measure their effect. But storytelling is the glue that holds it all together. In many ways, storytelling is an ROI boon. The storytelling part of the equation is hard to predict and measure. But we know it works.
The bottom line is cost per lead, per follower, per page. You can get there by a number of different paths: lead generation, website and social media traffic stats, response and conversion rates. These are all ways to trace how storytelling is performing.
But the best way is to show how storytelling and a compelling narrative evoke emotional responses from customers hardwired to respond.
What happens when someone sees a logo, whether it’s on a billboard, a t-shirt, or online? A well-designed logo tells a story all by itself. Its colors, shapes, words, fonts are all chosen to reflect the core story behind a brand. The idea is to fire up the viewer’s long memory, get them to remember how that color made them feel, what that font says to them, that shape, that graphic. What do these tell them about their life experience? They’re meant to tug at the viewer’s history, make them feel something they can draw upon, connect to, feel a part of – something that matters deeply to them.
Think about photos, too. About how they can tell deep and powerful stories that move us, that take us to places we can’t go otherwise.
A great picture can change the world, can give rise to anything from a meme to a revolution.
A story can be in words, in pictures, or on video. Whatever the medium, the choices made by the one crafting the story can bring an audience to the heights of empathy, the thrill of suspense, or the magic of laughter and the deepest emotions.
Stories bring us together. They remind us – whether we’re talking about an idea, asking for a donation, or trying to get someone to buy something – that everything about us is connected. And all those connections matter to everything we are as a people.
For each one of the 7.5-plus billion people on this earth, there’s a unique story to tell. And for every idea, product, service, or development, there’s a unique story to tell to those people. Every one of those unique stories offers a compelling moment of continuity and common ground, a safe place where we know who we are and why we care and try every day so hard to be the best we can be.
Brand stories – well made – can have power enough to forge loyalty and enthusiasm because we all want to connect. We all want to make choices that matter to what we care about most. We get there when we share a story and feel strongly about it.
Our early ancestors at the end of a hard day shared a meal around a campfire for protection and communion. And in the flickering light, through gestures and sounds, they told one another stories. And the world that we made was born.
Part of what we do at Gallardo Labs is to help organizations connect with their audience in new exciting ways that matter most, creating digital experiences for them that are memorable and shareworthy. Have your own story to tell? Send us an email or follow us on Instagram (@gallardolabs) and see how we can help you share it with the world!