The Irresistible Power of Storytelling

People think it’s all about sex or humor or animals, but what we’ve found is that the underbelly of a great commercial is whether it tells a story or not.

Keith Quesenberry, researcher, Johns Hopkins Center for Leadership Education.

Want to sell a product?  Want to explain a complex idea?  Want your audience to actually remember what you said?  Consider using classic storytelling techniques.

These techniques are ancient – dating back to Aristotle – and include literary terms like exposition, complication, climax, reversal and denouement.  Simplified, great storytelling includes a likable main character, some sort of action or complication and a result or ending.

The best stories use concrete language and images, instead of abstract ideas.  They show, rather than tell.

In this article published by the Harvard Business Review, the science behind why people react so strongly to stories is explained, beginning with why Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” ad scored top marks in USA Today’s Ad Meter and Hulu’s Ad Zone as a fan favorite during the 2014 Super Bowl.

Other examples of storytelling techniques:

My Heart Attack Taught Me To Slow Down, by Bill Marriott. Marriott on the Move.

The following scene from The Blind Side:

Your Wishes Delivered: Driver for a Day.  UPS

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