Story Telling

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

26 September 2019

Story telling is the oldest human pastime. The oldest written story known to man is The Epic of Gilgamesh, which dates to more than 4,000 years ago. For as long as humans could speak, we’ve been telling stories to translate our experiences, to understand our purpose, and to entertain ourselves. Even as a human in 2019, reading the story of Gilgamesh is valid and encapsulates a message that is relevant in my life. I’m currently reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, which was written in 1818 (that’s 201 years ago!). And I’m finding relevant ideas and advice to help formulate my understanding of the world. (Thanks, Mary!) Here’s one quote that especially stood out to me:

With how many things are we on the brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries. ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Marketing = Effective Story Telling

OCG is a storytelling firm. We believe every brand has a story to tell. We’ve been telling those stories and perfecting our craft for more than 15 years. Some marketing firms believe the latest jargon can grab the most attention. Others use modern technologies and the latest online shortcuts to attract their current victims … uh … clients. And while we may be called old-fashioned for believing stories are the best way to drive people to your brand, we also know science supports our stance.

The idea that we’re ‘wired for story’ is more than a catchy phrase. Neuroeconomist, Dr. Paul Zak, has found that following a story – a narrative with a beginning, a middle, and an end – causes our brains to release cortisol and oxytocin. These chemicals trigger the uniquely human ability to connect, empathize, and make meaning. Story is literally in our DNA. ― Brené Brown, Rising Strong

Getting your target audience to read your story and connect, to empathize, and to interpret meaning is our goal. If your story is told successfully, the emotional connection can be felt by way of chemicals in the brain. If the story is told effectively, that connection can be felt by many.

At the end of the day, it’s always about people. A company, a target audience, a family, a LinkedIn group, a vendor, or a customer: they all have one common denominator … people.

Help people form connections. Entice them with your purpose. Entertain them with your experience. And for goodness sake, if you seem to be treading water, take a step back and refocus – or hire a storyteller to do it for you.

Every story needs an ending and what better ending is there than overcoming a rough middle.