According to one Stanford study, using stories to communicate facts is 22 times more effective than using facts alone.
If you’ve ever taken a history test, this makes perfect sense. Sure, you can memorize a list of people, places, and dates the night before the test. But it’s the stories surrounding the facts that you’ll remember long after you forgot who ruled the Byzantine Empire between 610 and 640.
In advertising, not all facts need stories to be effective. Let’s say your client just invented something so groundbreaking, the fact speaks for itself. In that case the fact itself is the story.
Generally speaking, the farther you go down the purchase funnel (or as I like to call it, the rabbit hole), the more facts consumers need to make an informed decision. A potential customer isn’t going to lay out three grand for a new flat screen without facts and lots of ’em. Specs, charts, more specs, online shows, tech websites, store visits, customer reviews, independent reviews. And don’t forget his neighbor’s review, “Whatever you buy make sure it’s goddam future-proof!” Oh, and one more thing to consider. Come Cyber Monday, all bets are off.
There’s just one more fact I’d like to share with you. The average consumer sees 5,000 ads a day.
This fact brings us back to the top end of the purchase funnel where brand awareness and consideration live and where storytelling really shines. So take one fact, the most important fact you want to communicate, and wrap it and your brand in a story so compelling, potential customers can’t forget it. Yes, it’s a lot easier said than done. Most advertising is invisible. Below are just a few examples of ones that aren’t.
Want to be a better creative thinker? Learn how to be a better storyteller.