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The term storytelling has become established in the management world – in particular in brand management, marketing, sales, and change management. Storytelling describes the strategic use of stories to evoke an emotional response in listeners in order to impress or persuade them.

Storytelling is especially suited to convey facts and historic events about a product or a brand in unusual ways. Such content is remembered longer and more intensely. This proven effect of storytelling is based in the different ways the two halves of our brains function: While the left brain is responsible for analytical, linear processes, the right brain is in charge of creative and emotional decisions. By connecting facts with stories, both brain halves are engaged and the content is engrained for longer and more permanently.

The result of storytelling is heightened attention in the listener. It boosts the persuasiveness of the brand and leads to identification and trust in the product and the brand.

A story should satisfy these requirements:

  1. As simple as possible
  2. Authentic
  3. Credible
  4. Attractive to the listener
  5. Emotional
  6. Adaptable to different situations and listeners
  7. The brand or the product and its benefit to the listener should be the focus.

The following types of stories are conceivable:

  1. Historical: Reference to history, for example founding, invention of the core product, or challenges successfully mastered. Examples would be the invention of the automobile by Carl Benz, or the Bentley Boys of the Bentley brand, who won a number of races with the brand during the 1920s, or the founding of HP in an American garage.
  2. Mythical: Often product-related myths that surround a product, such as the secret formula for Coca-Cola.
  3. Experience-based: These are true stories told by customers about the brand or the product. They are sent via social media to the companies, who can then use them for strategic storytelling.

One very famous storyteller is Steve Jobs, who started one of his best-known talks at Stanford University with the sentence. "Today I want to tell you three stories of my life", Martin Luther King Jr. with his "I have a Dream" speech, or Warren Buffet, of whom this quote claims: "He takes the cold hard facts of his investment strategies, wraps them in his honest emotion, and the resulting story has transformed Berkshire Hathaway into an unstoppable money-making machine."

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The BrandTrust Brand Glossary