People have been telling stories for thousands of years.
It is how messages have been passed on from one generation to the next. Fables and cautionary tales – It’s been recognised that stories are the best way to get a message across and to remain memorable.
Because stories trigger an emotional response. Gerald Zaltman, the author of ‘How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market’ found that 95 per cent of cognition happens outside of our conscious brain and inside our subconscious, emotional brain.
Stories activate parts of the brain associated with sight, sound, taste, and movement.
So we feel an experience without directly experiencing it. They transport us into the world of the story and light up our emotional brains, which is where we make our decision whether to buy or not. So that is where you as a business professional need to venture.
So when telling a story – writing or storyboarding a case study – about your product or service, you want to make it vivid and memorable. The language should appeal to all the senses, describing ideally what the users saw, heard and experienced when using your solution. And how much better they felt because they had resolved their problem.
Is this at odds with the cool practicality of the ROI (Return on Investment) narrative?
No, because in any sales process we have to pay attention to the emotional engagement too. To appeal to hearts as well as minds. We’re selling to people, so it requires the people skills of establishing rapport, and building liking and trust. We can help to do that in case studies.
Do you have a story to tell?