Have you ever been on Kickstarter, seen something super cool, but still didn’t buy it? Have you ever come SO close to submitting your credit card info, only to remember that you don’t actually need a panini press that toasts a picture of Jesus into your grilled cheese?
This isn’t one of those almost stories. This is a story of a product I purchased and what got me to support the product.
Did you connect with this video? Are you interested in this product?
Yeah, me too. So much so, I became backer 170 out of 601. And it wasn’t because this Kickstarter campaign came from my hometown.
But why did Yesler Apparel‘s video get me to join 600 other people to become a backer? And all for a hoodie?
The second I was introduced to a compelling narrative, I was hooked on the campaign. I had to watch their video until the end–and I was sold before the end of it.
You’ll find that there’s a lot of interesting neuroscience behind storytelling in marketing and how all of that is more convincing than a sale price, or some great photography of the product.
Studies show that stories engage more of the brain than facts and figures. Facts only engage two areas of the brain, the Broca area and the Wernicke area, whereas stories engage those parts, but also much more.
Some of the other parts of the brain that are engaged by storytelling are the motor cortex, sensory cortex, and the frontal cortex.
Our brains are built to connect with compelling stories, and its been one of the most fundamental communication methods.
Storytelling is a way to plant thoughts, ideas, and emotions into the listener’s brain without either person realizing it. So your experience is transferred to the listener, and they experience it too.
“While the brain watches a story, you’ll find something interesting—the brain doesn’t look like a spectator, it looks more like a participant in the action,” said author, Jonathan Gottschall, in his book The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human.
According to a study by researchers in Spain, more of the brain is engaged when descriptions using the senses are referenced. A few examples of this would be, “he had leathery hands,” or “she had a sultry voice.”
Descriptive language appeals to all of the reader’s senses and is specific. This is a way to show details rather than tell them to the reader via touch, taste, smell, sound, and looks. They are descriptions and details about a subject that your audience will remember and make them experience what your character or characters are experiencing.
One author example is Douglas Adams, most famously known for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which is chock full of his clever and quirky descriptions. “Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green plant whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.” – from the beginning of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
And another author known for his descriptions is Neil Gaiman, who is most known for his novel, American Gods. “I remembered being just-sixteen, and kissing red-cheeked, fair-haired Callie Anders, who lived there, and whose family would soon move to the Shetlands, and I would never kiss her or see her again.” – from the novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
The brain releases dopamine when it experiences an emotionally-charged event which makes you able to remember it with more accuracy.
Its how our brain is wired. When stripped down to its skeleton, a story is a cause and effect.
We think this way.
So how do you make use of our biological wiring?
You take the time to tell a story. It doesn’t need to be complex with lots of layers. It just needs to be something with details that people will hold on to.
Yesler’s Kickstarter campaign accomplished telling a story that compelled me to purchase their product.
The best marketers have figured this out, and they use some stellar storytelling in their campaigns.