09 Aug The Power of Storytelling
Most of us have been told stories our whole life, from the ‘big fish’ stories an uncle tells to the story of a place far, far away. But seldom do we sit back and talk about the impact of stories.
The primary reason is time. Yes, time.
Our world these days have us running around with our phones constantly out; tweeting about some piece of news, instagramming a nice sunset shot, updating facebook with a kid pic, or flipboarding the top stories.
I’ve basically just described myself, which for anyone who knows me, knows that’s the case. But even in this fast paced world where we all seem to have the attention span of a gnat, you can see the power of story. Take some time to slow down and think about a story that inspired you to act, or created a sense of awareness about a new topic that moved you to learn more.
Storytelling can be powerful for people, brands, and movements – but the power does not come from the length of the story, nor the size of the brand telling it. The power comes from taking people on a journey, and that journey can be taken via photography, video, written content or music.
The sound of the Star Wars theme immediately takes me to not only my childhood, but to a galaxy far, far away. From waiting in line to see A New Hope back in 1977, to the giddiness of watching The Force Awakens on opening night, the original score truly tells a story with no words. It’s a score that drew the world in 40 years ago and again in 2015.
The power of story laced into a video documentary can be seen in Blackfish – a story that inspired people to act, that Sea World went from beloved brand, to second on the list of most hated companies. It’s the plight of one orca, told in a way that connects the viewer to the plight of all the captive orcas. It shows that when we get past the focus on data and delve into the emotional connection, actual movements can occur.
The simplicity in the photograpy and personal stories on the site Humans of New York has transfixed the world. One man and a camera taking the time to ask people to tell their stories. Stories of hope and tragedy, success and failure.
The time it took to intertwine the John Williams score into the movie. The time taken to build a movement around the story of one orca. The time it takes to stop a stranger on the street and ask them to tell you their story.
The art of creating a powerful brand story takes time. It needs to connect on a visual and emotional level in order to be effective.
But don’t take my word for it, follow the words of the wise soul Ferris Bueller.
‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.’