Why Stories are Powerful in a Business Context

by David Doze

3 min read

Story Design 101

Part II of Story Design 101 a three-part series on brand building through Story Design, a disciplined approach to creating brand stories that connect, motivate, and stick. You can read Part I here.

Let’s just take brand strategy, design and marketing out of the equation for a moment and focus on the relationship between humans and story.

Stories are how we learn, connect and, ultimately, make decisions. Stories make us stop and think. They take time and emotional space – two of the world’s most precious brand resources. This is precisely why stories are the optimal delivery system for building brand connections, influence and impact.   

How Does Story Design Work?

Our particular approach is rooted in a disciplined process we call Story Design – leveraging the essentials that ensure stories connect, motivate, and stick. We use this model to design original brands, build digital products, and execute multi-channel campaigns. 

At its most basic level, Story Design starts with the 5 essentials of great stories.

1. Purpose

At the outset, you have to give your audience a reason to engage with your story.

Too many brands act as if their intended audience will listen just because they are saying something.

You are not entitled to your audience’s time. You have to earn it. “Give me something of value and I will repay you with my attention.”

Start by considering how you are going to capture attention. Filmmakers and authors often call it the “hook.”

It is the inciting incident that stops us in our tracks. It makes us take a look. 

2. Relatability

Once you have our attention, you must hold it. You have to transport us into your world. To do this, you have to make your story relatable.

If we have no experience or connection to the story action, we’re gone.

Respect your audience and consider how you can connect to their experience – not yours!

3. Shareability

As you move through your story, not only are you focused on retaining your audience’s attention, but you must consider recall. Your story sequence needs to be easily shared.

Brand is the intersection between the story you tell and what others choose to believe, remember, and share. No successful brand is built on its own steam. You need your audiences to participate!

4. Actionability

Which brings us to driving actions. A brand story is only successful if it elicits a response.

You must consider what you want your audience to do and how you are going to nudge such an action.

Sometimes it is as simple as asking, but, again, you will have to earn it. 

5. Delight 

Finally, be original, be interesting, surprise us! Reduce your investment in “churn” and go for “delight.”

Pursue less content and develop more stories.

In most cases, you will not need to spend more, just deploy your resources differently, more creatively.

We can promise you: there will be an immediate and measurable shift in audience engagement and actions. 

Up Next

In Part III, we look at examples of great brand stories that we hope will inspire and motivate you to kick the content habit.  

Pilot is a Story Design company, applying the rigours of behavioural science and design craft to take brands to new heights.