Tell me and I'll forget.

Show me and I'll remember.

Engage me and I will understand.


In a world where technology moves at the speed of light and the amount of information doubles every few years, we as humans are sorting through the chaos of information that overwhelms our lives just as fast. We yearn for a new form of communication that connects us authentically to ourselves and to each other. The evidence is all around us.

In 1993 the two then-unknown authors sold millions of copies of their self-published book, making it one of the best-selling books of the 20th century. Most of us have (or have) a copy of that book, Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Kentfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Since then, more than 30 different chicken soups have been released for the soul theme.

Why have they been so popular? Reason #1: The power of story. Stories, since the dawn of civilization, have been an irreplaceable form of communication that touches our hearts, revives our souls, and connects us to one another. Stories fill a void that no amount of information will ever be able to satisfy.

1. Stories build trust.

People don't want information anymore. They are overloaded with the amount of information they already have. All they want is to trust you, your words and your intentions. Stories give your customers and employees a peek inside you, your values and beliefs, and an authentic connection that no amount of data can provide.

2. Stories appeal to our hearts, emotions and imaginations.

Stories communicate directly with our reptilian brain which is the part of the brain that controls sensory experiences and our emotional responses to them. In my previous article, "Neuromarketing - 7 Secrets to Unlocking Your Customer's Brain for Instant Sales," I shared how your customers make their purchasing decisions from the reptilian brain. Because stories stir our emotions, they can also spark action, creativity, collaboration, and fast relationships.

3. Stories are memorable.

According to storytelling guru Doug Stevenson, a memory is created when a person's attention is engaged for a long period of time. By stimulating our senses, stories keep us engaged for longer and the message sticks; Where data usually leaves our memory in less than 2 seconds.

4. Stories bypass conscious resistance and speak directly to our unconscious mind.

At a conscious level, we all have biases that create resistance to certain solutions, approaches, and messages. If you go to someone and say "here's your solution," it's probably going to be ineffective. Expressing your perspective through a story, however, will bypass conscious resistance and "hear" on a deeper level. This unique advantage of storytelling alone makes it a powerful tool for marketing, leadership, culture building and personal development.

5. Stories are transformative.

Stories not only have the power to change the way we think. Stories have the power to inspire us, awaken our potential and shape the way we live. Stories can catalyze deep lasting change – whether for one person or an entire organization.

The Magic of Storytelling: How Great Companies Impress Customers, Ignite Employees, and Make Your Competitors Envious

While there are many ways to use stories as a strategic advantage in business, below are three forms of storytelling with huge payoffs.

Branding story

The purpose of a brand is to stand out in the minds of your customers and connect them emotionally with your product/service. In today's crowded, me-too market, it's the brand whose customers tell the best story that wins.

Super-brands and their super-stories are all around us. Apple, Pepsi, Southwest Airlines and yes, even Harry Potter to name just a few.

In 1985, I worked as a sales temp at Nordstrom during the holidays for extra cash while starting my business. The most memorable part of the experience was the story the HR manager shared on the first day of employee orientation. After reviewing their return policy, they told us about a customer who brought back a fridge and the store happily issued a full refund, no questions asked. And Nordstrom doesn't even sell refrigerators!

It's Nordstrom's world-class customer service and going the extra mile that creates word-of-mouth customer evangelism - the envy of every retail business. If you don't have a story to tell, your brand may be in trouble.

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