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The value of storytelling

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Maryke Van Lill: Business Leader

There is an old story that one day, on his way to work, David Ogilvy came across a beggar with a sign around his neck. ‘I AM BLIND.’ The story goes that the man’s cup was empty and he was therefore not doing very well. Ogilvy then explained to the man what he did for a living and asked if he could add to the sign around his neck. On Ogilvy’s way home after work, he once again passed the beggar, and saw that his cup was full. The beggar then asked him what did he added, and Ogilvy responded, ‘IT IS SPRING AND I AM BLIND.’

David Ogilvy understood the value of storytelling.

Whether the story is fictional or based on facts, storytelling is the differentiating factor which through a narrative can communicate a brand’s values. In other words, what a brand stands for, not what it sells.

People are becoming more and more interested in buying into an experience rather than the actual product. Ask yourself, do you remember the calories in that glass of wine that you had last night, or do you remember the company in which it was shared. Contributing to this, is the fact that facts are easier to remember when you add a story.

And of course we all know that a good story triggers an emotional reaction, whether this is anger, compassion or happiness. Therefore emotional connections are not built on facts, but on stories. A good story not only increases conversation, but also increases the value of the conversation.

The connection that brands bridge through storytelling builds a strong emotional connection with a brand and in the end builds trust in the brand.

In a data-driven world, storytelling might be one of the last tools available to use in the battle of winning over the hearts of our customers.

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