Stories. They’re what people remember

Stories are powerful. Stories are what people remember. So why don’t more organizations harness the power of their stories?

Father and daughter story
There’s a story here.

How quickly the news — of Robin Williams’ death, of the police brutality in Ferguson — turns into stories.

Give us a one-sentence headline, and almost immediately we find ourselves appending a story. A story about the state police official who stepped in to march with the protestors. A story about Williams stopping by a young comedian’s dressing room to give an astonishing private performance.

As Jonathan Gottschall explains, stories are powerful. Stories are what people remember.

Yet let marketing and development professionals sit down to their desks in a corporate setting, and what happens when they start to write? Well, they churn out dull grey platitudes and pompous marketing cliches. They purr over features, benefits, and selling points.

They write:

“HealthFix’s new consulting nurse service has won the best ratings in the region! Just one call puts you in touch with a degreed medical professional who can help you get the after-hours care you need. That’s peace of mind.” [add stock photo of beaming nurse with headset]

instead of:

“Jim Wilson’s story: ‘My wife was late getting home from work, I was trying to remember if we had guests coming, and then there was a scream from the kids playing soccer in the back yard. Had my daughter broken her ankle or was it just a sprain? I called the HealthFix consulting nurse service and within two minutes we knew just what to do.'” [add actual photo of Jim and his daughter]

What’s stopping you from reaching out to the people your organization serves and asking to use their stories?

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about what it takes to put stories — your own stories — to work for your organization.

What’s next in website design? Scroll down to see

Suddenly, they’re everywhere. Websites with big, bold home pages. Big headlines. Big, colorful backgrounds that evoke posters. No sidebars, ever. Want more information? Start scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.

Suddenly, they’re everywhere.

Websites with big, bold home pages. Big headlines. Big, colorful backgrounds that evoke posters. No sidebars, ever. Want more information? Start scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.

Take a look at Nordic Rubyscrolling website. And Grovemade.

This isn’t news to designers. But it may be news to lots of folks in Marketing and Communications who are working with the current industry standard template — a top nav; a photo slideshow; three “boxes” filled with teaser information linking to pages deeper in the site; and secondary pages with complex sidebars.

What’s driving the change

Blame the trend toward scrolling sites on mobile devices and tablets (and their touch screens). By late 2013, 28 percent of website visits were from mobile devices (phones and tablets) and that percentage was growing at a phenomenal rate. For businesses whose visitors are in demographics that rely on phones and tablets, the percentage is likely far larger. For the mobile visitor, clicking little text links on a touchscreen is painful; scrolling, a breeze

What’s gained, what’s lost

My experience with mobile-friendly websites that rely on scrolling is that the process of getting information from them is less hierarchical and more immersive. I get a sense of the personality of the organization. If I need to click to get to a secondary page, the link is a large, bold button.

That said, I miss the hierarchy. Without a detailed site map or drop-down navigation, it’s easy to feel that you’re lost and overwhelmed.

Perhaps that’s why some of the most appealing scrolling sites are ones that represent simple, discreet events (such as a conference).

Looking ahead

Thinking about migrating your organization to a scrolling website design? These 12 scrolling sites featured on provide plenty of inspiration. Be sure to check out the Unfold site — it’s a continuous loop!



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