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.

Author: Karen Anderson

To paraphrase Mark Morris, "I'm a writer; I write!"

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