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  • Drury Bynum


Updated: Nov 22, 2019

Does a story exist if there’s no one listening?

At bare minimum, a story requires two people. For both parties there must be an exchange of value that makes it work. For the storyteller, an engaged listener validates the story with their attention. For the listener, their attention is rewarded with a great story.

This is the first rule of storytelling:

1. You must grab the audience’s attention.

It seems like a basic no-brainer, but if you don’t follow this first rule, you’ll never make it to the second rule, and you'd be surprised at many break this rule in video.

For brands, mastery of this rule enables emotional connections with customers that build trust and loyalty.

Think about why we like certain stories. There is something in them that speaks to us. Like, directly to us. We see ourselves in a character because we want the same thing they do, whether it is the need for self expression, the need to feel a romantic connection or the need to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. When we see the possibility of having our emotional need satisfied, it ignites our imagination and invites us into the story.

So, how do you tell stories that speak to these emotional needs?

For brands, you must look beyond the immediate problem you solve for your customers. Discover how that solution extends deep into their lives. That is where you find the need.

For instance, If you make software that saves people time, what benefit does that time bring them? Clarity of mind that produces great ideas? The opportunity to begin a personal project? Indulge in a day of self-care?

Your story, then, focuses on how your time-saving software facilitates self-expression in the lives of your customer.

This is how you get their attention.

Their own need for self-expression is being carried out before their eyes and it excites them to be a part of it. They go along for the ride in hopes of witnessing that need being satisfied. When this happens, you’re in hearts and minds territory and the trust generated allows your audience to believe in you because now you’re both participants in the same story.

Stay tuned for the next Rule in Storytelling + to learn more about how we can help your brand tell better stories and help you speak authentically to your audience's needs, email us:

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