We talk a lot about stories here at Neuromarketing, for one reason: our brains love stories, which makes them a powerful tool for marketers. Influence expert Danny Brown (@DannyBrown) hits on a key aspect of successful stories in Why the Human Story Will Always Beat Brand Storytelling. (For more story stories, see Your Brain on Stories, and other story posts.) […]
One of the toughest persuasion tasks is convincing a jury in a courtroom. Car salespeople have it easy by comparison – they control the environment and have the undivided attention of the customer. Imagine if you were in a Lexus showroom listening to why you should buy one of their vehicles, and at your elbow was a BMW salesperson, periodically objecting to the Lexus pitch and then delivering her own. That’s the situation in a courtroom – arguments presented by one side will be directly (and mercilessly) attacked by the other side. One trial-proven persuasion strategy is the use of stories.
Researchers Philip Mazzocco and Melanie Green draw a contrast between rhetorical persuasion, in essence arguing with facts and logic, and the use of narratives to influence decisions. They conclude that stories are more effective at changing emotional beliefs that logical arguments have difficulty reaching.
The whole discussion is an interesting read, but for me one big takeaway is the list of factors that have been found to make stories more persuasive:
Why is DARPA paying academic researchers to study how Hitchcock suspense films and Clint Eastwood westerns light up our brains?
Last week my post at Copyblogger, How to Write Weapons Grade Copy, focused on the power of stories to hold the attention of a customer. Here’s a heartwarming ad from the UK department store John Lewis that shows how even a rather long (1.5 minutes) ad can keep a viewer engaged: […]
A vivid story can put us in a more altruistic mode, a study shows. UK researchers looked at the two ways people think about death – abstractly or specifically. They used a detailed story which placed the reader in a burning apartment to activate specific death thoughts. A second group of subjects answered more general questions about death, while a control group was exposed to non-death-related material. They then gave subjects a second item to read, an article about blood donations which came in two versions, suggesting that blood donations were either at record highs or record lows. Finally, all subjects were given the opportunity to express an interest in donating blood. […]
Our brains like stories. That’s not a new theme here at Neuromarketing, but now there’s biometric evidence that supports what the best speakers already know: telling a story keeps the audience engaged. […]
In The Million Dollar Pickle (retitled after a reader suggested the original title When Stories Don’t Sell wasn’t that good), I retold a story about how a single bad customer service experience turned a business author and speaker into a negative PR machine for a local supermarket. What sparked that post was my OWN version of a pickle story. Oddly, my story also involves a condiment vegetable: the humble olive. […]
The power of anecdotes to persuade (see Why Stories Sell and Your Brain on Stories) is established, but there’s a dark side to that power. Quite simply, an effective story can take over our brains to the point where we disregard more valid information: reliable statistics, the opinions of true experts, and so on. […]