Why Story-Driven Marketing Works (According to the Brain)

People in the U.S. consume over 100,00 words every day, as shown by this infographic. A whopping 92% of them prefer to consume content via the form of a story. The numbers speak for themselves, but sometimes the content doesn’t. With that said, which of the following ingredient lists give us a more appetizing read?

Ingredients include blueberries, strawberries, lemon juice, watermelon and apple slices.


It’s hot out and you want something sweet and refreshing, so we put together a fruit salad just like Grandma’s. Fresh-picked organic fruit drenched in squeezed lemon juice, topped with our homemade whipped cream. It’s the best thing you’ll eat all summer.

While these are just small snippets of content, they’re great examples of how words are written matters when attempting to impress an impact on the reader. The first option gets the job done by describing the ingredients of something; but when it comes to grabbing a customer’s attention, it falls flat. Nothing about the first option is exciting or memorable. The second option does a much better job in the engagement category. The description of the food is crafted like a mini story, making the content so much more interesting to read and leaving the reader wanting more.

The effectiveness of a story-driven marketing style isn’t that surprising, considering the immediate reaction a reader has when consuming it. There’s neuroscience behind it, too—our brains react more to stories than plain facts.

When we’re looking at just data or information on its own, only one segment of our brain is in use, the language segment. But when we’re reading stories, several segments of our brain are being stimulated, leading us to feel like we’re actually experiencing whatever it is that we’re reading. Stories help us remember the content of a story much easier by transporting us from our current environment into our imaginations.

Did you know that our brains actually crave stories? Maybe that explains our obsession with binge-watching TV shows, or daydreaming during work or school. Did you know that we spend almost four years of our lifetime daydreaming? Science shows that we tend to wander around in our minds and enjoy it. And as a business owner, replicating that feeling with your marketing tactics could be a great idea.

Creative storytelling is becoming more and more popular among major brands today. Top companies are using stories to connect with their customer base, and it’s working. Take All-State, Red Bull or Coca-Cola; you can probably think of a commercial they ran recently because they had a good story and left an impact. These companies don’t just leave the story-telling to commercials, they infuse it throughout their marketing collateral to help them stay on top in their respective industries.

Selling a service or product shouldn’t be much different than telling a story. In fact, they should go hand-in-hand. Think about it, put yourself in the shoes of your customer and imagine you’re reading a story about a brand. If you feel like you’re actually experiencing something, the brand is more likely to stick in your mind. It’s more likely to become something you’ll want to support and continue to have in your life.  

It’s important to reel your customers in with a story, and then keep them there with compelling content. When numbers and facts are thrown at them in dry, salesy tones, your marketing tactics will never work. Eyes begin to glaze over, people hit DELETE or they’ll exit out of the tab on their browser. And they’ll probably never return.