The power of stories

“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.” –Ursula Le Guin

As far as we know, storytelling has been around as long as people have—with good reason. It might be with pictures, song, or dance. It might be the spoken or the written word. Whatever the medium, telling a good story touches people. Shakes ‘em up. Gets at our human need to share experience, build understanding, convey wisdom, and simply have fun.

We live in interesting storytelling times. Once we settled in with the internet, everything changed. Suddenly, everyone’s a writer. Video is everywhere. Some people complain that this democratization of accessibility has lowered the bar, removed valuable barriers to entry. Sure, there’s a lot of unfortunate stuff out there. But I think there’s some good news too. One example: The proliferation of stories, the sheer amount of words audiences are exposed to, is pushing us to up our game. Stand out from the growing crowd. Hone our messages. Craft better media. Because some of what we’re competing with is beautifully creative.

And another thing: Social media is forcing stories into smaller and smaller containers. Not that a 280-character tweet is the only way to get the word out. But the skill to create a pithy, worthwhile message should not be underestimated. While I don’t particularly appreciate the fractured attention spans modern times have wrought, I do find it kind of exciting that what used to be one-way mass communications is now a many-to-many interactive party.

Whatever its length or form, an authentic story is a sure bet to connect meaningfully with your customers. Today’s great stories are invitations to engage. They have soul. What’s yours? Why should anyone care? And how can we tell it in a way that embodies your genuine spirit and draws your audience irresistibly in?