Using the Power of Stories

Using the power of stories.Stories have been around since the beginning. We read books full of stories; we watch movies made from stories; we tell stories on a daily basis.

In fact, the story is Jonah Berger’s last piece in his book, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On.”

The thing about stories is that they often carry messages and information. Think about those tales your parents used to tell you. From Little Red Riding Hood to The Boy Who Cried Wolf, those stories have messages hidden between the red cape and the shepherd boy. Little Red Riding Hood teaches us to be wary of strangers; The Boy Who Cried Wolf warns against lying.

Stories like these have been used for centuries; in fact, quite a few fairy tales were tampered with over the years in order to teach children various lessons.

The thing is, we are surrounded by stories. “People are so used to telling stories that they create narratives even when they don’t actually need to,” wrote Berger.

However, he also says this: “But while people focus on the story itself, information comes along for the ride.”

Think about it: Last time you found a product you really loved, did you just go up to your friends and pitch it to them, stating facts and percentages? No. You probably had a story to go along with it, a change that you personally saw from using it. Berger states people are less likely to argue against stories versus advertising claims because “we’re so engaged in following the narrative that we don’t have the energy to question what is being said.”

So, what stories are waiting to be told at your Box? We all know CrossFit changes lives daily, so those stories won’t be hard to find. However, when your members go out, do they have ample opportunities to talk about your gym? Is your message applicable to more aspects than just fitness?

Stories that encompass your brand and message also need to do so relevantly. “Virality is most valuable when the brand or product benefit is integral to the story,” wrote Berger. “When it’s woven so deeply into the narrative that people can’t tell the story without mentioning it.”

You see this all the time with commercials: Sometimes they are hilarious and shareable. However, sometimes you don’t even know what they are for. The message gets lost as it’s not connecting effectively to the hilarity of the ad. So, when you send out testimonial videos or perform social media campaigns, tell a story. But do so by making your brand a vital piece to the storytelling, because otherwise it’ll be left out.

“So build a Social Currency-laden, Triggered, Emotional, Public, Practically Valuable Trojan Horse, but don’t forget to hide your message inside,” wrote Berger. “Make sure your desired information is so embedded into the plot that people can’t tell the story without it.”

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.