Jennifer Aaker, a marketing professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business says that neuroscience studies show that our brains are wired to better remember stories more than data, facts, and figures.
“When most people advocate for an idea we think of a compelling argument, a fact or a figure,” she explains. “But research shows that our brains are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long. Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories.”
Aaker describes how a marketing researcher asked students in her class to make a 1-minute pitch. Only one out of ten students actually used a story in their pitch. She then asked the class to write down everything they remembered about each pitch. Five percent of the students cited a statistic while 63 percent remembered the story.
People respond more to emotion than to statistics, and this is where marketers and business leaders can go wrong. Unless you’re just selling a commodity – today a company can’t exist without stories. Every company needs to be engaged in storytelling.
“A story is a journey that moves the listener, and when the listener goes on that journey they feel different and the result is persuasion and action,” says Aaker.