Andi Bell is able to memorize the order of several decks of cards. He does this by associating each card with a character. The Jack of Clubs becomes a bear, the Two of Spades a pineapple and so on.
He picks a route through a city, making note of buildings and points of interest. He then places these characters along the route. The bear is sawing the pineapple in front of the House of Parliament, for example.
The deck goes from being a complex string of facts to a story whose “plot” occurs on the route.
Bell succeeds by tapping into the greatest of human assets—the emotional brain. That’s because the emotional brain processes sensory information in one fifth of the time the cognitive brain takes.
Bell knows that to remember the cards, he needs to use vivid, emotionally engaging stories to trick his emotional brain into digesting them.
In the business world, branding, marketing and PR all drive your target audience toward the same goal—to get people to remember your company when they are in need of the products or services that you provide.
This can be done simply by telling stories that unconsciously associate your product or service to an emotion.
Screenwriting legend Robert McKee says that there isn’t a product or service that isn’t somehow contributing to the life experiences of people, but he believes that most marketers are trapped in a cycle of thinking they are telling stories when they’re actually just “bragging and promising.”
He says that “when you speak in a story format, it’s instantly absorbed by your audience” and that “if you tell a story beautifully, the mind receives it like a drink of water.”
The best marketers use mental hooks and rich mnemonic strategies in their campaigns. They tell stories and attach emotive imagery that aids information retention into the human memory.
Google hit the nail on the head with its 2013 advertisement, “The True and Lovely Friendship Reunion.” It features two friends, split by the India-Pakistan partition in 1947, who unite after six decades, with some assistance from Google Search. The ad fuels viewers’ emotions and shows how modern technology can help heal old wounds. The ad starts with a grandfather recalling to his granddaughter about his childhood days in Lahore and how he and his close friend Yousuf used to play together and enjoy a particular traditional sweet “jhajariya.” The old man’s pain is felt by his granddaughter, so she embarks on tracking down Yousuf. The two long-lost friends unite in an emotional scene, as seen in the video below.
Google knows that in order to succeed, it must use storytelling to communicate its purpose in an emotive and memorable way.
There is no doubt that memory plays an important subconscious role in decision-making and various factors make our brains determine whether information is important or disposable.
Storytelling is a technique that will give your campaigns the greatest chance of being recalled at the right time. Is your brand doing everything it can to get potential clients to remember you?