Storytelling is a primal form of communication. It has traditionally been a way of passing on knowledge, lessons, events and experiences from generation to generation. Stories are the threads that tie us to ancient traditions, legends, myths, even symbols, and they connect us to a larger self and universal truths. Through stories we can experience extreme situations and intense emotions with a safety net.
Think of how easily we can remember stories from our childhood, yet how difficult it is to remember a statistic or piece of data weread about this week. If you want to sell something—whether music, merch or yourself—you have to do it within the context of storytelling. Achieving true engagement happens when you wrap your products in a story, helping consumers to accept them organically into their lives and to share the story as if it were their own. If you approach your career, band, brand, content and so on from a storyteller’s perspective you have the ability to spread it far and wide.
Much like your songs and live show, you need to develop your artist story. It takes practice. Learn to tell it in a way that is engaging and easily spread by others. Your story will make it clear to newspapers why they should feature you, give radio a reason to play you, and so on. Your story will set you apart, add another dimension to your brand and give greater emotional connection to your music.
Your story should be unique. It should set you apart. We are all different, so your story should be too! Once you have developed it, your story should be incorporated into everything you do, especially your PR. In interviews, always bring the answers back around to help tell it. By clearly communicating your story, you will help spread it further than you can ever imagine.
Your favourite bands and brands have a story. Whether it is the classic “hero’s journey,” or a tale about the underdog’s victory or the simple overnight success, it is how we remember and tell others about our favourite performers and brands.
Here are a few reasons why stories are so important:
• They are how we share human experience.
• Unlike facts and data, they are easily remembered.
• They make us, our products, songs, brands, etc. ... unique.
• By wrapping brands, bands, songs, products and so forth into stories, we can spread them virally in the real world.
• In a world inundated by information, a good story can cut through the noise like nothing else.
Stories take place in the imagination and, to the human brain, imagined experiences are processed in the same way that real experiences are. Because of a story’s ability to create genuine emotions and behavioural responses, the brands, products, songs, bands and people that we connect with stories will inevitably be more memorable and stand out.
Sharing personal experiences in stories engages your audience through emotions and allows the audience to feel connected to you. Stories allow us to overcome our differences, understand ourselves better and find our commonalities. They are the highway to our right brain and a way of triggering the imagination. And through imagination we tap into creativity, which in turn is the foundation of innovation and change. If you want people to take action, put the message in a story! The key to a great story is a compelling beginning, an absorbing middle and a satisfying end. A great story doesn’t “tell” the audience something—it makes them “feel” it, because feeling allows the audience to become involved with the story. By feeling we step out of our own shoes and are able to see things from another person’s perspective and feel empathy. We can use stories to persuade others as well as to explain how we justify our own decisions. With the ever-growing number of platforms available online, there have never been as many places and opportunities to share stories.
Creating our own story.
We all have a personal story. In fact, we share our individual stories with the world through the way we live our lives and the way we com- municate with the people around us.
The fact is that we create our own stories, we live them, we tell them to others and we become known by them. We each have to create the story we want to live, share it with the world and have others spread it. That is how we will live the reality we want to live.
I’m sure you know people who have the “gift” of good luck, are happy, never short of work or money, live their dreams and reach the goals they set ... How about people who are hard done by, whose lives are tough, who struggle to find work, for whom money doesn’t come easily, and so on? People tell us the stories they choose to live by and those become the stories we know and associate with them. Moreover, it is how we describe them to others.
How often has a friend or family member changed their story? It’s not easy! Those who do change do it by making a conscious decision and then taking action. They start telling a new story and living by it. It starts with waking up and saying: Today is going to be great! This is who I am and this is my story!
Writing the story of success can include visualization, believing that your thoughts create your future, being open to endless possibility, and making the present the past you want to remember as well as a stepping stone to the future you want to have.
Even though we are discussing personal stories right now, note that the same tactics apply to our careers, businesses, brands and so on. We each need to write and live the story we want to be known by.