The Science of Storytelling, Because People Want to Empathize


CMO's, marketers, agencies, and all creatives are always looking for new ways to reach their target audience. What better way to do that than by understanding the science of storytelling?  You heard that right, the SCIENCE of storytelling. Turns out, we're hardwired to empathize with stories, and that's why they're such a powerful marketing tool.

Good storytelling affects us emotionally. At Backflip, we experience this every day as we work to tease the emotion out of an interview or shot. The best part is that more and more studies are being done that support this and tell us a little bit about why it works. It boils down to the fact that as humans we want to empathize. We put ourselves into the stories we encounter and get emotional along with those in the story.

The power of storytelling is no secret; it's been used throughout history to entertain, teach, and engage audiences. But why? Why are stories so intoxicating? Are we just a bunch of suckers who can't resist a good yarn?

Actually, there's a scientific explanation for our love of stories. When we hear a story, our brains release oxytocin, the "cuddle hormone." Oxytocin is associated with feelings of love, trust, and bonding, which explains why we feel so connected to characters in our favorite novels or movies. In fact, one study found that people who read fiction were more likely to display empathy towards others.

What is one way to encourage someone to [INSERT ACTIVITY HERE]? Simple! Tell a story where the viewer can empathize with a character who can overcome their struggle by ([INSERT ACTIVITY HERE] or [HELP FROM THE ACTIVITY]). Example: Want to encourage donations? Tell a story with a character who has overcome her struggle because of the direct influence of the organization you want donations for.

It's simple when you see it written down, that's the science part, the formula. It's much harder to write a story that will actually work in this manner, that's the art. That's where we can help ;) Check out our portfolio to see examples of this style of storytelling.

So there you have it: the science of storytelling. Now go forth and use this knowledge responsibly to create compelling marketing campaigns that will resonate with your audience on a deep level!

For more reading on this topic check out this series of articles from Fast Company.

This entry was posted in creative, storytelling, science