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The Power of Story

Stories are a deep part of our culture and our psyche.

From the earliest age we are told stories to guide us through life. We are hard-wired to absorb stories for information and lessons that help us survive and thrive. They are a powerful tool in helping us to better understand one-another.

Stories can change the way we think and drive us towards positive actions. They move, incite and inspire us in ways that facts and figures never do. This happens through two key processes that researchers call narrative transportation and character identification.

Narrative transportation

Icon drawing of a space shuttle in launch position

You know that feeling when you’ve been carried away by a story. When you’ve lost all sense of where you are and instead feel like you’ve gone into the world of the story. Scientific literature refers to this phenomenon as narrative transportation.

Research shows that transporting people into your story can shift their beliefs and drive them towards action. For your story to be effective, it must have an engaging story structure to transport your audience.

Character identification

Icon drawing of an audience watching a person on a screen

To make your story more engaging we use techniques aimed to achieve character identification. That’s when your audience sees the world through your character’s perspective. They feel as if they are experiencing the story as your character. Neuroimaging has revealed that when there is a strong character identification, the brain mimics the character’s. That makes the story feel real and leads the audience to internalise the character’s goals. Whatever the character feels towards your business or organisation, your audience will feel that too. They will feel as if they had experienced the events of the story themselves, as if it had happened to them.

Narrative transportation and character identification support powerful stories that shape and motivate audiences towards positive outcomes.