“Tell me a fact and learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” – Indian proverb.

If you spent any time at all conversing with staff at 78Madison, they all will tell you that I am obsessed with storytelling – it’s what we do every day on behalf of our clients.  Stories can be magical.  They present a golden opportunity for us to connect our clients to their customers in an amazingly compelling way.

But what makes a good story?

At 78Madison we believe a good story is the one that’s best in the eyes of the reader/listener. Not the “right” story. Not even the most frequently told story. But the story that means the most to the greatest number of people – the one that is remembered.

Below are three reasons why we work hard at telling stories at 78Madison.

ONE, stories are powerful memory aids.  Even those with a poor memory (like me) will remember a good story…a good ad. Further, the more specific your story, the more listeners and readers alike can visualize, feel the situation and immerse themselves into it…become part of it.  Details of a story matter – peoples names, dates, thoughts, unique settings and special emotions.  Consider copy we wrote recently for a client of ours…

You’re standing in the shadow of a hundred-year-old lighthouse. Sounds seem to travel on the easterly wind. You hear the shouts of fishermen returning from a good days catch…the echoes of gulls in the marina…the music of a calm lake. Take a deep breath of fresh air, and you’ll also catch a whiff of fresh paint, carpentry and even clam chowder.

And if you squint your eyes, you can almost picture the clapboard cottages and boats tugging at the moorings.

You might guess Nantucket. Or Cape Cod. You could name any one of a hundred New England fishing villages, and you’d be close.  But this is much closer. This is East Bay, an old Florida Coastal Town…

TWO, stories connect you to the audience. Assuming the story you are telling is relevant to the audience you are telling it to, it will pull them into your world…your brand.  Too many advertisers think that their job is to deliver content.  Wrong. Our job is to connect with an audience, in the most powerful way possible, and then deliver the content.  Of course, one of the best ways to do that is through storytelling because stories are a combination of left brain fact, and right brain emotion – and don’t underestimate the importance of emotion in the decision-making process.

THREE, stories ensure attention.  When a story is being told, people rarely interrupt because they want to hear how the story ends.  I know you can relate, right?  Doesn’t it bother you (as it does me) when you are engrossed in a story line and someone walks in and begins talking to you?  When at other times you are listening to something that is not overly compelling, and you are ok with the interruption?  People love good stories and will stay attentive to the end.

Listen, successful business people realize that business isn’t just business.  Business is personal. 78Madison is personal to me; and that is why a good story, well told, will be remembered, retold and compel others to action.  Good storytelling merges meaning with emotion and that is the true power of stories.

What do you think?  What’s your story?

Joe Bouch

CEO, 78Madison

Get Inspired. Get Connected. Get MAD.

78Madison is a full-service marketing communications firm – advertising agency – that loves to tell stories. Our offices are located in Altamonte Springs Florida, which is a suburb of Orlando.