The power of storytelling to engage, connect + lead your tribe with Producer On Purpose

We have moved into the Connection Economy as defined by Seth Godin,

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but the stories that you tell.”

We want humanity and we want it now.

In the article, “Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling,” in Harvard Business Review in 2014, Professor Paul J Zak shares the science behind the effectiveness of narrative in business communications. When we engage with a character driven story, the neurochemical oxytocin is released, which signals feelings of trust and empathy in our brains. Zak’s lab tested if narratives were as effective in creating a response if the stories were on video, as in face to face interactions. The findings showed that character-driven stories do consistently cause oxytocin synthesis, the same in person as well as through video.

So how can understanding the brain better help your business to engage, connect and lead your tribe?

Humanising your brand through short, easy to consume storytelling, is inexpensive and imperative to engaging our media savvy and time poor society. We are beyond saturation point in our media consumption, as we now have the power of choice.

Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

This has never been more true. Our “why,” the story of how your business began, a story of a team member’s journey, a transformational story of a client – we want to hear these stories in the most raw and real way possible and not as if people were scripted to share, our millennial audience especially, will not connect to that.

We want authentic voices using simple tools. We want you to give to us, we want to know the real story, we want to be part of the journey.

The rise of the Instagram 1 minute video, Facebook Live and Snapchat popularity shows us that to tell a good, short story, we need to review the traditional storytelling arc and make some edits for a contemporary audience who consume stories and information in short, mobile form.

However even short stories still need a beginning, a middle and an end – but not in a traditional advertisement style – instead consider a live, concise sharing of who and where you are, why you are in that location, what you are doing and how it relates to your audience. Remember, contrary to popular belief in our self-promotional culture, no one wants to watch  “Me TV.” Your audience wants to learn something, to be part of an event you are holding, to share an experience, to be part of a bigger purpose – they want to be at the centre of your why and therefore you need to create stories that put them there.

Ask yourself, what is your authentic voice? Some brands are bold and controversial, some are quirky, some have conservative values. Which one are you? The brands who cut through the noise create powerful engagement and connection by sharing a why that goes beyond themselves– what is your higher purpose? How can you tell us about it through story in less than a minute? This is true influence.

Mobile video presents us with a simple tool for content creation as mobile video engagement, both created and consumed on mobile, has gone through the roof in popularity in recent years. According to Facebook’s own statistics, even views of videos under 10 seconds have proven to build brand awareness and purchase intent. But our goal is not to sell, it is to share. In the Connection Economy, connecting is the currency.

Mobile video is one way that allows you to break down the barriers of the traditional lens and the constructed nature of the video we grew up with, to speak directly with your tribe. You need to respect this trusted relationship and use it as a power for elevating what you do and why, as technology has advanced, so have the expectations of the businesses we place our trust in.

We are all consumers and producers in the Connection Economy and the businesses who truly engage on social media with influence, use the individual personalities within their brand to share their purpose – not by telling their audience, “We really care,” but by showing it, through the human power of story.


If you would like to learn more about Producer on Purpose through live and digital workshops, consultation and strategy, contact Mel Fawcett here.

Sign up to our fortnightly brand insights

We know how hard it can be to stay aligned, consistent and strategic when managing your brand day-to-day. Each fortnight we provide tips and advice straight to your inbox to help you ensure your brand builds long-term value for your organisation and has a positive impact.