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Are We Resonating?

Facts don't care about your feelings, and your feelings don't care about facts. Know how storytelling can be a more effective medium for sending your message to your audience.

As kids, our parents always gave us a hard time about not fixing our bed every morning, telling us that it’s irresponsible and makes our room look untidy. And, no matter how many times we forget about fixing your sheets, our parents never tire of telling us off about not making our bed.

Then, one day, we wake up as young adults, and it’s hard to get our life in control. Bills are piling up, work is stressful ,and social relationships are difficult to maintain. As we unconsciously scroll through YouTube, video after video, we come across a 50-something-year-old, mildly handsome, highly charismatic man with scholarly gab, razor-sharp wit, and pertinent wisdom about adulthood. He captures our heart as he tells us the wonders of getting our life together at the ripe old age of 24. He tells us to buy his book so we can understand his secrets to wisdom. We hurriedly click the link he shared with his 1.5 million-viewed YouTube video and press Check Out immediately.

The package arrives, we cut the smiley-patterned tape with an Exacto knife; and like a 9-year-old on Christmas Eve, we rip open the plastic wrapping with much gusto—“The Secrets of Getting Your Life Together and Living it to The Fullest” by Life Guru #73. We open the book, and after reading the intro on how his wife and kids have helped him pull through for the past 3 years of his life, we finally get a glimpse of his secret.

We reach the first chapter, and the first thing he tells us is: Fix your bed every day.

So we did. We started fixing our bed every day after reading it.

The Power of Storytelling

Our folks may not be YouTube-validated life coaches, but it’s interesting to note how, many times in life, it’s much easier to listen to other people’s advice than to our own parents’.

But if you think about the story more intently, it was much easier to follow a random dude on the internet because of how they told their tale. In other words, his story resonated more. Had our parents resorted to delivering and explaining their “command” better, the results would have been different.

Acclaimed writer and corporate superwoman Nancy Duarte got it right when she said that stories of transformation, in particular, are the best tools to capture an audience. The truth is, we’ve probably come across thousands of presentations both from school and work, and none of them stick as much as those cradled with engaging tales, filled with characters we subtly root for and hope to win.

As entrepreneurs and creatives in the business space, our goal isn’t solely to make sales and increase profit; it is to make our customers understand that they are the heroes of their story, and what we have to offer are simply the kits that help them live out the superhero narrative they were designed to brave.

In other words, brands that optimize dynamic character-driven stories make it so much easier for us to journey with them. Because nuanced characters humanize processes and products, we become a lot more engaged and willing to listen. As a result, businesses that resort to telling stories have a higher chance of relating to audiences.

How do I know I connect with my audience?

Consider the ever-timeless campaign of Metro Trains Melbourne. Instead of coming up with a regular PSA detailing the importance of railway safety behaviors, they chose to produce an animated music video that featured—as the song title implies—Dumb Ways To Die. The song mentions many irresponsible actions that lead to an untimely death, but it also highlights how one can die from not being mindful on trains and at train stations.

The campaign was widely successful, becoming even the most shared video of 2012. On top of instant virality, the song also garnered the best campaign of the decade at 2018’s Asia-Pacific Tambuli Awards. More importantly, a source cites that the train company found a 21% reduction in train station incidents.

There are multiple takeaways to a campaign as out-of-the-box as this, but here is an insightful upshot: your audience grows with you if you resonate with them.

A variety of metrics can help you determine how effective what you do is, but ultimately if your market does what you desire them to do in the way you want them to, and more, you can rest assured your efforts are working.

Resonating with your audience is an unending journey. Luckily, we’ve been on that train ever since we started. Join our newsletter and hear what we’re learned along the way.

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