Marketers have always managed to use everyday situations to present the desirable content. This time, I was intrigued by a very old but yet super powerful technique- storytelling. What does it have to do with marketing, how does it influence consumers’ brain and is there any example in the Balkans? Well, lean back and keep reading.


Storytelling magic

A couple of weeks ago while going through the handful of scientific articles, I bumped into the one talking about how organizations can tell the story. Apparently, the channel through which they tell the story is marketing. The researchers asked several questions that kept on rolling in my head:

  1. Who is the storyteller?
  2. What content is worth communicating?
  3. Who is the recipient?

Sounds like an easy thing to do, but let’s be honest on this one- not everyone has that beautiful skill of telling a good story. Plus, as you may notice, not every story is good. To dive a little bit into the theory, ‘storytelling’, also known as ‘narrative management’, is a management method often deployed by big companies such as Wal-Mart, Disney, or McDonald’s. Organizations that do tell the stories mostly rely on creative work that leans back on the narrative perspective.

How does it affect our (or consumer’s) brain?

Yes, that is me tiring again with talking about the human brain, but this is actually another interesting fact. In principle, storytelling unfolds its ultimate power in combination with the discoveries in neuromarketing, e.g. in compliance with the “limbic types”. The limbic system is the ‘central processing unit’ of our brain that works on an unconscious level at a speed of 10 million bits per second. The primary task of the limbic system is to attribute values and meaning to the pieces of information gathered by our senses. There are three basic limbic types: Preservers, Performers, and Hedonists, that are characterizing different personality types. In addition, there are other three: Disciplined, Pioneers, and Tolerant. The idea is that in order for marketing to be most effective and efficient the communication for a brand needs to be specifically designed for each of the 6 LimbiCODE types. Therefore, marketers adjust their stories.

Limbic types

Limbic types

We are talking about content marketing here, and you must admit that this is something you have heard so often lately. These contents trigger the brain activity significantly and more precisely, this is what it’s cooking in our heads.

Neural Coupling: A story activates parts of the brain that let the listener turn the stories into his/her own ideas and experience thanks to the process called neural coupling (yes, it has a lot to do with neurons getting together).

Mirroring: Both the listeners and speakers will experience similar brain activity. This means that brains will be in certain harmony when they are hearing the same story at the same time.

Dopamine: The brain releases the hormone dopamine in the system, when it experiences the emotionally- charged event, making it easier to remember. The dopamine plays a major role in reward- motivated behavior and its effect is overall positive on the whole system and organism.

Cortex activity: A good story can awake many brain regions, including motor cortex, sensory cortex, and frontal cortex because stories empower people to think and evaluate the facts.

Therefore, never underestimate the power of a good story.

What is an example of storytelling in marketing?

The great product that came out of the creative factory of McCann Belgrade.  Approximately a year ago, on the light boards, there were unusual advertisements along the Terezije. The content was fairly catchy and presented in the old school style. The billboards retold the stories about the famous advertisements and campaigns done by McCann. Thus, while passing by, you could find out how campaigns such as “Kum” for Lav beer, the rebranding of mts or Raiffeisen bank advertisement were created.

This campaign was aimed at presenting the essence of creative process during the realization of the campaign. The focus was on the storytelling. I can say this- another masterpiece from the McCann portfolio.

Special thanks to Media- Marketing that served as an inspiration for this story. The link to their insight on McCann’s move can be read here.

Until another good story to tell, cheers!