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Greg Monaco

Why stories matter

We have trouble remembering facts and figures. Which is ironic, because it’s precisely how a lot of marketers like to present their brands—as rational, binary, by-the-numbers arguments on why a customer should consider their widgets.

The fact is, most of us can only commit seven digits at any one moment to memory. That’s the equivalent of a phone number. How many phone numbers do you remember when you first hear them? Think about why you have to write them down.

On the contrary, one gentleman found a way for us to remember a phone number. Do you remember the song by Tommy Tutone called “Jenny”? 8-6-7-5-3-0-9. People remember this phone number because it is connected to a story—one told through music. The melody turned something binary and rational into something emotional.

Here is a little science behind that phenomenon: We experience the world through our senses. Sensations from what we see, hear, feel, smell and taste travel from the base 
of our brains through the middle brain, where we experience emotions, and then to our pre-frontal cortex, where we produce rational thought. That means that we experience emotion at the smallest fraction of an instant before we experience rational thought about any situation. Our experiences of the outside world—including the marketing messages we see and hear and the products we feel and taste—are bundled with emotions from the very instant we become aware of them.

Have you ever told yourself, “I need to think about this rationally”?

It takes work and conscious effort to uncouple emotions from rational thought. When people are deciding on a service or product, they usually decide based on their emotions—it’s faster and easier and can be very gratifying.

If you’d like someone to remember your company’s digits, do it with a story. To learn more, please visit our Brand Storybook Insight.