Why storytelling builds trust

Published: June 4, 2020 | Last updated: April 5, 2023
Stories sell products and services. Which ingredients constitute a trustworthy yet inspiring story? ProvenExpert illustrates this with concrete examples.

The power of storytelling

Our lives are made up of stories. They make the abstract understandable, technology alive, facts emotional. Stories transport emotions. Emotions are important to win people over. Those who tell good stories get into the heads of their listeners - literally. Because with stories that arouse emotions, the oxytocin level in the brain rises. This hormone is responsible for making people love, trust and feel with others. So much for the theory. What defines a good story in practice?

The example of Greta Thunberg shows: First of all, a successful story needs a good reason to tell it. Climate protection is undisputedly a globally relevant reason for storytelling. Apart from that, every good story needs not only a serious conflict, in this case hesitant politicians, but also a hero or heroine. Greta leads her fight bravely and emotionally - another core element of storytelling: the story must be moving, emotionally engaging and captivating. A final success factor: innovative, contemporary storytelling must seek viral paths. The story must be shareable. This is also true of Greta; and that is one of the reasons why her involvement is so successful. Not only does Greta have over five million followers on Twitter, but she is also invited to the world's most important conferences, including her trip to Davos and the UN climate summit. From there she is active on social networks and is shared by and interacts with influencers with a wide reach... One could ask: What does the Greta story have to do with marketing? Very much! The need to protect the climate existed long before Greta's initiative. Her way of communicating, her performance and also the emotional intensity with which she writes history corresponds to the principles of professional storytelling. Keyword: "I want you to panic!".

I want to read more exciting stories about reputation management.


Why stories intrigue you

People love good stories. In their hearts, everyone is often still a child themselves who wants to be distracted from everyday life with a gripping story. Applied in branding, good stories have the chance to make a brand unique. In today's consumer world there are countless similar products and services. They seem interchangeable. Connected with a special story, it looks completely differently.

Interestingly told stories are read voluntarily; at least more voluntarily than the bone dry listing of company-specific technical terms or legal regulations. Storytelling therefore motivates people to engage with a product or service. At the same time, storytelling makes complex topics easy to understand. This leads to the target group grasping and remembering the most important elements of the brand more quickly. Combined with a good portion of personality, brands appear approachable, human, authentic. Storytelling increases the perceived trustworthiness.

Storytelling - What's your story?

Aktion Mensch: Achieving success through storytelling

The German social organisation Aktion Mensch uses storytelling very specifically for fundraising. For example, the official YouTube channel shows a series of videos with wheelchair user Leeroy. In an entertaining way, he shows how he easily masters various everyday challenges in heroic fashion. Leeroy dispels wheelchair user prejudices, sings karaoke, talks about love or rides his wheelchair on an ice rink. Authentic, human and emotional, he faces possible conflicts and shows his solutions. Success is guaranteed: Video views are in the five to six-figure range. Apart from Leeroy’s story, Aktion Mensch has produced a video on the subject of future and inclusion. It tells an emotionally impressive story about living with disability. This video has been viewed more than five million times and was part of a cross-media campaign that received a lot of media attention. The example of Aktion Mensch impressively demonstrates that professional storytelling can be used to personalize a brand. It acquires human traits. For the target group, the brand appears to be a well known friend that people like to listen to and whose messages they take up with confidence.

Key facts for successful corporate storytelling:

  • The basic ingredients for a good story are: conflict, hero, solution
  • Awe-inspiring stories appeal to all senses
  • Good stories must not only appeal on a rational but also on an emotional level
  • Convincing narratives should have an authentic human touch
  • The target group must be involved in the content and interested in a continuation
  • Comprehensible writing is the be-all and end-all: formulate actively. Use verbs. Use short sentences. No nominal style. Write as concretely as possible. No generalizations. Authentic stories instead of marketing gibberish.

Our history and what really drives us!

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