Storytelling - The Gift of Knowledge
Updated: Sep 13
| The Unmarketing Agency | Singapore | India | DubaiMany people think that the gift of storytelling belongs only to writers, shamans, and the very old. It is the thing that makes us very human, stories (whether real or imagined), that showcases humanity's gift of intellect.
Today is Ganesh Chaturthi, the birthday that millions of Hindus across the world celebrate, and that is the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the Hindu God, who inspires us to strive for wisdom.
Stories have been introduced to us in various different forms; poetry, song, movement, pictures, plays and even Dad Jokes. The creators of such stories have used a variety of mediums to spread this knowledge, through brialle, papyrus scrolls, books, movies and in today's digital age Youtube, Tiktok and a variety of other online platforms.
Storytelling has always been dynamic
You and I remember the stories we grew up with, and a few poignant ones stay forever in our memory, because we draw lived experiences from them. Even when they become static, when we write them down, few books are always our favourites because we connect with them on a deeply human, psychological level. For me I read the Dune Novels very early on, and was amazed by the Universe that Frank Herbert created. I've always gravitated towards sci-fi novels, novellas and comic books, because to me it explained how amazing we were as a species and how unrealised our true potential was. A couple of period dramas stuck with me throughout my life too, A Different Sky by Meira Chand, is yet one of my favourite books that speaks to the diversity of a country that adopted me, Singapore, and the real struggle of this yet tiny city-state, that overcame a lot of adversity to become the economic powerhouse it is now.
Storytelling does however follow a format, and this is what I am here to talk about. Storytelling is an art, not a form, process or technique. An Art...
Storytelling is not something that you grasp through a single reading, it stays with you forever, but its not something anyone can grasp quite easily. It requires creativity, vision, practice, and years of putting together information in a cohesive way, that leads to a story being memorable or even great. Think Shakespeare!
Stories make the abstract relateable
This is a powerful statement, and what better way to explain what the crux of any story is? Stories are ideas formed through various life and learned experiences, and maybe even generational experiences. The need to tell stories dates back to the Third Milennium, with the Epic of Gilgamesh. I argue that it goes much further than that. In the Paleolithic period, cavemen drew drawings of their daily life, primitive as it may be, that is our first documented story or stories. And through all our cultures we will find examples of how stories have been an important tool to pass down knowledge, from the Vedic ages to the advertising ages of today.
Stories unite us, in ways we cannot imagine
Stories are the one universal language that unites us all, across cultures, geographies and demographies, stories are the one constant that we all remember fondly. We understand the story of the hero, the story of an underdog, we feel strongly and positively when they overcome their odds to become better, we feel uplifted when we hear a powerfully crafted story. Sharing a story brings people together, and makes the most diverse group of people achieve a sense of commanlity and togetherness as a community.
Stories inspire and drive us to be better, to do better
Stories make us human, and how much more would this work for an intangible thing like a brand. Stories go a long way in humanizing brands, enabling brands to connect with a completely new audience and to inspire and motivate in ways that a static visual communication could only do as much. By crafting a powerful story, you assemble your own community as a brand, and that community is 20 times more likely to value your brand, if it is closely connected to your stories. Stories are not a tactic, it should be the core essence that your brand is built on. “Facts tell, stories sell,” says marketing guru Bryan Eisenberg. Stories enable brands to connect with their consumers on a deeply fundamental level, on a deeply human level, that encourages your consumers to alter their behaviour, change lives and makes an intangible asset like a brand, more purposeful and driven.
No matter what industry your brand is in, no matter if your are in a B2B or a B2C business, you can find a plethora of stories everywhere. There will always be a multitude of stories to tell, and people to move. You just need to start...