Why we need stories

In uncertain times, stories are of more importance than ever. They cause social cohesion and help us understand each other better. Next to that, they also help to entertain us and take our minds off our worries. They bring people together to make sure a candidate becomes the next president or not. But also within companies stories seem to be like glue and they are essential for brands not to disappear, according to the website emerce.nl.

In the eighties scientists at the University of Parma did a research of the hand movements of apes. With MRI scans the hand movements were followed when the apes were eating nuts. During the investigation a scientist also started to eat the nuts, while the apes were not. They registered the exact same brain activity with the apes. To the apes, the experience of watching someone eating nuts was the same as eating the nuts themselves, due to the mirror neurons.

A story gets its power from the person who is telling it: the writer, the brand, the film director. People are touched by a story because of the human connection they can make with the narrator. The imperfections make a story human and therefore recognizable to people. The mirror neurons not only activate when we experience something ourselves, but also when someone else experiences it. Now that we are finding ourselves at home more than ever, and we only have our daily or weekly zoom meetings, to discuss what we did in the weekend is just as important as discussing budgets, targets and content plans. In this way, we can connect with our colleagues and it gives us the feeling that our colleagues hear us.

The crisis also changed the position that brands hold, according to the website emerce.nl. A brand consists of one or multiple stories and the possibility to tell those stories offline have become very limited. Therefore it’s important to tell those stories in a different way. Otherwise you would simply disappear. Online became a popular way for brands to tell their stories and now that our online connection with the outside world has become so important we must try to make it as human as possible.