Neuromarketing enables marketers and advertisers to better understand consumer behaviors, and serve their needs and expectations. It’s the foundation for creating advertising that inspires, motivates and convinces.

Why does storytelling work?

As much as we don’t like to admit it, in most cases, buying is more about emotions than reasoning. fMRI (Functional magnetic resonance imaging) tests have shown that when evaluating brands or products, the analytical part of our brains stays largely unstimulated.

Successful advertising relies on a cocktail of cortisol, dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, to create a connection with the audience. And that’s why storytelling works.

Ali Jennings, PHD in Neuroscience, explains the brain processes triggered by stories.

 It is just like a story arc in a film or television. We may initially feel stressed which draws our attention into a situations’ context before moving onto empathy and then reward when the story is complete.

So when you are first introduced to a story, your brain releases quite a lot of cortisol, which is a stress hormone, and what that does is that it instantly attracts your attention to the beginning of the story.

Then, as we follow the character, as we start to see how they address the problem, we start to release different kinds of chemicals, which allow us to empathise with the characters.

Then, when the character realizes the solution, we release dopamine specifically, which is a chemical that rewards us. When we reach the end of the story, it’s the perfect storm. Stress goes, it’s all dopamine and empathy.

What’s so incredible about stories is that they are empathy machines. So if you hook someone with a really good story, you force their brain to mirror the emotions and the feelings of the character in the story.

storytelling emotionsThe more emotionally invested in something, the less critical one becomes. That’s a reaction assisted by the released oxytocin, that makes us relaxed and trusting.

If you manage to make your character grateful to your product, whoever is watching it doesn’t really have a choice – they are going to be grateful as well.

And on top of that, when you reach the end of a story that you’ve been really into, you release a huge amount of oxytocin, a hormone which basically makes you more trusting in that situation.

So, whether you like it or not, you end up trusting the solution, which in this case is your product.

Storytelling within your advertising is one thing, but it can be made more powerful by ensuring your story sits within a relevant context. Make your brand a part of the wider story, by fitting in with existing page content, and you can increase the power of the empathy generated by your advertising.


Empower your storytelling