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Storytelling - A Business Tool

The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool:


Anyone who reads Shakespeare will say Budweiser has come within the proximity. A University research says Budweiser’s Super Bowl 2014 commercial proves to be an incomparably skillful portrayal of engaging storytelling. It’s not just the product that matters but the emotion the commercial has brought out connecting the brand to human psyche that makes it adorable.


In “Puppy Love,” a perfectly adorable yellow Labrador becomes intimate friends with a Clydesdale (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p_3lITiK_Q). Sneaking out of his cage, the pup and the horse “talk” in the stables and cavort on a tranquil farm – until someone comes to adopt the dog.


The unhappy puppy whimpers and places his paws against the window of the car set to take him to his new home. All seems lost until the Clydesdale rallies the other horses to stop the vehicle from leaving. Reunited, the two commence playing in the horse pasture and, we assume, live happily ever after.


The Budweiser ad recorded top honors in USA Today’s Ad Meter and Hulu’s Ad Zone for being the most widespread among viewers. How did it rise up amid the tantalizing displays of shiny vehicles, CGI tricks, and David Beckham’s six-pack?


The Unfailing Power of Classic Storytelling:

In a study thesis that was published in the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, Keith Quesenberry and research partner Michael Coolsen focused on brands’ use of definite tactics to sell products, such as presenting adorable animals or gorgeous superstars. But they also hinted the commercials for plot development.


They found that, regardless of the content of the advertisement, the structure of that content predicted its success. “People are attracted to stories,” Quesenberry says, “because we’re social creatures and we relate to other people.


It’s no wonder. We homo-sapiens have been interconnecting through stories for more than 20,000 years, back when our televisions were cave walls.


A Heartrending Story Can Transform Insolences and Conducts:

In one experiment after students of a Business School heard a moving story about a father and son, the professor asked student participants to donate money to a stranger. With both oxytocin and cortisol in play, those who had the higher amounts of oxytocin were much more likely to give money to someone they’d never met. 


Strategic storytelling has also been enlisted to change attitudes and behaviors among students. Two studies from the Business Schools show its power: A Swiss College of Business Administration researchers found that a group of students’ attitudes about kiosk-based-catering, that are perceived as difficult to succeed, improved substantially after students participated in storytelling exercises that made them more tolerant to their hesitations.

And a University of Kerala Business School study found that a storytelling methodology has been highly operational in winning the attention of students with lesser communications aptitudes to change their behavior and confront their defects with renewed optimism.


‘Whole Man’ Theory in Storytelling

Widely recognized as leading Business Law trial lawyer of his times, Nishant Ram of Mumbai often used the “whole man” theory to successfully influence business tax tribunal juries to empathize with his clients.


Seeking reimbursement for a customer who had lost both arms in an accident, Nishant surprised the court and jury, who were habituated to long closing arguments, by painting a brief and sensitively disturbing depiction instead:


‘As you know, about an hour ago we all broke for lunch. I saw the bailiff come and take you all as a group to have lunch in the adjudicators’ room. Then I saw the defense attorney, Mr. Narayana Murthi and his client decided to go to lunch together. The judge and court clerk went to lunch. So, I turned to my client, Tony Singh, and said “Why don’t you and I go to lunch together?” We went across the street to that little restaurant and had lunch. (Significant pause) Ladies and gentlemen, I just had lunch with my client. He has no arms. He has to eat like a dog. Thank you very much.’ Nishant reportedly won one of the largest settlements in the history of the state of New Delhi.

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