Storytelling: Using Story to Influence and Connect

Lesson 7/10 - Storybuilding: Start with Emotion


Storytelling: Using Story to Influence and Connect


Lesson Info

Storybuilding: Start with Emotion

We're going to look at a few keys, with which we can use to form the stories that we create. So we've laid a foundation already about the structure and emotion playing a role in the way that we develop these stories. We've seen some examples of some of those stories kind of play out. And then we've seen some structural pieces from the story pyramid, what are goals truly are, our five-part story structure, going into our two-world structure and how that kind of plays out. And now I'm using the word structure a lot, but from a foundational standpoint, if we can include those elements in the context of the stories that we create, we'll find that our stories feel more complete. That we've got the opportunity with which we can hit each of those five points, or show the world that is versus the world that could be. And we're gonna find that our stories are gonna become a little bit stronger. But in the context of those, when we start diving into those stories, I wanted to give you a couple o...

f tips. Things to keep in mind as you start building stories, about what's important in the context of story, because just because you have the structure, doesn't mean that the structure is any good. Lots of us have been to movies that were terrible movies. That you could go, "Yeah you know what, "that follows the five-part structure, it has all the parts, "but none of the parts are very good." And then some of those movies you go to are really good. That they really understood the development of how that plays out from a structure standpoint. So what I want to do is I want to give us a couple of tips that we can follow that will help us develop stories that are worth sharing. Ultimately, I mean the nature of story as it exists within our world, part of the success of the story is whether or not people share it. When they experienced it, when they saw it, when they watched it, when they looked at it, did they go, "Aw man," and then they share that story with somebody else. That's the truest form of recommendation, when somebody would say, "Hey, I think that this is worthy, "this is good, and I want to share it with you." Plus, there's a reach that exists that becomes exponential. That from a money standpoint you just simply can't buy. A really great story, as we're beginning to see, that terrible term that all of us deal with, the idea of viral. That everybody wants a viral video, right? Every client wants a video that's gonna go viral. In most cases, clients are unwilling to do what it would actually take for a video to get shared to that degree. Nor are they willing to put, invest the time. They just want this one clear, clever idea that they've seen in other instances, that could help them go viral. The nature of story though allows us to create stories that have better opportunities to do so. The wide share that exists. We're beginning to see stories when they come out get shared in the tens of millions of people who will see these stories when they first come out. It's not uncommon for a really great story, a really great ad that comes out, that tells a really wonderful story, to be shared 50 million times in a day. That's simply reach that you can't get otherwise. That doesn't exist. I mean, I can't buy that reach, even if I wanted to, I couldn't reach 50 million people in a single day. But the power of story can. And we've all shared stories in the context of our social environments, that those stories touched us. That they moved us. And we shared them. And some of them were ads, and some of them weren't. You know, there is an old saying, an old ad man said, "People don't read ads, they read what entertains them, sometimes that's an ad." And it's never been more true than in today's culture. That people will share stories. Sometimes those stories will be about brands, and that's perfectly okay. As a matter of fact, those are some of the most worthy stories to tell, because we can have an effect on our client's business. They're paying us money to have an effect on their business, and story can help us do that. It's also considerably more human. I mean, we want to be moved. Ultimately, all humans want to be moved. In a lot of instances I've shown you stories that tug on the heart strings. A lot of the brands in the stories that I've showed you are more heart string tugging type of stories. I'm not doing that because that's the only stories that we can tell. I'm doing it because it's the most obvious from an emotional standpoint. They're the ones that you can clearly see like, "Yeah okay, I see where you were going with that." That a brand could attach itself to that, and it can still be authentic, and it can still be true. So I am going to give you four keys to building stories worth sharing. And we're gonna look at examples for each one of these. The first one. Don't start with features or benefits, start with emotion. We talked a little bit about the nature of how we advertise. And how we typically advertise is to hold up a product and talk about its features, the things that differentiate it from its competition. All the rational purchase drivers that exist for this particular product or service. And I don't think that it's uncommon for us to think about, you know what, maybe I shouldn't be showing the features, I should be starting with benefits. You see it sort of Marketing 101. Don't communicate features, communicate benefits. What I am proposing is that we go one step beyond the benefits. That the benefits aren't enough. It has to be what the benefits mean. It has to be why those benefits matter at all. It has to be what I, it's not just what I get in a tangible form that I can hold and feel. It's what that's gonna change in my life. What am I going to have from an emotional standpoint, from a feel standpoint, from a life standpoint that I didn't have before. What can you give me that I can't get in any other way? It's not just about what makes the product different. It's not just about what even the benefits of those are. It's gonna start with how am I going to feel differently after I partake in this product or service? After I experience this? Let me give you an example of a brand who did just that. Did you notice that there was actually two parts to that story? Like, there was the beginning part where they talk about a relationship, a long-distance relationship that exists, right? And how a particular product helps them stay in touch with each other, right? But then the story turned. They had to add the part at the end, right after where it says, "And then it happened." Why? Why did they add that? Wasn't the product communicated in the beginning part of that? Well they add the second half of that, the meeting in person, because that's the emotion that Skype wants you to understand that you have using their product. That it's the relationship that they created with which they could serve in person, it's the same relationship that they had when they weren't. And the product helps you to do that. The emotion is in the second half of that. You don't cry until the second half of that. Because we don't know what it is, whenever we see other people cry, we cry. I don't know, that's empathy, right? Like, we feel what they feel in that moment, and it strengthens for us, it attaches to our heart, in that moment when we see that this product brought these two people together. Two people that we want to be together. And then we see them together, and we're like, ah, it's fulfilled in that. And the beauty of that campaign, the "Stay Together" campaign, it's a few years old now, but there's four or five stories that are very similar to that, about people who had relationships over Skype, and then meet in person, and what happens when that happens. And there's even one where they don't meet, they don't ever meet in person, and you feel it. And you're like, oh, the longing that's created that, I'm so glad that this product exists so that they could have this relationship without it. So it's a really great example of them not just showing, first of all they never talked about the product. They don't talk about how it differs from any of the other video conferencing services that are out there. They left that aside. They did talk about the, they did show the benefits. The benefits of two people being able to have a relationship that wouldn't otherwise get to have that relationship. But then they took it a step further, and they showed, this is how you will feel. You'll feel this way with this particular product. And we begin to see the power that that has, being able to understand how that emotion plays a role in the way that we interact with one another. But I thought that was a great example of us being able to show the meaning behind that.

Class Description

We are all storytellers. Few of us are storybuilders, capable of not only understanding the structure of story but able to use it to connect to the people that consume it. Story has a form, one that Stefan Mumaw, the Director of Creative Strategy at the well-known story shop Hint, is going to break down for you. He’ll lay out the structure of story and use real-world examples to show how each story component is used to build an emotional bridge. Bring a few tissues, story has a knack for producing both tears of laughter and empathy and Stefan will use both to show just how powerful story can be.

In this class you’ll learn:

  • How to create emotion
  • Story structure
  • Character development. Associating characters of a brand with characters
  • Rational and emotional purchase drivers

Stefan reminds us that target audiences are made up of individuals, and for the message to be effectively received, it needs to be couched in a story that speaks to what motivates people, thus awakening a response.


Mary Rainwater

Outstanding class. Stephan Mumaw is a wonderful presenter with a wealth of knowledge. He delivers a ton of information in an organized and fun way! As a fiction writer,I was unsure if this course would be all that helpful. However, once I realized that the "product" I was selling was the "theme" (the unspoken moral throughline) of my story everything clicked into place! I highly recommend this course to all writers who wish to better "sell" their own "product".


GREAT CLASS!! Loved the content. Engaging speaker and wonderful examples shared. Took a lot from this class that I will bring back to my daily creative work!


Stefan was an amazing speaker... He provided great detail in explaining the structure of a story, and his example/videos really drove home the points he was making... He had wonderful real-world professional experiences to share.