The science of storytelling

The science of storytelling

10-minute read

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let us begin. 

Brand storytelling isn't a new concept. It’s been around for decades and, if used correctly, it can help brands to build more meaningful relationships with their customers.

Yet surprisingly, many developers don’t focus on it. Instead of creating an engaging brand story and taking consumers on a journey, many companies focus simply on the end product and price - stick to a few of the 5 P's right?

Well things have evolved somewhat from the 5 p's and promoting product features and telling your customers how much discount they’ll get if they ‘reserve a home now!’ isn’t the most effective route to selling. To engage with your customers and trigger a behaviour, you have to appeal to their emotions. 

Whether it’s buying a new item of clothing or it’s investing in a new home, consumers will initially act on their emotions. How often do you know when you find the right home? It's an instict, a feel - an emotion. A home isn't just ticking a box for a roof over your head. It's a reflection of you, the place you will grow old, raise a family or start a new leaf. It has meaning and this in itself means being right for you on an emotional level.

Consumers might use rational thinking to justify the purchase, but when it comes to acting on it, the heart is definately king! Science backs this theory up.

This article in The Guardian features Psychology Today and some reasons why storytelling is so powerful. Functional MRI neuro-imagery has revealed that when a consumer chooses a brand, they use feeling and experiences rather than facts. When consuming stats and facts, the Wernicke’s area of the brain is stimulated and translates words into meaning. But Hubspot reports that if you hear a story, lots of areas of the brain are activated. So if you hear a mention of food, your sensory cortex comes to life. If the story mentions motion, your motor cortex activates. So all in all: when we hear stories our brains become much more engaged. 


Brands that have true stories to tell often come across as more authentic. Think of when you go shopping and you head to the bread aisle - what makes a product stand out? They all look the same and probably taste the same. But you might choose to purchase something because you’ve had it before and repeat purchases often rely on a brand’s storytelling ability. 

Think of any successful food brand and you’ll notice each has an ‘authentic’ story. Hovis adverts feature heritage and the brand’s journey, while Reggae Reggae Sauce features the man behind the product. Brands that tell real stories not only offer rich and engaging content, they also build better relationships with their customers. 

Stand out from the competition

A truly unique brand narrative can help you stand out from the competition. If your story is compelling, you’ll probably build brand ambassadors and your customers will be more likely to share your story. Take Innocent for example. There are lots of smoothie brands out there, but Innocent’s quirky tone of voice and storytelling have helped the brand to develop a character that's different from the rest. And that’s helped them to build a loyal online following. Ultimately, people buy from people. So if you are able to add personality to your brand and humanise it, your story is more likely to be memorable.  

Stories, not statistics
There are inevitably times where brands have to use statistics to express their message. But it’s been proven on more than one occasion that telling a story leads to much better retention of information. According to Hubspot, people are likely to remember 10% of information, but if the same information is accompanied by an image, people will retain 65% of it.

Brand stories can be significantly more impactful if they are combined with interesting visuals.

So how can developers use stories to engage with potential homeowners and create meaningful content? We work with a variety of clients on bringing brand stories to life. Whether we’re creating hoarding, a brochure, website content or social media assets - we always focus on the unique aspects of a development to help us create a message that resonates with the end user. 

When we produced the marketing material for Crest Nicholson’s St Margaret’s Park development, we focused on the development’s rich heritage. Several buildings were being refurbished on-site and to tell the story we collaborated with designers and architects. We researched the history of the original buildings too, creating bespoke brochure spreads and pull out quotes on each renovation. This gave readers an insight into what some of the buildings might have been used for in the past and a glimpse of the development’s heritage, which helped them to feel part of its future.

Using our research skills, we were also able to bring the story of Bournville Park to life. This fascinating village had a real story to tell, being the original home of Cadbury chocolate, and we used this story to inform our marketing material. User-generated content is another way to tell a story. We used this technique on Paintworks in Bristol, developing unique interviews with the people there and creating a new community of brand ambassadors. 

Ready to start telling your story? Contact our team to find out how can help and watch this space for further developments!

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Matthew Clark
Matt Clark
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