Humans crave narrative, its a core element of our culture; one which transcends culture, gender, and race. Tom describes stories as being the software of our humanity, and our brain is the hardware. Our hardware drives and shapes software; stories are a delivery system for the six basic emotions.
Emotion is defined as a feeling state with physiological, cognitive, and behavioral components. Using this definition, our feelings are: fear, anger, disgust, sadness, surprise, and joy.
Tom posed a question to the Breakers, “How can you embed your product or experience in an emotionally engaging story? Stories are written for the moral, and follow the same basic structure that Aristotle codified.
To explain the question in more detail, Tom answered it for us. He told us the following story:
Tom was working one day and became very tired, he went to Starbucks and got a venti americano. He was so refreshed that he was able to finish his project.
In this story there is a victim, villain, and a hero. The villain is fatigue, preventing work from being accomplished. While the hero is Starbucks, saving Tom and enabling to complete his work..
Many people are not comfortable with the idea of a corporation being a mentor or hero in their lives. This is not the way people consciously think. Tom went to Starbucks for some coffee, not for a guide to show him the path towards vanquishing his villain. Yet when people attach memories or beliefs to a brand this is precisely what they are doing. Powerful brands enable us.
When crafting your brand’s story, be cognizant of the emotions you utilize.
For those interested in learning more about this subject here are a list of resources:
- The School of Visual Arts
- The True Talk Blog
- Edward Bernays: Propaganda
- Scott McCloud: Understanding Comics
- Jesse Schell: Art of Game Design
This post is cross-listed on the Breaker Tumblr