Stories are a hot topic in the business field nowadays. Brands and businesses are looking to get their stories heard. Many of them think that just getting facts and information about who they are and what they do is enough. But a story is more than just a collection of facts.
David Aaker, the author of “Creating Signature Stories,” has this to say about the difference between stories and facts. “Along come stories. They’re more impactful than facts. They get attention. They get remembered. They change perceptions.”
Nowadays, the medium is no longer the problem. We have social media and the internet to thank for that. Where it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach a few thousand through television or radio ads, people can do it at a fraction of that cost online. And so the attention has shifted to the quality of content. Audiences are no longer satisfied with seeing any information that is thrown their way. They want stories.
And storytelling needs to go beyond just sharing what your product, service, cause or idea is. People get bombarded by information all day. Stories are different though. If you want to be remembered, you need to know the difference between stories and simply telling facts. Here are four elemental differences between stories and facts.
Stories have structure
Anyone can present facts. But not everyone can structure it in a way that tells a story. Stories have a beginning, middle and end. Facts can just go on forever. When you’re telling a story, there is a lot of preparation involved in it. Because stories are essentially facts put in hierarchy and structure. That’s why we spend a lot of time on pre-production and preparation- because stories take time to put into an effective structure.
Stories focus on the “why”
Facts answer the “what” questions. But stories are more concerned with covering the “why” ones. When you tell stories, you’re not just telling people about the things you do or have done. You also show why you do what you do and what motivates you to keep going.
Have you ever heard a collection of facts but just didn’t care? That’s because those facts didn’t connect with you. You read research about how bad sugar is for your body and watch a documentary like “That Sugar Film,” one will connect and the other will be forgotten. Why? Because the latter has a story and the first is just facts.
It’s not enough to get people to listen. Will they still be listening to the lingering message even after their attention turns another way? Stories have a way of staying with you even after the credits roll. It’s crazy to think how we are shot at with tens of thousand facts a day, but it’s the ones with a story that sticks.
Stories bring change
Facts don’t change anything. It’s the story that does. Because stories are relatable and sticky, they will push us to do something about it. What is your story? Don’t just tell facts about yourself. Tie it up into a story and you won’t just inform people. You will also change them as well.