Contagious Part 3

Why are stories so compelling for humans? Are there any elements of stories that make them more or less memorable?

As Jonah Berger says, "stories carry things." This can be a moral, useful tips, or even useless information; the key is in how it's delivered. Because stories are natural representations of how we interpret our life to be, with a beginning, middle, and end, they're easily shared and easy to listen to. But stories need both the element of memorability and the lesson to be effective. Stories work because you have an emotional attachment to them. A story you overhear in the checkout line doesn't carry the same value as a story told to you by a friend. Both, however, probably have more weight than an advertisement focused on the facts. Stories build webs. Rather than having facts be separate and individual entities, they are suddenly interconnected items. Stories are memorable when they contain relate-able and relevant information. This can be a hard variable to control; I remember the story a friend told me yesterday about their poor experience with camera lens rental because I, too, have an interest in photography. The same friend told a story about his new racing bike, but one day later I don't know what brand he purchased or why he made that decision. On one hand, this is a natural filter that makes sense. I remember the information I'll need, but not the information that I don't perceive to affect me. On the other hand, it would be more beneficial to a company if I remembered the information for the future regardless of its current use to me. Companies can attempt to create this with surprising and interesting content that may later act as social currency, or that contains triggers to a future moment where I would need a particular product.

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