The Neuroscience of Digital Storytelling

The digital marketing game is rooted in providing content that makes your specific audience’s life better. It answers a question they might have or provides insight into some kind of empathy or emotional trigger. But why is it that digital storytelling can move mountains for your brand, audience and bottom-line?


The answer is that stories make us care. Care for the first time. Care again. And stories can move us into action.

Instead of adding to the noise of content, tell a story that engages your audience and makes their neural receptors catch on fire.  Now when I say, “neural receptors,” I’m not contriving some kind of buzzword marketing speak—I quite literally mean neuroscience—or neuropsychology. Because the difference between cultivating a meaningful, fruitful relationship and a bad one, isn’t marketing—it’s engaging the brain correctly.

Your Brain Likes Digital Storytelling. A lot.

The part of the brain that controls all the elements that get excited by a story are all housed in the Temporal lobe.  Emotion, nostalgia, memory and 3 of the 5 senses—sight, hearing and speech—are governed here.

So why tell a story via video over any other mechanism of content? Other than experiencing something in-person—video is the only conduit that can put you back in the headspace of an experience. Your Temporal lobe does a happy dance when you watch a video.

Think I’m crazy? Dr. Carmen Simon of Rexi Media has come to a very similar conclusion. Her studies have found that Memories are what dictate Decisions—and that shouldn’t come to an earth-shattering surprise to you. If you’re a child and burn the hell out of your hand by touching a hot stove; the reason you don’t do that again is you remember a hot stove burned the hell out of your hand.

But where things get interesting is that she concludes it’s Attention that really controls Memory. What we face as marketers is a battle for attention. And when we communicate to our audience they become habituated to our messages. The more we communicate, the more we become white noise. The silver bullet to this is video. Video messages have been scientifically proven to exponentially decrease human’s innate desire to habituate because of the constant change of sound and images. When you vary the stimulus, you keep the attention. When you have the attention, you’re unlocking the memories that enable a decision—whether the decision is to buy, to give, to refer, to attend, to open an email or to click.

Go for A Digital Storytelling Ride

And video is the perfect messenger. It’s passive, shareable, emotional and memorable. You can use it to do a lot of your heavy lifting. An analogy I like to use that’s a little cliché but also apt is think of video as a car. It is a literal and metaphorical representation of a vehicle that will transplant your audience—the passengers—wherever it is you’re going. And where social fits in all of this is that it’s the fuel. Your social channels are the gas that allows for combustion. They are all three symbiotic. What’s the point of a car without someone in it and how will it go anywhere without fuel. 

Digital Storytelling the Holden + Ellis Way

We use video and strategy to inbound your customers to your site and product. When this happens you win. Your audience is deeper connected, more engaged and motivated.