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Ever wondered how brands make you laugh, cry, or feel inspired through their ads?

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

The answer, is narrative transportation... keep reading, or click to listen to the podcast below from the Storybrand team, to understand how you can use narrative transportation to:

  1. Communicate your brand message

  2. Lead your team more effectively

  3. Bring ideas to life

  4. Change your corporate culture

This is one for the skeptics, data nerds and fans out there... Click here to listen to the full podcast. In this episode, Koula Callahan interviews Dr. J.J. Peterson about his doctoral dissertation on StoryBrand Narrative Marketing. Its well worth the 36 mins to listen as it unpacks the data and science behind why this 7-part framework drives revenue for every type of business, showing conclusively how companies in the study: 

  1. Increased profits

  2. Decreased stress

  3. Increased employee engagement

  4. Increased customer engagement

Humans interpret facts through their own experience, which is viewed in a linear time format, with a beginning and end. We wake up each day and we are living a story, our own story, so the best way to communicate to human beings is through stories.

The mistake a lot of brands and leaders make, is to communicate with facts first; but facts don't capture peoples attention as well as a story.

That's why the best products don't always win in the market place, we don't always buy the cheapest product, or the most expensive, we buy the products we can understand the fastest.

Now there are rules to story, there has to be fidelity and coherency through that narrative and the most successful brands in the world know this. They also know that you cant break these rules of story that have existed since the time of Aristotle.

When you laugh or cry at a movie, or during a commercial, it's because you have connected with the characters. Why? Because the story follows the rules, taps into your own personal experiences and life experiences that cause you to relate and empathise with the characters. The same is true of brands you love, that you connect with. I talk more about how you can invite your customers into a story in this blog.

When you follow these rules, you achieve narrative transportation because your customers or teams are transported into a story they want to engage with. This enables the story to have an increased influence in their life and reduces counter arguing, objections in the sales process, or lack of engagement when a leader wants to inspire her team.

When we break these rules, the listener stops thinking about being in the story and starts thinking about the things that don't make sense - so narrative transportation doesn't happen and customers are less likely to buy and leaders are less likely to keep their teams engaged.

Empowerment v Inadequacy marketing

What I would stress, is this is not about manipulating people, its about helping someone resolve a problem or achieve a better way of life. If you have a product or service that genuinely does this, you have a responsibility to communicate this with your customers...

From a new pair of shoes that makes you feel great, to a new drug that will heal you, to a service that saves you time or money. When you practice empowerment marketing, you are calling somebody to be the better version of themselves, you are showing them that there is an easier way to live, or to do things.

Whereas, when you start playing with issues of status and scarcity, you are venturing into inadequacy marketing, which just isn't right. People deserve better.

For the creatives that are thinking this framework and the rules will limit them, consider that your objective is to help your customer achieve a result and just like discipline in life sets you free, so does the discipline and consistency of having a narrative framework to build your creativity on. It will give you more freedom to express creativity in a consistently effective way.

If you'd like to leverage the power of narrative transportation and story to connect with more customers, or create greater engagement and productivity in your organisation, drop me an e-mail on

In the meantime, check out what one of my customers had to say about his experience of working with One Zebra on this video.

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