The photo is by J E Theriot from Flickr

The photo is by J E Theriot from Flickr

Stories - the buzzword in marketing and media nowadays.

- We want to tell you our story.

- Be part of our story.

- Life is a story.

It seems that the world of marketing has finally caught up to what playwrights, directors, screenwriters, novelists and actors have known all along – humans learn, engage and communicate best through stories. The positive effects of storytelling has been studied, documented, blogged about…but why?

Why stories?

In the 1944 landmark conducted by Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel at Smith College, 34 college students were asked to observe a short film in which2 triangles and a circle moved across the screen and a rectangle stayed on the side of the screen. When asked what they say saw, 33/34 said they that the shapes had human emotions and characteristics such as “worried”, “innocent young thing”, and “blinded by rage and frustration”. Only one student recorded actual geometric shapes on screen.

This 1944 study discovered that human beings need to create a story to whatever it is that they are seeing - seeing and being in a narrative is in our DNA. Researchers have gone on to theorized as to why…survival, to develop communication skills however the theory that has become mainstream is we to be part of a greater shared story.

Knowing this research, marketers are trying to use storytelling as the next tool to build branding and consumer loyalty. Will it work? Will marketers not trained in writing, theatre and film be effective in this new age of marketing?

The answer to be continued…

Below is the Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel short film - do you see human emotions or just geometric shapes on screen?

To identify and tell the stories of your brand, contact our Chief Experience Designer at or call 416-595-9823. 

GenesisXD, is an award-winning Expereince Design firm, who show clients how to communicate their story through innovative design, branding and communications.