One of the chemicals released during a good story is Oxytocin, which is also known as the “feel good” hormone. When we hear a story that resonates with us, our levels of oxytocin increase. When oxytocin is released then we are more likely to trust the situation and the storyteller and more likely that we will take whatever action the storyteller asks us to take. Increased oxytocin isn’t the only change in our brains. When stories are really descriptive the brain cortices light up. See incorporating rich descriptions including smell, touch, sound and feeling into our stories literally activates more areas of your brain. You are 22 times more likely to recall information when it is part of a story rather than just isolated data.
Research also shows emotionally charged stories tend to stay beyond mirroring often with an impact last several days. These lasting memories are due to our amygdala releasing dopamine, which helps with reinforcement and ability to recall information. So, if you want people to trust you more and remember what you said remember to make it emotionally.
Creating the emotional connection is essential to a brand. Telling a brand’s story is obviously important, and when done right, data visualization can enhance the narrative and engage our audience’s brains even more. Effective data visualizations can successfully communicate your key messages and invoke emotion.
By blending narrative and data visuals, you appeal to your audience’s emotion and logic; thus, targeting both sides of the brain and making the information memorable. BoostLabs states “The narrative guides you through the data, and the data supports the narrative, giving you the best of both the analytical and emotional experience.”
Being able to tell stories with data is a skill that’s becoming ever more important in our world of increasing data and desire for data‐driven decision making. In Cole Nussbaumenr Knaflic’s book, Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals, the author explores six key lessons to guide the creation of data visualizations. Knaflic offers his readers the following: understand the context, choose an appropriate visual display, eliminate clutter, focus attention where you want it, think like a designer and tell a story.
Remembered brands have a compelling story. Ok, marketers, it data story time!
Akopov, Irvin. “6 Simple Storytelling Visualizations That Will Captivate Your Eyes and Brains.” Visual Matters, 29 Aug. 2016, visualmatters.com/6-simple-storytelling-visualizations-will-captivate-eyes-brains/.
Boost Labs. “Decoding The Human Brain With Interactive Data Visualization.” Boost Labs, Boost Labs, 11 Jan. 2020, www.boostlabs.com/interactive-data-visualization/.
Knaflic, Cole Nussbaumer. Storytelling with data: A data visualization guide for business professionals. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.