On Telling Stories

How weaving a good yarn builds relationships and makes ideas infectious.

Periodically, we like to share insights from the heart of Real Art. Straight from the source, these “wiretaps” feature experts in the Real Art tribe, offering an inside look at the personalities and passions flowing through our home and pervading our work. In this piece, Real Art’s Executive Creative Director and “fearless leader” Chris Wire discusses the art of telling stories.

Stories help people understand.

People respond best to stories, across any kind of interaction. It’s how we communicate. Even explaining something just in conversation, I’m always using an analogy, or an experience from my past. It’s storytelling that allows people to connect, and care, and remember; because it’s something they can understand. In the work that we do, incorporating a story always enriches the whole experience. Especially if aspects are already relatable and familiar on another level. For example, if the story has a connection to pop culture, or reminds you of a toy or game that you grew up, or incorporates something that has a deeper layer of meaning already built into it. We can take those feelings that you have and leverage them and build upon them.

Great storytelling needs details.

We weave some level of storytelling into every project we do. Whether it’s immediately apparent to the audience or not, every facet has been considered down to the detail. The creatives here love that aspect of the work—everything needs to be buttoned up and put together “just so” in order for the complete story to make sense. Once we find that thread, that special piece that’s just too cool or insanely perfect, it really leaves so much on the table from a creative and project standpoint. The core nugget of the concept might be fun, or make us smile, but the fact that you got such a full payoff when you walked away, that’s because everything around it was supporting and leading you right into that story.

The most memorable stories make you wonder.

There’s got to be something unique about the story in order for people to remember it. Whether it’s surprising, nostalgic, subtle and precious, the smallest or the biggest, or just incredibly fun. This ties into the idea we talk a lot about, of “building wonder.” Whatever it is that we’re telling you about, it needs to be unique. Different from anything you’ve experienced in the past. This is how we stop you and make you pay attention. Then, once we’ve got you, we can weave the rest of a brand story through that moment and drive some sort of business action.

Stories make relationships last.

If we can capture an audience through storytelling, it allows us to maintain a longer relationship with them. Especially if there’s always just a little bit more of the story for people to figure out. You can’t just give them something to look at or do once. There has to be more. And the more story we have to tell them, the more opportunity we have to leave them with whatever message or feeling we’re going for. We’ve leveraged this technique a lot for our clients, and it’s really effective.

Sometimes, the story is over.

As much fun as it was to build, you can’t keep these things alive forever. In fact, sometimes a quicker experience reveals the greater impact. At a certain point the story is no longer relevant or interesting. It’s like a sitcom. As long as people are still engaged and it’s still funny, it’s a great show. But before the sitcom starts to feel like it’s been on too long, you have to kill it. Don’t try to string it out for a couple more seasons. End that particular story and start a new one. And while you’re at reinventing something, make it bigger and bolder than the one before.

Got you hooked? Here’s more:


Curiosity Fuels Creativity
Chris Wire discusses creativity and curiosity at TEDxDayton


On Wonder
More bites of insight from Real Art’s “fearless leader”


On Craft
The crafty convergence of effort, care, and workmanship

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