Why You Should Keep Your Story Simple

Why You Should Keep Your Story Simple


“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.”


Roger C. Schank



The first rule of storytelling is that we need to keep it simple. Watch a child’s eyes glaze over when we start trying to complicate a bedtime tale. The same applies to your brand story, if it is to complicated your audience will stop listening or watching.


By keeping your brand story simple you will have a chance to engage your audience. Keeping a story simple requires advance planning, it definitely just does not happen by accident.


The way to keep your story simple is by keeping in mind the following three thoughts




“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”




Our familiarity with storytelling from early childhood means we are always looking for structure in our stories. We want a beginning, middle and an end to our storytelling. Structure is critical to the success of your story. By sticking to a structure we are delivering a story in a manner our audience is familiar with. It is definitely a situation where “if it is not broken don’t fix it”.





“One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language.”


Lisa Kristine


The type of language that we use is critical to the success of your storytelling. Keep it simple and appropriate for your intended audience. The trick is to explain things as simply as you can. No brownie points are gained for complex language unless you happen to be James Joyce.


It is not only the spoken word that that should be kept simple, visual language should be simplified for visual storytelling, as people rarely want to guess at what you are trying to tell them. Your visual images in video storytelling should relate to the story you are trying to tell.





Storytelling is about two things; it’s about character and plot.

George Lucas


Brand storytelling is all about a simple plot. In storytelling we are looking for the hero to undertake some type of journey. Brand stories are no different, they need to take us a journey as well. A long meandering tale with no obvious plot will not generally sit well with your audience.


Keep the plot simple, easy to follow and with a satisfactory finish. Audiences need to feel your story has come to a natural conclusion, otherwise they will think something is amiss with your storytelling. If you don’t believe this remember a time that you went to a film that has a reputation for an inconclusive ending. Remember how you heard the audience express their frustration with the ending as they left the cinema.


“If you want to know me, then you must know my story, for my story defines who I am.”


Dan McAdams


Remember brand storytelling is not about issuing the latest brand insight masquerading as a story. It needs to be a real simple show-stopping story that your audience wants to hear and is reluctant to stop hearing.


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