First let me confess right now. I’m not a football fan. I don’t understand the game nor do I understand it’s allure for many people – including my sister who will probably disown me now that she knows the truth.

However, I DO love those SuperBowl ads, especially now that I can watch them on YouTube at my leisure. Looking at the number of views they get it’s obvious a lot of people agree with me.

That’s because, as human beings, we don’t just like stories. We LOVE them and actively seek them out. Google data shows that what gets the majority of non-sport fans like me to pay attention to football for one day every year are those Super Bowl commercials.

That’s right. We show up for the stories.

Ever wonder why? Well, here’s where things get interesting. A study at the Center for Neuro-economics at Claremont University discovered that when we listen to stories, oxytocin is released in our brains. Now oxytocin is also known as “the love hormone”. So when I say we love a good story, I mean just that.

Oxytocin causes us to bond with other people. It makes us feel like we are part of something bigger. The right story initiates us into a tribe with a shared experience. And, if you remember anything at all about being in love, you know how powerful that feeling is.

That’s a big incentive for companies to part with huge piles of cash to tell their stories on the SuperBowl. If they get it right, we fall in love with the story and, hopefully, the brand that tells it.

They could just give us data dumps of facts to prove their point. You can be sure they have all the double blind studies and statistical information about why their product is better than another. So why not just let those facts convince us?

Lab Puppy with boot Because honestly, would you even remember stats and studies once the game started again? But I’ll bet you remember that Budweiser puppy. In fact, you not only remember, but I’d be willing you talked about it and may even have shared it already.

So what does this have to do with you and your small business?

After all, you probably can’t afford the millions of dollars to be seen on SuperBowl Sunday. So how can you use story to help your clients and customers fall in love with you?

Simple. Look around. I’ll bet you already have a lot of success stories your customers have shared with you. Or maybe you are a product of your product and a personal story to share. You can even look for metaphors to help others see how your product solves their problem or adds to the quality of an experience (like the rancher with his Bud).

Develop the right story and you don’t have to argue your case. It will connect to our emotions in a deep and profound way. This isn't about manipulation. Science shows we make decisions from our emotions and use our brains to justify that decision. So why wouldn't you go right to the top decision-maker?

When we identify with the characters in a story, we actually experience their story with them. Scientists studying MRI scans of people reading a story or watching a movie discovered the story activated the parts of their brains that you would expect to respond if they themselves had been that character. In other words, we know exactly how that rancher felt when he looked out the window and saw his pup coming home.

Anyone who has tried to get their message heard these days knows exactly how high and thick our filters and defences are. We’re all on information overload. Stories march right past the gatekeeper we all have in our heads.

Give us a story and you won’t have to look very hard for your audience.

We’ll find you.

Author's Bio: 

Aprille Janes spent 20 years as a successful business consultant to Fortune 500 companies like Coca Cola and Minute Maid. In 2003, acknowledging her true purpose, she threw away her corporate suit and began connecting with entrepreneurs who want to make a real difference in their lives and the world through their business.

Aprille is now a sought after speaker, author, podcast host and small business mentor. Her mentorship allows her clients to build successful businesses of purpose, and get noticed in a noisy and crowded marketplace.