THE BLOG

How We Change Through Stories

15/09/2014 13:38 BST | Updated 14/11/2014 10:59 GMT

I remember coming back from my Aunt's in my brother's red Ford Escort in 1978. I remember the blistering heat and the smell of hot plastic and then We Are Family came on the radio, and suddenly everyone started singing the song at the top of their voices. I just remember this deep visceral feeling of happiness and being completely and utterly safe.

This was one of my favourite memories growing up. But it's more than a memory - it's a story that has come to define my childhood.

Pretty much all our collective memories are based in story. Those feelings, fragments and statements of time are all framed in a narrative. That's how we know them to our ourselves and how we tell others. These stories form our identity and past, amplifying the memories that we have and bringing things to life.

That is the power of storytelling.

I believe that we live by stories and that we change by stories.

I am fascinated by the plethora of online stories and how brands are beginning to fund content, which feels more like engaging content than advertising messages.

With so much online content around now, it's no surprise that brands are making short online films, but the really interesting thing for me is how brands capitalise on the web's greatest currency - honesty.

Using authentic and emotive storytelling not only evokes emotion but gives people the opportunity to change the way they behave. The best documentaries stir deep emotions whatever their duration. If a great story can tap into that emotion then you have a story worth telling.

Brands want real and long term relationships with their customers. They don't just want a meaningless fling - they want a relationship of substance. Not just your usual fluffy viral stuff, but real stories rooted in the real world. Many brands have compelling stories that can inspire and engage.

People have an incredible sixth sense on what is real or not. Whether it's 90 minutes or two minutes long a piece of content has to have a heart constantly beating through it. Stories matter. They shouldn't be just nice things to look at and forget. They should move and inform us and play an essential part in how we think, imagine, connect and act.

My call to arms is for brands to show more than their shiny side, they can show all of life and if they can take that leap, they have the opportunity to connect deeply with people. Nothing engages like a little vulnerability - showing our authentic selves.

I believe that's how brands can make long lasting connections with people.

At Sundog Pictures, we make documentaries - feature length, TV or online. The most important thing for us is to tell stories that matter whatever the platform and tell them in a way that engages hearts and minds.

But one thing I've learned is that a story doesn't exist until it's told.