Can you recall Don Draper using statistics in a quote? Neither can I.
Draper’s pitches were successful because they focused on stories. (Remember the famous Kodak Carousel pitch?) He was onto something: Research highlights stories as key to capturing an audience’s attention.
Jennifer Aaker, a social psychologist and professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, cites a study in which students were asked to present a one-minute persuasive pitch to their class members. Each pitch included an average of 2.5 statistics. Only one of those pitches included a story. Ten minutes later, the researcher asked the students to pull out a sheet of paper and write down every idea they remembered. Only 5% of the students remembered a statistic; 63% of the students remembered the story.
For most people, numbers aren’t memorable. Stories are.
Numerous studies have shown that stories aren’t only more effective in making a message memorable, they’re also more emotionally persuasive. Pair this with research that shows we make decisions primarily with emotion (using logic to justify them later), and you have the power of story in a nutshell.