“A story is more powerful than a statistic.”
I heard this quote from someone and it has always resonated with me.
There’s something about a good story with a powerful point that has the ability to stick with someone for a while. And the truth is, we are hard-wired for stories:
Complex language is one of our oldest and arguably our most defining human technology. Stories come out of it: This happened, then this happened, then this happened.
You can teach by maxims: “Don’t swim with crocodiles” — which always sound a bit like nagging. Or you can tell the story of Thrdj, who paid no attention and went swimming with crocodiles. Suddenly the river turned red, and then Thrdj washed ashore minus his head. Thrdj without a head wins hands down, wouldn’t you say?
Short answer: we’re hard-wired for stories. Small children understand This-happens and then This before they can talk.
So it’s no surprise that stories can also have an application when it comes to developing product experiences to increase retention and engagement.
Growth.design explains this well when analyzing how Mario Kart is able to make $$$.
Specifically, when creating an immersive gaming experience, users need to understand what they are doing, and if they can understand what they are doing, and see how this fits in to the bigger picture at hand, then they become immersed (= engagement which leads to retention).
To read more on this check out this article by Roi Ben-Yehuda: How Stories increase attention, retention, and engagement.