Striking a Universal Chord in Storytelling: Introduction

By: Scott Feather

This blog is the first in a series of blogs titled 'Striking a Universal Chord in Storytelling.'

I was first exposed to the idea and work of Donald Brown while reading Marcus Buckingham’s amazing book The One Thing You Need to Know. Brown identified 327 Human Universals that stretch across all cultures and people. The list includes such items such as joking, tickling, and talking like a baby to infants. It includes interesting facts such as every culture “sucks on cuts” when they occur, they prefer sweets, there is a fear of snakes but not flowers, and that every culture has a word for “pain.” Every culture trades, has weapons and toys… The list is actually pretty large. Buckingham focused on five Great, as he calls them, universals that are relevant to leadership. Over the next few blog posts we will explore these 5 human universals as they relate to storytelling, communication and, ultimately, marketing.

These five universals are set up as “fears of _______” with a corresponding “need for ______”. If these universals really are that and are at work in each one of our lives, thoughts, and emotions, the master storyteller or communicator should be in tune with these emotions and use them responsibly to communicate his/her message. Here at 212 Media Studios this is what we focus on in our storytelling. Marketing and communication is all about meeting needs. If we know the five universal human fears and needs, we can know more about our audience and appeal to these innate needs in our communication outlets, because what is in them is in us.

Have you ever thought about your fears? I mean really thought about them and what they say about you? If you know the root of your fears, you will discover a need you have in your life. This is the introduction to a series of blog posts revealing these fears and needs. Any guesses as to what they are? Look deep inside; they are there…


Scott Feather
Community Manager
View Scott's Profile