Striking a Universal Chord in Storytelling: Part Three

Storybook with silhouette of a family

This is part three on the art of using the “5 Human Universals” presented by Donald Brown in marketing and storytelling.

Review the introduction and parts one and two of this series.

So far we have explored how the fear of death and the desire for security drives our decisions and thoughts, though we may not even realize it. We have also seen how longing for community exists in our hearts as a by product of our fear of the outsider. Now we will take a look at the human need for clarity.

In a world of uncertainty, confusion, and fear, clarity is desired in so many areas of our lives. Whether we like to admit it or not, at some level we have a fear of the future. The prospects of the future may excite us, but deep down there is an innate fear that the future will let us down and not be what we hope and expect it to be. Where does anger come from? Unmet expectations. Where do expectations from from? Our view of an ideal future. Why are people obsessed with looking at their horoscope in the newspaper? Why does the business world hang on forecasted earnings to help chart its next steps? We are scared of the future and any help we can get with litigating future loss feels good.

The insurance company Aflac makes a living off of this fear. The fear of “what if?” What if the future is bad? All humans, but especially westerners, do not like uncertainty and will do whatever we can to lessen the unknown. We love extended warranties; we want legal documents and contracts to keep the unknown future from being so scary.

This being said, how can your company, in its marketing, help provide clarity and certainty for your clients? How can you met the felt – and even unfelt – need of security and clarity for your clients? You know that your product or service meets a need, but what is that need? Carefully and craftily identify that need, and, in its core, I think you will find that need in the three areas we have explored so far. The need for security, community and, now, clarity.

Scott Feather
Scott Feather
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