Behavioral Trends: The Power of the Story


The Power of the Story


We generate a more genuine and committed connection with a well-told-real-story than with a product or service itself. There has always been a fine line between speaking and being heard: storytelling. Tell us a story and let’s make it a dialogue!



César Castro is the founder of the world’s first Academy of Strategic Storytelling, where he trains professionals of all walks of life on the power of stories in our daily lives in order to formulate better business proposals and presentations. The role of storytelling in Castro’s life has been far-reaching and long-lasting, having won storytelling competitions in the United States as young as 10 years old. Appropriately, Castro has the belief that all great leaders are also great storytellers – after all, you can’t be successful without an inspiring story that leads up to that success. 

The Power of the Story - Cesar Castro V Storytelling Estratégico


AC mcgarrybowen is one of the leading marketing agencies in Mexico focusing entirely on storytelling. Their tagline, “nothing is a coincidence”, perfectly reflects the work they perform. By understanding and immersing themselves in the moment and context, the agency works closely with brands to create relevant and engaging stories with the target demographic – often the entire country, as seen in their numerous multifaceted campaigns. Working with clients like Volkswagen and Izzi (examples listed below), Audi, Adidas and Samsonite, the agency harnesses the power of the story to bring their clients face-to-face with the customers, with a strategy that is unparalleled in Mexico today. Its founder, Sebastián “El Pana” Arrechedera, is an award-winning creative with numerous achievements in the industry, as well as the host of the “El Martínez” podcast, where leading creatives in different industries gather to discuss innovation and storytelling, among other topics.

The Power of the Story - AC McGarryBowen


All kinds of objects have the potential to become imbued and entwined with complex, intensely transformative stories. Seemingly mundane objects like mugs, plates, candles, toys and dolls become heirlooms of the story linked to them. Every object listed on the Significant Objects website has a (fictional) background that changes our perspective of them – for better or for worse. The site is an anthropological and literary experiment created by Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn, and it seeks to demonstrate that the effect of narrative on any given object’s subjective value can be measured objectively. Writers invent stories about the objects, which are then auctioned off on eBay, and while they may not have much intrinsic value, the quality of the story and the changes it inflicts on the object are translated on the prices.

The Power of the Story - Significant Objects


Volkswagen is a brand with a deep history in Mexico – with some even going so far as to call it Mexico’s favorite car brand. “Vochos”, as they’re affectionately called in the country, have left a lasting impact on the Mexican collective unconscious. For its 50th anniversary in the country, Volkswagen carried out “El Volkswagen de tu Vida” (The Volkswagen of your Life), a commemorative campaign made in collaboration with AC mcgarrybowen that invited previous and current Volkswagen owners to share their personal anecdotes with their cars. Those with the 5 most notable stories were the recipients of a very special surprise – they got their old cars (or a replica of it) back, complete with full restorations and even customized features that tied in with the stories. The entire ordeal of finding, restoring and giving back the cars was the subject of an online documentary, which became viral in the country. A happy ending for extraordinary stories – all made possible from the start by Volkswagen.

The Power of the Story - El Volkswagen de tu Vida (article)


Until recently, the European Union’s laws on produce were extremely restrictive, forbidding the sale of around 97% of existing fruits and vegetables due to bureaucracy. In 2018, French retailer Carrefour, the leading supermarket chain in Europe, took an unconventional, but extremely risky (and thus radical) approach to persuade the European Parliament to get rid of these harmful restrictions. Fully assuming the threat of heavy fines, they decided to establish a “Black Supermarket”: a special section in their locations to sell these illegal fruits and vegetables, in which customers could shop at their own risk – while educating themselves on the situation and being encouraged to sign petitions. The campaign was extremely successful not only in profits – which went back to the “illegal” farmers – but also in changing the reality of agriculture in the European Union. In 2019, The European Parliament ratified a new organic agriculture regulation, reauthorizing the sale and cultivation of farmers’ seeds – turning this award-winning marketing campaign into the harbinger of real change for countless farmers in the region.

The Power of the Story - Carrefour The Black Supermarket (article)


Inspiring, enlightening, engaging stories told live in front of hundreds of people in cities around the world and then shared online. This is what we know as TED Talks, the most culturally impactful product of TED, a non-profit devoted to the diffusion of powerful ideas. Originally focused around Technology, Entertainment and Design, TED talks have now expanded to cover nearly all topics of human interest. Besides events organized by the organization itself, there have been hundreds of independently run TEDx events, that have helped share ideas in communities around the world. The transformative potential of stories is what drives TED forward – towards enlightenment and empathy to our fellow humans.

The Power of the Story - TED


People don’t buy WHAT you do… they buy WHY you do it. A good story connects beliefs, and from that level buying decisions are easier to take.

the power of the story - simon sinek


The cult tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons is a mix of fantasy role-play and strategy, and appeals to users’ imaginations and storytelling instincts. Despite this endless potential, the game had been fading in popularity in the 2000s. However, it has enjoyed a revival ever since its fifth edition was launched in 2014. The game, which used to be seen as inaccessible to new players, is now benefiting from the Internet and popular culture references in its reinvigoration, but mostly the payoff has come from the players creating communities and endlessly imaginative campaigns – showing that stories are often the best tool for bringing people together.

The Power of the Story - Dungeons & Dragons Resurgence (article)


Gwyneth Paltrow has made headlines for selling a $75 USD candle called “This Smells Like My Vagina” through her lifestyle brand Goop. The actress claims that the scent was originally meant to be a perfume, and when she first had a sample, she exclaimed the candle’s name, and the rest is history. Whether the smell is accurate or not (we shall never know), the thought of it was enough to have it sold out completely.

The Power of the Story - Gwyneth Paltrow's Vagina-Scented Candle (article)


On the heels of the 2018 New York Fashion Week, luxury casual brand Diesel decided to take an unorthodox, tongue-in-cheek approach to the existence of counterfeit goods, taking the saying “if you can’t beat them, join them” to an entirely new level. As part of their new collection, they created their own counterfeit goods, purposely misspelling their logo in the vein of most low-quality knockoffs, but retaining the quality standards of their usual items. For a while, they sold the real-fakes at bootleg stores (and according prices) to unsuspecting customers who disputed their authenticity – and then broke the news. Hypebeasts flocked to the bootleg stores to get their hands on the limited-edition items, which sold out three consecutive times. And the most definitive sign of success? Knockoffs of the knockoffs started popping up online – definitely a full circle moment.

The Power of the Story - Deisel (article)


How can you multiply by 10x the price of a luxury wrist watch? Easy: add a tiny piece of rusty metal… from the hull of the Titanic. Then it becomes much more than a watch, a true piece of history in your wrist, a great story to tell and show off with your friends.

the power of the story - romain jerome titanic dna


Few things are more important for soccer (association football) fans than the FIFA World Cup. Held once every four years, the hype that leads up to each game is palpable each time the Cup comes around – and this excitement is often all-consuming in Latin America, a region where soccer is the most important sport. Being a die-hard soccer fan during World Cup season, few things are more frustrating than missing a game. Now, imagine if your significant other’s family member had a wedding to get to – in an entirely different country. You’d probably be furious beyond reason. That’s what happened in the famous viral video series “The World Cup Couple”, staged by AC McGarryBowen México to promote Izzi Go. An Argentinian couple documented their trip to a wedding in Mexico, with the struggle of missing the games – until they download the Izzi Go app to watch the games in real time. Harnessing the relatability of the frustrations that come with missing a game, the campaign resonated not only in Mexico and Argentina but in the entire region as well.

The Power of the Story - Izzi The World Cup Couple (article)


The United States is a country with a far-reaching history of racism that continues to deeply affect Black communities today. It’s the job of American citizens to educate themselves in order to be allies and participants in the fight against the pervasive racism that exists to this day. In a several awards-winning 2017 commercial, Procter & Gamble took a step towards this and gave visibility to “The Talk” – a conversation that Black parents have with their children, sooner or later, about the prejudice and dangers they face just for being Black. Brainstormed by My Black is Beautiful, an internal group of visionary Black women at P&G, the ad showed the uncomfortable reality of parents speaking to their children about the racial biases they will encounter to millions of people who do not have to do so. A powerful and necessary story that opens the eyes of the privileged and amplifies the stories and experiences of Black people.

The Power of the Story - Procter & Gamble The Talk (article)


For TOMS’ business model, telling a good story is paramount. Its “one for one” promise demands lots of show-and-tell on how they are actually helping others (for real) with your contribution.

the power of the story - toms


In its early days, the mainstream Internet was a place for ideas to reach people across vast distances. It was the closest thing to a place of total freedom, where anything and anyone could coexist. As it evolved, the Internet became homogenized and centralized into a handful of social media sites and online portals owned by massive corporations – most of which have the goal of monetizing all the data and information you pour into them. Medium was born in an effort to bring back the free, open-minded nature of the early Internet, a place for transformative ideas to spark powerful conversations. It’s a place where anyone can publish all kinds of texts – from world-renowned journalists to amateur storytellers, without giving in to advertising, placing the focus entirely on the story, as it always should’ve been.

The Power of the Story - Medium


Traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective, particularly online, where users see them as pests and simple ad blocker extensions remove all vestiges of advertisement. Telecoms manufacturer Qualcomm took a decisively different approach to promoting its Snapdragon 820 chip set – and commissioned a 30-minute-long thriller film titled “Lifeline”. Directed by an Academy Award winner and set in Shanghai, the short features smartphones that use the chip in its action heavy sequences. These days, more discreet product placement embedded in an entertaining story is destined to be more effective than all-out, in-your-face advertising. Lifeline was made as an ad you’d want to see — “a piece of entertainment that can compete in a very crowded marketplace”.

The Power of the Story - Qualcomm Lifeline


In order to promote season 3 of “Better Call Saul”, the prequel to the wildly popular TV show “Breaking Bad”, a fully functioning replica of the Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant from the series was installed as part of SXSW in Austin (US) in 2017. In the series, the restaurant acts as a front for a drug operation. The replica drew extremely long lines of fans, eager to try some fried chicken, simply because of the value it has within the story, and the resonance said story has had with them.

The Power of the Story - Los Pollos Hermanos (article)


Airbnb enables people to stay at other people’s homes as if they were their own. No matter what city you’re staying in, if you stay at an Airbnb, you’re already integrating into that city. This notion of belonging has been central to Airbnb’s existence, almost as much as it has been fundamental for the evolution of humankind. As social beings, we all want to belong, whether we like it or not. For their 2014 rebranding, Airbnb created a symbol that would represent this feeling of belonging anywhere: the Bélo. Composed of four elements: people, places, love, and Airbnb itself, the Bélo aims to contain all the experiences that come with belonging to a place.

The Power of the Story - Airbnb Belo


Animal videos are often cited as one of the most endearing mainstays of the Internet, providing on-demand doses of serotonin to viewers all around the world. One of the most prominent hubs to surface in recent years has been The Dodo – a place for animal-focused videos that aims to tell animals’ stories at a time when people care about them more than ever. The content of the videos is as wide as the nature of the stories behind them, from stray dog rescues to kittens trying to open their eyes for the first time. The quality that makes The Dodo stand out is its commitment to promoting causes and organisations for the good of animals, permitting the continuation of shelters and ocean-saving initiatives, among others. Thus, stories are not only shared, but continued by the users who engage with them.

The Power of the Story - The Dodo


The Elephant House would probably be “just another coffeeshop” in Edinburgh. Except for this piece of story: is the place where J.K. Rowling sat down and wrote the Harry Potter saga.

the power of the story - the elephant house


It’s a story we’ve all heard hundreds of times: a boat with refugees sank in the Mediterranean Sea and dozens drowned. But this time something special happened. The story was an image of a drowned kid, so blunt the world couldn’t escape to its typical indifference. The result was a Syrian refugee crisis: thousands of people around the world manifested and pushed their governments to open their frontiers to them.

the power of the story - syrian boy drowned


Click here to navigate our list of Behavioral Trends for value creation, full of insights and needstates, written from a post-demographic human-centered perspective by our partner Andrea Lobo.


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