What can content marketing learn from fairy tales?
Human beings are wired for stories. The pity/fear/catharsis model identified by Aristotle predates writing. It goes back to the hunter-gather fireside and is with us still. Stories have a physiologically effect; they persuade us and they alter our behaviour.
Once upon a time has more power than we often recognise.
But, can traditional fairy tales teach us anything about changing behaviour through narrative? After all, that’s the ultimate goal of content marketing.
Behavioural scientists Elspeth Kirkman and Michael Hallsworth offer three rules in a their article, Early Edutainment: The Behavioral Scientist’s Guide to Fairy Tales.
- Know your audience and what you want them to do
- Let the narrative do the persuading
- If you want people to learn, use pedagogical techniques
It’s a fascinating article that draws together the intent behind many fairy tales (they weren’t necessarily as folksy as we think) and contemporary attempts to change behaviour through “edutainment”.
Previous musings here:
- On Aristotle and Pity/Fear/Catharsis
- On the origins of myths and legends
- … and how they last
- On the physiologically effect of stories.