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November 4, 2022   |   5 min read

Storylining Part 1: An Approach to Building Human Connection

Experience our proprietary way of mapping effective storytelling and engaging brand experiences.


Psychology tells us humans systematically make choices that defy clear logic. As irrational decision-makers and heuristic beings, our actions are often unconscious* and emotionally driven. Just think, if we were purely rational thinkers, we'd all stop at that "one" potato chip, drive the speed limit and read the directions well before wrestling with anything shipped in an IKEA box. But how fun would that be? We’re programmed to imagine. And our analogical thinking is a main distinguisher between our brains and those of old-world monkeys.

As digital experts rallying around customer experiences, we at Mindstream Interactive build everything we do around these fundamental truths. From “tap to accept” terms and conditions on a webpage to saying “I do” at a wedding, the best and most important actions we take are of direct consequence of our piqued curiosity and quest for adventure.

Revisiting Storytelling

Having been peppered with all the hard-selling and arguably logical messages launching from the current economic landscape, we feel the need to rekindle Seth Godin's astute words from 2016: "People do not buy goods and services. People buy relations, stories and magic". This thinking is how storytelling has made its way so quickly into the marketing business. Brands must position their story in a distinct way to set themselves apart. Simply put, audiences prefer to be sweetened by a story than overly seasoned by direct messages any day.

No one wants to feel sold to. The need for your marketing to reach your audience is even more important in times of economic fragility.



Sure, our minds grasp numbers. But it’s the brand stories that we embrace.


Say it with Feeling

We as humans gravitate toward the wondrous – we’re wired to be attracted to the Instagram-spun romance between fantasy and authenticity. Now more than ever, humans want their social feeds to carry them away. And in this time when brands are yelling into the white noise of marketing price points and shallow purpose, humans still want to be romanced. Your marketing must step out into the wild that is the social arena.

As a demonstration of how the mind prefers to connect a web of senses to truly revel in a single concept, Rocky achieves without words what dozens have failed to effectively illustrate about color to blind camp companion, Diana her entire life.

What is Storylining?

Not to be confused with a storyline or plot, Storylining is a framework for content and experience planning to create brand moments that garner true, human connection. Not unlike Rocky’s approach to communicating the rainbow in Mask, Storylining starts by filtering a brand’s core identity and values through a banded spectrum that tempers the rational with the emotional. The output produces a series of weighted themes, or senses, that tells a deeper message that humans can metaphorically touch, smell, taste and connect.

We take this approach to extend beyond conversion-focused messaging and static content–where most brands tend to get stuck. To build authentic relationships, brand enthusiasts and to inspire loyalty in an audience, brands need to humanize their approach to content. To connect with people truly, brands must start acting like people.


Storytelling vs. Storylining

As a bonus, Storylining gives brands the foundation to connect authentically and consistently across paid, earned, owned and shared content, in a custom-tailored way, filtered through insights, and built to constantly evolve.

Storylining is a vital part of storytelling. It is lining messages in a logical order to make the entire story easy to grasp and understand while using only the relevant messages and avoiding unnecessary noise.


A Flexible Framework Built for Brand Engagement

Our unique Storylining framework identifies themes to anchor storytelling, pairing it with the necessary information to be able to activate on them strategically. Doing so in a way that upholds consistency through flexible execution in terms of the: storytellers involved, story formats, channel or delivery methods chosen and its ability to be refreshed for reuse or extended by internal teams and influencers on behalf of the brand.

Methodologically Compatible with B2C and B2B Marketers

We often get the question of how Storylining differs between B2B and B2C. The short answer, it doesn’t. At the end of the day, we believe people are people. Looking at the data around content resonance and audience consumption methods, B2B and B2C are more aligned than ever before.


What Lies Ahead

In the coming months, as 2023 plans are made, and there is a request for more fiscally responsible budgets, Marketers will likely be asked to do more with less. Strategies and frameworks that drive alignment amongst content creators and channels, while leaving room to test and learn, will be key.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the game is always changing. Not all strategies are created equal and it’s imperative your brand is positioned to be one that Gen-Z will embrace–leaving room for others to also take part in the narrative. Storylining is built for just that.

We help brands do this every day, and original Storylining creation is a passion shared across our entire organization. Some of our work in this area includes client partnerships with Bob Evans, Visit California, ADS and PenFed Credit Union.

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