Why Empathy Matters in Storytelling and How to Use It

Posted on December 6, 2016 · Posted in Creativity, Storytelling

December 6, 2016

by Carla Johnson

down-and-out-in-paris-londonIn his book Down and Out in Paris and London, author George Orwell (of 1984 and Animal Farm fame…) tells the story of penniless British writer Eric Blair and his adventures on the streets of…you guessed it…Paris and London.

It was Orwell’s first novel and in good part, autobiographical. Although he came from a privileged background, he was curious about the world and, particularly, how people on the social margin lived. By the time he was in his late 20s, he realized he knew little about how people in his own country lived and he set off to experience what life was like for them. These travels not only became fodder for Down and Out in London and Paris, but the friendships and exposure to a broader universe served as literary fodder for later writings.

The empathy adventure not only made him a good writer, the experiences were good for him as a person.

As marketers, there’s a great deal that we can learn from Orwell’s empathy adventure when it comes to crafting stories and designing experiences. Because empathy is at the heart of design.

What is empathy?

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. To feel the emotions that they feel. Experience life from their point of view and imagine things from their perspective.

The Cleveland Clinic is one of the top-rated healthcare organizations in the country.  A big reason for this is because of their empathy toward patients and their families. Watch their video on empathy…

As a marketer, how does that change your perspective on what patients need to feel comfort, peace of mind and trust during their experience journey?

Now, how does this same perspective on empathy change the way you look at the stories that you tell? The experiences you create for your audiences?

Are you interested in creating stories that have deeper empathy for your audience? Contact me and let’s talk about how we can help. Or, connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, and if you like what you see, Subscribe here for regular updates.

Photo credit: Flicker user Moyan Brenn

About Carla Johnson

Consistently recognized as one oCarla Johnsonf the top influencers in content marketing,as well as one of the top 25 in B2B marketing and one of the Top 50 Women in Marketing, Carla’s latest book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, teaches marketers how to develop, manage and lead the creation of valuable experiences in their organizations. Carla serves on the Executive Board and as the Vice Chair for the Business Marketing Association (a division of the ANA) and is an instructor for the Content Marketing Institute and the Digital Analytics Association. Carla also contributes to industry wide news outlets, forums and conferences on the future of marketing, leading through innovation, and the power of storytelling.