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Using Story for Effective Animal Advocacy

story-four1Most fiction writers know that a good story is the key to a memorable book, article or screenplay. But business leaders and marketing specialists have been using the art of storytelling for years as a motivational tool. They realize that stories drive transformational change by putting facts into an emotional context.

In the short, instructive video below, Jennifer Aaker, Professor of Marketing at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, discusses a University of Pennsylvania study on how to best raise money for the Save the Children Foundation. Two versions of a marketing pamphlet were created. The first provided statistics about the magnitude of problems facing children in Africa. The second pamphlet provided the same statistics, but also told the story of Rokia, a little girl from Mali who faced the threat of severe hunger. What the researchers learned surprised them.

As animal advocates, our mission is in large part about persuading people to open their eyes to industrialized animal suffering – and not just be willing to look at it, but also to change how they respond to it, i.e. stop eating meat and dairy, stop buying fur, etc. Making such changes in one’s lifestyle are rarely made by virtue of an intellectual decision.

Whether we are aware of or not, our decisions are driven by emotion. And it’s natural when advocating for ideas to go straight to statistics, facts and convincing arguments. But studies show that by sharing a story, people are more likely to remember the message, be persuaded by it and most importantly, feel personally connected to the message – three good reasons why story should become an important part of any animal advocate’s tool box.

One Comment

  1. I am so happy to read about your books and about using writing and story to educate others about the plight of animals in this world. I am also a writer of short stories (and possibly a novel in the future). Hope to see you at AR 2015 in July.

    Donna Marino

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