Change your story and be a hero

5 years ago in a city somewhere in Europe, when the mayor decided to apply the anti-smoking law, people protested and the stores argued they would lose customers. The mayor, then, afraid of losing votes, with an excuse, postponed the application of the law indefinitely.

2 years ago the same mayor came back with the same decision to apply the law and everyone accepted it. No protest, no arguments, and the mayor got re-elected.

What changed in between? What made people change their behaviour?

5 years ago the mayor had launched the campaign of “smoking is bad for your health and those of others”. It had started by sending leaflets with case studies, informing citizens through tv channels and the radio and trying to do everything to convince people of the obvious: smoking equals death.

And she failed.

So, she decided to change the story. Studying people’s behaviour she realised that people care more about their status today than to live more or better tomorrow.

She came up with a new story that went like this: “Smoking is an old-fashioned habit.”. This time there were no leaflets, no further info to people. She went to anti-smokers influencers and they passed the message through their platforms.

People who quit smoking increased by 30% in the first two months, people movements about quitting smoking campaigns started in 4 months and individuals demanded from stores not to allow smoking in their closed areas.

Except the ironic fact that people care more about their appearance, their social ID, instead of their health, the fact is that telling the right story to your audience can make you a hero.

P.S. I will talk about brand storytelling at the Hellenic-American Union in 30/1/2019. It’s totally free and I would love to see you there. Click here for more info or contact me.

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Costantino Roselli
[email protected]