John Webb
John Webb
2nd July 2024
5 mins
Story appeal is the hook that makes the audience want to find out more.

Story Appeal

Table of contents

If you’re a novelist, you want people to read and enjoy your book. If you’re a moviemaker, you want people to watch and enjoy your film. We create e-learning courses and we want people to enjoy, and benefit from, the experience.

Story appeal is an excellent way to enhance the learning experience.  

Story appeal is the hook that makes the audience want to find out more.  It can be the difference between an impactful and a forgettable course. Here’s a notable example of story appeal from the world of advertising.

In 1951, ad man David Ogilvy transformed the fortunes of CFHathaway, a small Maine-based company that made shirts. He asked the male model at the photoshoot to wear an eyepatch…and instantly created story appeal. Customer curiosity was aroused. How, they wondered, had the man lost his eye? Was he a war hero? Was he an international spy? They were intrigued.

The ad cost just $3,176 to place in the New Yorker. Within a week, every Hathaway shirt in the city had sold.

Think about it: a conflicts of interest course that takes place in a theatre is always going to be more engaging than a course on the same subject that begins in a boardroom.


And would you rather learn about fraud in an office, or on the glacier express?

Story appeal entices the learner. An intriguing story is engaging and memorable. It can lead you to reflect and reflection prompts the much sought after behaviour change. As a species, we learn through stories. We always have and always will.

John will be talking about storytelling tomorrow on our livestream webinar, joined by Catherine Grylls and Susana Gomez of Swiss Re. There are a few spaces left, follow the link here to reserve your space.