Why repetition in business Storytelling works


"Anaphora" is a literary and rhetorical device in which a word or group of words is repeated at the beginning of two or more successive sentences. It's been used by politicians in government and priests in sermons to influence what their peers or congregation take away.

But it's also a very effective tool you can use in your business stories to influence what people will remember. Because if we are brutally honest with ourselves, as Marketers we are trying to influence a future purchase decision. That in the 'moment of purchase' they remember one or two key things about our brand.

That's getting harder and harder to do. With so much noise in all our worlds, with so many people wanting our attention you need tools such as 'Anaphora' to help influence what people remember from your stories.

This is a truly great example from Steve Jobs back in 1997 when he presented at Macworld after being re-instated as CEO of Apple.

He uses Anaphora to great effect - just count how many times he uses the phrase 'you have to think different' in this short two minute speech. Have no doubt that at the end of the conference the two words the audience will remember is 'Think Different'.

He also attaches the speech to the core 'possibility' that Apple creates for their customers (what they change, not what they do) - that they help them go out and change the world. That makes it even more stronger.

Thirdly, he created a memorable narrative. He could of said the same thing in a much less dramatic and inspiring way. But he choose to make a performance of it. Notice how he even drops his head and lowers his voice when talking about the crazy geniuses at 1:40 in the video.

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