Tell a good story.

What makes a good story? Stories have the power to captivate our imaginations, educate and inform us and create connections to bring us together.

Fundamentally, we human beings are drawn to narratives. In fact, science tells us our brains love stories. Utilities that embrace this knowledge will win the hearts and minds of their energy customers.

In our work across the energy landscape, we regularly help electric and gas providers incorporate creative storytelling into their marketing communications and customer service mix. It works. The proof can be found annually in J.D. Power's industry CSAT report.

Utility brands who score at the top of J.D. Power's Annual Customer Satisfaction Surveys are those consistently communicating well with customers. They engage with creative content, customized to specific audience needs. They understand their customers' fundamental need for useful information and the psychological importance of genuine communications.

So, what, exactly, makes the art of storytelling so powerful for brands seeking customer engagement?

In a Harvard Business Review article, Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling, Paul J. Zak, author and a founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies, writes, "character-driven stories do consistently cause oxytocin synthesis." Oxytocin is known as the body's ‘feel-good' hormone that promotes bonding.

The way Zak tells it, stories that spark the brain's pleasure center are the key to engagement.

Dave Grossman, of consulting firm The Grossman Group, agrees. "Leading companies are picking up on the importance of storytelling and using narratives to drive their strategy," Grossman wrote.

He said corporate leader Procter & Gamble (P&G) actually hired Hollywood directors to teach senior executives how to become better storytellers. That's quite an endorsement!

In our always-on, connected world, technology opens wide a whole new virtual storytelling canvas. The options for crafting great tales are bigger and better than ever. Consider the possibilities technology provides to power a brand's narrative. Savvy marketers in multiple industries, including the utility space, are utilizing communications with amazing images, useful videos and custom illustrations, delivered on interactive and immersive platforms.

Telling compelling stories with informative and entertaining content drives customer engagement.