“Great marketers don’t sell dreams, they sell realities”

The magic ingredient, it turns out, is storytelling. “Stories have emotions that data doesn’t,” explains Ariely. “And emotions get people to do all kinds of things.”

Marketing leaders will prick up their ears. First, because marketing departments tend to be big, diffuse and populated by individuals with strongly-held, divergent opinions, so any insight from the behavioural sciences on how to get everyone pointing in the same direction is welcome.

And second, because storytelling is already a marketing ‘thing’: it has become fashionable in our commercial domain to lionise its power of persuasion over the rational and factual. For us, it fits.

A little caution might be advised, however. In the documentary, Ariely is just one of a suite of experts and commentators seeking to make sense of how a former high-flying silicon valley entrepreneur, Elizabeth Holmes, had duped not just the investment community but towering figures like Henry Kissinger and George Schulz into backing her doomed, blood-analytics venture, Theranos.

Lees deze column op Marketingweek