The story of your company sells your product. Tell us why your product will better hook us into our ideals, into our more efficient day, into ourselves, into our own narrative. Tell us where your product fits into that narrative we write for ourselves.
The story of your candidate/legislation/social movement sells your ideology. Bill Clinton as “The Man From Hope” who would “Build a Bridge to the 21st Century.” What was Gore’s story? Kerry’s? If we can’t remember, it probably wasn’t too compelling.
Your lead (yes, i know this is probably spelled l-e-d-e in some circles, but I refuse to do that until someone makes me) sells your article, gives it a structure, and if you’re good enough, you can turn the subject of your story into a protagonist (or antagonist, as the case may be) and tell their story.
In every one of these stories, a hero tries to rescue a princess from a dragon.
Our fearless hero will have to overcome nearly insurmountable obstacles to achieve his goal, and if all goes well, he’ll beat the odds in the end, getting over that one last big hill by overcoming his own fears/shortcomings/idiosyncrasies to save the day.
As human beings, when we’re told this story by Apple or Bill Clinton or Time magazine, the structure is doing the job, not the content. Without getting too McLuhanesque, the story structure is the message.