How does telling your brand’s story impact consumer perception and action?
Consumers have heard stories from young ages, often beginning with the fairytales they listened to as children. The stories we’re told impact us in a way that simple facts and outright persuasion cannot. They can catch our attention, stick in our minds, and spur us into action. Because getting consumers to take action is your number one goal in marketing, telling your brand’s story has the potential to be your next profitable move.
In their article “The Impact of Storytelling on the Consumer Brand Experience: The Case of a Firm-Originated Story,” market researchers Anna Lundqvist, Veronica Liljander, Johanna Gummerus, and Allard Van Riel (2013) highlight the difference a brand’s story can make in the mind of a consumer. They conducted a study involving 20 participants; all were members of the target audience of a newly developed, real-life cosmetics brand but had no prior knowledge of the brand. The participants were divided into two groups. Half were provided with the story of how the cosmetics company came into being and how the company’s product was developed. The other half didn’t receive this material.
After allowing all participants to test 15 of the brand’s products, the researchers then conducted interviews with each of the participants. All of the members of the group that had been exposed to the brand’s story were willing to pay retail price for the product, while only half of the other group expressed this inclination. Additionally, those in the story group praised the product’s packaging and used positive adjectives when asked to describe the brand. The other group reported mixed reviews.
Lundqvist, Liljander, Gummerus, and Van Riel concluded that “a story can embrace the core values of a brand in ways that traditional marketing communication cannot” (2013, 292). The story told in this study evoked positive emotions in the cosmetics brand’s target audience, encouraging them to purchase the product at full price.
Brand storytelling presents content marketers and copywriters with a window of opportunity as well as a place to steady themselves in an ever-changing discipline. Though change is always present in marketing, the value and effect of a good story—a true story—will remain constant. The results of the study suggest that writers and editors in the branding world can trust that consumers will respond positively to such a story.
Your brand’s story may not be an action-packed narrative riddled with intrigue or a whimsical fairytale dotted with magic—but neither was the story of the cosmetics company used in Lundqvist, Liljander, Gummerus, and Van Riel’s study. Every product and business has a story. Tell it as often and as compellingly as you can, and your brand will live happily ever after.
To learn more about storytelling in marketing, read the full article:
Lundqvist, Anna, Veronica Liljander, Johanna Gummerus, and Allard Van Riel. 2013. “The Impact of Storytelling on the Consumer Brand Experience: The Case of a Firm-Originated Story.” Journal of Brand Management 20 (4): 283–297. https://doi.org/10.1057/bm.2012.15.
—Caroline Stickel, Editing Research
FEATURE IMAGE BY FAIZUR REHMAN
Find more research
Read Arch G. Woodside, Suresh Sood, and Kenneth E. Miller’s (2008) article to discover how the stories bloggers tell about brands can reinforce or detract from brand image: “When Consumers and Brands Talk: Storytelling Theory and Research in Psychology and Marketing.” Psychology & Marketing 25 (2): 97–145. https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.20203.
Take a look at Joe Pulizzi’s (2012) article for six distinguishing factors between mediocre and great stories to tell in marketing: “The Rise of Storytelling as the New Marketing.” Publishing Research Quarterly 28: 116–123. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12109-012-9264-5.