Power of Storytelling in Marketing

Why Telling Your Company’s Story Matters


Stories Key to Reaching Newest Generations 

Recently I made the mistake of mentioning “marketing” during a conversation with a friend in her early 20s. Her eyes glazed over, and she glanced towards her phone. I quickly brought up what I read about Gen Z loving stories over deals, and I had her attention again. Simply making my point relatable convinced her to keep listening.

This little example proved true to what I had been reading—younger generations with spending power (Millennials and Gen Z) are attracted to products they identify with and tell a quality story.[1] While older generations love a good deal or want to buy from a brand they deem “quality,” the newest consumers want idealistic, personally identifiable products.    

Science of Storytelling

Why do stories—particularly those that appeal to values and emotions—impact buying habits of younger generations? Part of it may be that storytelling (when done correctly) can change how our brains process information.

NPR’s Elena Renken, in “How Stories Connect and Persuade Us: Unleashing the Brain Power of the Narrative,” lays out the evidence. Scientists using functional MRI have found that different parts of our brains light up when listening to stories and that the brainwaves of the storyteller and listener start to merge as the story continues. In short, stories have a physical impact on their audiences. That impact affects the attitudes of the listener—and marketing directors take note—their behavior.[2]

How to Tell an Effective Story

Compelling storytelling starts with an awareness of your company’s history and values. Take time to reflect on your company. How did your company transform from an idea to what it is today? Which elements of your company inspire employees’ commitment to their work? Does your company have any sustainability or social-issue-focused goals? Recognizing what makes your company unique will help you craft a powerful story that will appeal to younger generations. 

This article on business storytelling from Forbes explores the process of telling a corporate story. The author, CEO Mike Kappel, emphasized grounding facts and a clear focus above elaborate details. Your company’s story needs first to be believable before consumers can accept it. He also mentions keeping the story consistent with your brand and making the outcome positive and relatable.[3]

A powerful way to promote your company’s story is to get consumers involved. It could be as simple as encouraging “shares” on social media and showcasing reviews on your website or as complicated as using consumers’ stories in advertising.3,[4] The more relatable the story, the more consumers will identify with your company and buy your products or services.  

Takeaway 

Storytelling is a necessary and powerful marketing tool. Well-told stories can change people’s minds. Taking the time to understand and tell your story will help you grow your customer base—especially among the younger generations.


[1] Bentley K. 30+ key tips for marketing to different generations. smallbiztechnology.com. https://www.smallbiztechnology.com/archive/2019/01/30-key-tips-for-marketing-to-different-generations.html/. Published January 1, 2019. Accessed July 26, 2021.

[2] Renken E. How stories connect and persuade us: Unleashing the brain power of the narrative. NPR.org. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/04/11/815573198/how-stories-connect-and-persuade-us-unleashing-the-brain-power-of-narrative. Published April 11, 2020. Accessed July 26, 2021.

[3]Kappel M. 5 essential tips for business storytelling. Forbes.com. https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2012/may/23/storytelling-key-audience-consumer-engagement. Published January 17, 2018. Accessed July 28, 2021.

[4]Robertson D. The power of storytelling, the key to consumer engagement. The Guardian.com. https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2012/may/23/storytelling-key-audience-consumer-engagement. Published May 23, 2012. Accessed August 2, 2021.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s