09 Jul Story and Storytelling
Stories are structured, written, oral or visual explanations that de-scribe the how and why of one or multiple incidents revolving around human actions or character-based events (Snowden, 1999). Structurally, stories must entail a plot, characters, a climax, and an end state (Van Laer, de Ruyter, Visconti, & Wetzels, 2014). A good story is often dramatic in the sense that it describes some type of tension between a protagonist and other actors and takes audience members on a developmental journey through which the conflict is eventually resolved (Fischer, 1963; Snowden, 1999). Sharing a good story is like telling a chronicle of what you have observed so others can experience it (Simmons, 2001).
Stories convey meaning, significance, emotions and actions so that the receiver is able to actively process, interpret, and experience the message and reach a conclusion similar to the storyteller’s (Van Laer et al., 2014). Stories come in different forms (short vs. long), different genres (fiction vs. nonfiction), based on various hooks, and are presented via numerous mediums (text as in novels or comic strip ads; media as in movies or tv; digital as in video games; words as in oratory or plays). For example, stories in films are narratives that allow viewers to get transported into a sequence of events faster. Connections to the protagonist are intensified with the aid of sounds (e.g. music) and visual backgrounds that speak to the artistic nature of the production. In contrast, narratives in novels are a literary piecing together of events and characters that walk viewers through a structurally descriptive plot and allow their imaginations to run wild (Mackey, 2011). In sales, storytelling is the salesperson’s oration of “discourse dealing with interrelated actions and consequences in chronological order” (Gilliam & Flaherty, 2015, p. 133). Notwithstanding the medium, the goal of any narrative is to attempt to transport the audience by making them think about the experiences and events in the narrative, obtain perceptions, appraise emotions, and draw conclusions about the story (Escalas, 1998).
In marketing, storytelling has been equated to content marketing, which describes “the creation of valuable, relevant and compelling content by the brand itself on a consistent basis, used to generate a positive behavior from a customer or prospect” (Pulizzi, 2012, p. 116). In other words, storytelling is the powerful act of transporting audience members or any receiver of narrative information on a fictional or nonfictional journey using a multitude of techniques (e.g., words, images, sounds) to garner a desired response.
- Van Laer, T., de Ruyter, K., Visconti, L. M., & Wetzels, M. (2014). The extended trans-portation-imagery model: A meta-analysis of the antecedents and consequences of consumers’ narrative transportation. Journal of Consumer Research, 40, 797–817.
- Fischer, J. L. (1963). The sociopsychological analysis of folktale. Current Anthropology, 4(3), 235–295.
- Simmons, a. (2001). the story factor: Inspiration, influence, and persuasion through the art of storytelling. cambridge, ma: basic books.
- Mackey, M. (2011). Narrative pleasures in young adult novels, films and video games. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Gilliam, D. A., & Flaherty, K. E. (2015). Storytelling by the sales force and its effect on buyer-seller exchange. Industrial Marketing Management, 46, 132–142.
- Escalas, J. E. (1998). Advertising narratives: What are they and how do they work? In B.
- Stern (Ed.). Representing consumers: Voices, views and visions (pp. 267–289). New York: Routledge.
- Pulizzi, J. (2012). The rise of storytelling as the new marketing. Publishing Research Quarterly, 28(2), 116–123.
- Snowden, D. J. (1999). Storytelling: An old skill in a new context. Business Information Review, 16(1), 30–37.