The Values of Storytelling: From Tactics to Transformative Action: An Abstract
Since at least the seminal articles by Gerrig (1994) and Stern (1994), consumer researchers have investigated the effects of storytelling in marketing. Despite the growing body of literature, many questions that surround the value that stories can create for consumers that wait to be answered. Expanding on the AMS 2016 special session “Unveiling the Magic of Storytelling in Marketing,” we set out to investigate with this session the multifaceted nature of values that can be created through storytelling in marketing.
With five papers that address different facets of storytelling effects and effectiveness in marketing, we also aim at broadening the perspective on value co-creation with stories: value is co-created, since the Eigenzeit (Huber & Germelmann 2016) created a story told by the narrator that blends time and space about recipients’ experiences and inferences. Furthermore, transportation and narrative thought are key factors on the recipients’ side that drive the success of stories.
The papers in the session show potential mechanisms and effects of storytelling in marketing and cover the range from its use as tactic to transformative approaches. The different views on storytelling and applications have been selected to complement each other as well as to spark discussion with the audience. The short presentations are intended to get an intense discussion started about the multifaceted role of storytelling in modern marketing. To this end, we will allot ample time for discussion in the session.
The first paper, “Do Ads that Tell a Story Always Perform Better? An Anthropomorphism-Based Response,” investigates boundary conditions for the positive effect of transportation in narrative advertising. It proposes the idea that when the character in a commercial is anthropomorphic, narrative transportation leads to even more identification and to an increase in attitude toward the brand. The second paper, “The Mediating Effect of Storying on the Relationship between Psychological Capital and Salesperson Performance,” suggests a model that explains how feelings of psychological ownership toward the firm can place the salesperson in a good frame of mind for producing an authentic story: sales managers can have a positive impact (moderation) on this process through (1) mentoring their salespeople and (2) empowering them. In the third paper, “Storytelling as a Tool to Increase the Influence of Marketing Within the Firm,” the authors discuss how storytelling may add authenticity to the data reporting process and help to build internal relationships, leading to positive outcomes for marketing within the firm. The fourth paper, “Marketing’s Point of View: Narrative Competition Within the Firm,” the author sheds light on how narrative (storytelling) significantly impacts which business function has preference and advantages in influencing the firm’s strategic perspective by imposing its functional narrative worldview on the firm as a whole. In the last contribution, the authors ask “Will Storytelling Be Able to Let the Old Dream of Marketing for a Better World Come True?” They open the discussion by suggesting that storytelling could provide excellent opportunities for realizing demanding social marketing tasks regarding the change of consciousness, values, attitudes, and behavior patterns.