Brand Storytelling in the Digital Age
eBook - ePub

Brand Storytelling in the Digital Age

Theories, Practice and Application

S M A Moin

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eBook - ePub

Brand Storytelling in the Digital Age

Theories, Practice and Application

S M A Moin

Dettagli del libro
Anteprima del libro
Indice dei contenuti

Informazioni sul libro

Inextricably linked to human evolution, storytelling has always been a key element of the marketer's toolkit. However, despite extensive practitioner interest, academic research on the topic currently falls short. This book highlights how storytelling has evolved from an ancient art to contemporary marketing science, placing it in the context of digitisation and social media. It reflects the dramatic shift in brand storytelling in which marketers are in the driving seat, leaving consumers to do the navigating.

Based within the context of AI, the influence of VR, AR, big data, and new media, this book predicts a creative renaissance in brand storytelling; one that will be at the intersection of science, art and humanity. The author suggests that there will be a shift from ad to art through the use of cognition and emotion, data and fiction. It suggests that through storytelling, brands will be able to connect with their customers' hearts and minds.

Drawing upon interdisciplinary research on neuroscience, emotional attachment and narrative theory, the book critically analyses existing theories, practices and applications of storytelling, providing a platform for debate between academics, researchers and practitioners.

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© The Author(s) 2020
S. M. A. MoinBrand Storytelling in the Digital Age
Begin Abstract

1. Introduction: The Ancient Art of Storytelling and the Language of Marketing

S M A Moin1
Coventry University London, London, UK
S M A Moin


Storytelling inextricably links to our human evolution, providing us with the means to survive against the odds. For its astonishing power to communicate and connect wrapped with emotion, storytelling has evolved from ancient art to contemporary marketing science. This chapter sets the context by highlighting the power of storytelling as a language of marketing and brand communication, touching and influencing all aspects of our lives. As natural storytellers, human beings behave like storytelling animals. It has ingrained in our psyche, with researchers arguing that it is not something that we as human beings do but something that defines us. The opening chapter provides a roadmap to navigate through the rest of the chapters, inviting you to join the debate on the role of brand storytelling in the digital age.
Ancient art, positivistic-brand paradigmInterpretive-brand paradigmBrand-centric mindsetCustomer-centric mindsetBrand storytelling myths, mystery and maxim
End Abstract
Storytelling is an ancient art that played a crucial role in our evolution as a social animal who can neither stop talking nor stop bonding. Today, through a series of transformation, it has become a language that dominates marketing and brand communications in the contemporary world. Not just in the modern-day, it has dominated the marketing of all ages. Nevertheless, in the contemporary world, the power of connectivity (Krevolin 2016) coming from the advancement in the digital and mobile technology coupled with the proliferation of social media in all aspects of our lives has revolutionised the way brands tell stories (Henning-Thurau et al. 2013). Storytelling is not just a crucial part of marketing; it is an essential part of our lives (Van Laer et al. 2014). It has embedded in our DNA (McKee and Gerace 2018).
Since time immemorial, storytelling has been an intricate part of our lives. Human beings are known as “homo narrans” (Lund et al. 2018), meaning “storytelling human” or natural storytellers (Niles 1999). It helped the human race to survive in the test of time. At night, ancient people used to gather around the fire to share their adventure of hunting and the tactics they employed for their survival from the wild attacks through the art of storytelling. Storytelling has connected human beings, fostering cooperation through sharing their feelings and emotions—leading to the formation of tribes, communities, nations, and a global village. Storytelling has not only sharpened their skills for their survival but also helped them evolve from “Homo sapiens” (Harari 2014) to Homo Deus (Harari 2016) who mastered the power over other species. Irrespective of their colour, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and different backgrounds, people exposed themselves to stories (Van Laer et al. 2014) since childhood, living with them until the last day of their lives; and when they die what remains is nothing but stories.
… parents tell their children bedtime stories about dragons and castles, teachers tell their students stories about history and society, musicians sing their fans stories about budding and fading romances, organisations tell their stakeholders stories about their past performances and future goals, and novelists tell their readers stories about possible lives in possible worlds. (Sanders and Krieken 2018, p. 1)

Ancient Art in the Contemporary World

Storytelling has become part of our social fabric, travelling through the ages—from the age of cave art to the age of computer screen (Nanton and Dicks 2013)—as a powerful means of communication and bonding. Multiple research across disciplines support that stories have the power to attract attention as well as engage with people both intellectually and emotionally (McKee and Gerace 2018; Wachtman and Johnson 2009). For its astonishing power of connecting with the consumers (Garmston 2019; Chiu et al. 2012), storytelling has evolved from ancient art to contemporary marketing science. To connect with the consumers and to influence the prospects, brand marketers and advertising professionals use storytelling as an effective tool (Rose 2011) to break the clutter and noise and get attention through attaching meaning to brands. Thus, storytelling is so prevalent in the digital age when people are bombarded with loads of messages, and noise is the norm. Brand stories save the brands in the hearts of their customers who find meaning through brand experience, brand engagement and brand consumption.

Evolution of Branding

Before discussing brand storytelling in detail, it is logical to give a brief account of the evolution of branding to have an understanding of its relevance in brand communication. The concept of branding has changed significantly with time. During their evolution in all aspects of our lives, brands have embraced different forms of storytelling. Gabay (2015) finds that one of the very earlier notion of brand originates from the pursuit of power and pleasure by the symbol of an eagle used by Julius Caesar. After that, the concept of brand has gone through several stages (Gabay 2015):
  • Ownership
  • Identification
  • Features
  • Benefits
  • Experience
  • Identity
  • Inclusion
The concept of ownership was popular in the 1800s. At that time, the brands were proofs of ownership of goods: to whom they belong and who made them. After the invention of railways, as the long-distance distribution of goods started in the 1890s, brands became symbols of identifying the manufacturers. In the 1900s, brands started to signify the functional attributes of the products by focusing on the most distinct and differentiating features. In the 1930s, the focus of branding shifted from tangible features to intangible benefits.
In the 1960s, the focus of brand included experience, which eventually extended to service branding. In the 2000s, brands focused on identity. People started to find meaning in brands to express themselves to others. As stories attach meaning to brands, throughout the process of evolution, brands told different stories to create desired meaning. Table 1.1 briefly shows how the concept and focus of branding has shifted over time.
Table 1.1
How the concept and focus of branding has shifted over time
Concept of brand
Ownership and identification
To whom brands belong to
Identifying the manufacturers of the products
What it has: product specification or functional attributes of the products (brand stands as a guarantor of quality)
What it does: mostly include the emotional and intangible benefits of the products (brand stands as a guarantor of quality)
How it feels: the feeling of customer for owning the brands
Who you are: how the use of brand shapes consumer’s identity
Brand inclusion
What people share
Source Adapted from Gabay (2015, pp. 15–16)
The old school of branding was more interested in using the concept of the brand as a means to identify and differentiate the products of one manufacturer from the others by using the name, term, sign, symbol, and design. However, the contemporary thinking of branding treats brand as a multidimensional construct, which calls for a comprehensive understanding and requires multidimensional thinking and multidisciplinary perspectives including economics, strategic management, organisational behaviour, consumer research, psychology, and anthropology (Heding et al. 2009). Drawing upon from a multidisciplinary approach, they have identified two brand management paradigms: positivistic and constructivist.

Positivistic Brand Management Paradigm

The positivistic brand paradigm promotes the idea that marketers (active end) own the brands and control the brand communication, whereas consumers simply receive the communication (passive end). In this paradigm, brand equity is created by ...

Indice dei contenuti

  1. Cover
  2. Front Matter
  3. 1. Introduction: The Ancient Art of Storytelling and the Language of Marketing
  4. 2. Brand Storytelling: A Review of the Interdisciplinary Literature
  5. 3. Storytelling for Minds: Neuroscience’s Approaches to Branding
  6. 4. Storytelling for Hearts: Brand–Consumer Conversations in the Digital Age
  7. 5. Character and Plot: Narrative Structure and the Art of Archetype Enactment
  8. 6. Conclusion: The Future of Storytelling
  9. Back Matter