School of Business publications portal
This portal is no longer updated. Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2014
Thesis number: 13630
Storytelling in emotional branding - How to create a story that has a significant impact on consumers
Author: Autio, Heini
Title: Storytelling in emotional branding - How to create a story that has a significant impact on consumers
Year: 2014  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; psykologia; psychology; tunteet; emotions; tarina; narrative; brandit; brands; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour
Pages: 81
Key terms: emotional branding; storytelling; firm-originated brand story; consumer behavior; fast-moving consumer goods
Objective of the study:

The main objective of this study is to understand what kinds of brand stories have a significant impact on consumer behavior. An increasing amount of companies now express intentions to add storytelling into their marketing communications, but the current empirical findings on what kind of stories actually work well in branding are limited. Thus, the aim of this study is to analyze consumer responses to different types of firm-originated brand stories and to identify strategies and techniques that companies can exploit while introducing storytelling as a value adding marketing tool for their branding activities. The secondary objective of this study is to contribute to the current knowledge related to the effectiveness of storytelling across different product types. The empirical part of this study is conducted in a fast-moving consumer goods brand, which allows the analysis of the effectiveness of story-based communication in low-involvement product categories.

Research method:

This study exploits a mixed method approach. First, a brand story is created for the case company through in-depth interviews and extensive secondary research. Second, an experimental study is conducted to analyze consumer responses to the brand story. The experiment is conducted through an online system, by exposing participants to different kinds of experimental stimuli (ads) online. To analyze consumer responses to different kinds of stories, the respondents are divided into three experimental conditions: 1) a control group with benefit-based advertising, 2) a story group with a traditional brand story, 3) a story group with a compelling, conflict-involving story. The questionnaire includes closed questions, which are analyzed with one-way ANOVA, and open- ended questions, which are analyzed with qualitative methods.


The study suggests that a brand story can increase positive brand responses and ultimately make consumers more willing to purchase the brand's products in low-involvement categories. A statistically significant difference in consumer behavior was measured in the conflict-involving story group, which suggests that compellingly written stories may more likely impact consumers than traditionally written stories. A brand story can also decrease negative brand associations: consumers with story-based communication were more likely to associate the brand with high quality and long traditions and expressed more trust towards the brand. These positive brand perceptions were strongest in the conflict-involving story group.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.