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2020 | Book

Brand Storytelling in the Digital Age

Theories, Practice and Application


About this book

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.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction: The Ancient Art of Storytelling and the Language of Marketing
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.
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Chapter 2. Brand Storytelling: A Review of the Interdisciplinary Literature
The power of digital technologies and social media has transformed the way brands talk to their customers. Contemporary marketing is less about the products we make and the services we offer, but more about the experiences brands create, giving customers numerous stories to tell. This chapter presents a critical review of the interdisciplinary theories of storytelling drawing on narrative philosophy, consumer psychology, research in branding and tourism. While covering the essential elements of a story, it also highlights the shift from predictable bowling to pinball wizardry due to the rapid advancement of digital technology and proliferation of social media in all aspects of our lives. The chapter also draws on the neuroscience’s perspective of how the brain responses to storytelling and reviews different approaches to brand research with associated brand storytelling.
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Chapter 3. Storytelling for Minds: Neuroscience’s Approaches to Branding
Drawing on the science of storytelling and its impact on our brains—explained by studies in the field of neuroscience and two types of thinking—fast and slow—this chapter explores how consumers think while making brand choices and explains three laws drawing on neurosciences approaches to branding. The chapter also explains how stories make biochemical changes in consumers’ brains and influence their psychology and behaviour; and how marketers harness storytelling to affect consumers and drive their emotions. Several examples and case studies underline these behaviours.
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Chapter 4. Storytelling for Hearts: Brand–Consumer Conversations in the Digital Age
Drawing on research associated with emotion, persuasion, and the constructivist brand paradigm, this chapter focuses on the practices of brand storytelling that fosters brand–consumer conversations in the digital age. While explaining different brand stories such as strategic and tactical, the chapter also covers the art of brand storytelling that inspires, influences, and engages consumers.
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Chapter 5. Character and Plot: Narrative Structure and the Art of Archetype Enactment
Characters and plots are at the heart of storytelling, bringing life to stories and stories to life. Plots and archetypes within the brand story help in transporting customers into the story world, binding them with emotional glue. Used appropriately, they affect customers’ sympathy and love for the protagonists. This chapter, drawing on interdisciplinary literature, introduces a conceptual model and explains the critical elements of story: narrative structure, characterisation, plots including seven basic plots and widely used Hero’s Journey framework. While the academic researchers can find pathways to further their research, the practitioners can leverage theoretical insights in creating and evaluating brand stories with an opportunity to transform the practices of brand storytelling and business narratives.
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Chapter 6. Conclusion: The Future of Storytelling
Brand storytelling is at the heart of brand strategy. In the era of hyper-connectedness, it is more about brand–consumer conversations where although marketers are in the driving seats, customers are controlling the navigation. This chapter invites the opportunity for new research by triggering interest in the future of brand storytelling shaped by AI, VI, AR and big data. Experts predict a creative renaissance: ancient art will meet modern technologies and transform the way brands and consumers converse. Although the future is an unknown, the potential success depends upon how brands become authentic and infuse emotion in an AI-driven world through creating superior stories that promote humanity and resonate with their customers.
S M A Moin
Brand Storytelling in the Digital Age
S M A Moin
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