Brands and Stories in Ads: The Relationship Between Storytelling and Brand Distinctiveness

Brands and Stories in Ads: The Relationship Between Storytelling and Brand Distinctiveness

Sara Santos (University of Aveiro, Portugal) and Pedro Espírito Santo (Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6605-3.ch007
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Storytelling in advertising allows consumers to recall the narrative, characters, and brands related to the story. This consolidates the consumer's idea of a brand as unique and distinct from others and can also be the basis for brand distinctiveness. As such, the present chapter will firstly take into consideration the existing theoretical framework related to the use of storytelling in the creation of narrative ads, and then it will present the creation, unfolding and results of an investigation involving 326 individuals. The data collected from this study demonstrates that the structure of the narrative of a storytelling ad positively influences the distinctiveness of the brand. Moreover, this study shows the mediating role between narrative structure and the perception of brand distinctiveness. This chapter enhances knowledge on advertising, narrative, and brand distinctiveness and supports new researches in this field.
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Background: Advertising

Advertising has been used for decades as an effective communication tool. This is the result of the evolution of a traditional broadcast system for a multi-platform communication system (Knoll, 2016). In this system, creativity assumes the main role. Some authors (Ogilvy, 1995; El-Murad & West, 2004; Sasser & Koslow, 2008) recognized creativity as the most important concept in the development of effective advertising. Creativity is defined as something different, divergent and with novelty (Smith & Yang, 2004), as well as something which is relevant to the audience (Ang, Lee, & Leong, 2007; Smith et al., 2008). Creative ads capture the attention of the audience and deliver the message more effectively (Gibson, 1996). The creativity associated with novelty, meaningfulness, and connectedness increases the brand’s likability, as well as the recall (Ang et al. 2014), the awareness and the favourable attitudes toward the ad and brand (Yang & Smith, 2009). These authors also argue that creative ads reduced individuals' resistance to persuasion and generated positive attitudes when it came to the brand and their purchase intentions.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Engagement: The level of commitment and connection on the part of an individual when it comes to an active relationship with the brand.

Brand Distinctiveness: Set of qualities and characteristics that make the brand unique and distinct in the eyes of the consumer, allowing it to distinguish itself from its competitors.

Causality of the Narrative: A term which refers to the relationship, interaction and integration of the elements included in a narrative.

Chronology of the Narrative: A term which represents the way narrative events occur over time.

Narrative Structure: The presentation of elements (e.g., characters or artistic level) in a narrative through a chronology and causality.

Narrative Transportation: The process of emotional and cognitive immersion in a narrative, in which the individual loses track of the real world as the mental simulation triggered by the events of the story unfolds.

Brand Experience: Defined as the client's sensations, feelings, cognitions and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli.

Storytelling: A technique widely used in marketing and advertising, and which could be defined as the ability to transmit content and tell stories in a relevant way, capturing the user's attention effectively and persuasively.

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