In the experience marketing era, focus on consumer experience and the creation of an unforgettable experience for consumers have become the key to successful marketing. Story, as an ancient form of communication and thought management, is an important tool for preserving memories, sharing experience and communicating emotions. Nowadays story has become one of the most effective tools in marketing, and using story marketing to develop marketing strategy is progressively more important. However, the use of story marketing in creating and enhancing consumer experience and how story marketing can improve consumer experience have not received much attention and in-depth study in past research. Therefore, we explore these issues from a perspective of consumer experience. We propose a different perspective of story marketing serving as a psychological mechanism improving the experience of utilizing goods and services, through reviewing the existing literature that defines the constituent elements of narrative and the relationship between consumer experience and storytelling. Finally, we discuss how the contributions of our study apply to both theoretical and practical managerial implications and future research directions. The concept of story belongs to narrative research. In 1975, Mitroff and Kilmann first introduced story concept to the field of organizational management. As stories became more and more prevalent in organizations, they were packaged together with products and services and became brand marketing tools. In our present discourse on story marketing, it is necessary to have a definitive meaning of the concept of " story”. Although past scholars have proposed many definitions of the word story, they have not defined stories from the perspective of experience. We define story as not only a tool for storytellers but also the experience of partaking in the story itself as an audience. Story marketing refers to the experience that products, services or brands provide through storytelling making for a much more perceptually concrete experience. In summation, story is a multi-dimensional concept which can both refer to the content of the story itself and can also be used as a practical tool. What are the elements of story? Based on the story elements that Konig et al. （2016） presented, we consider that as a marketing tool, there are three main elements of story which are important for creating stories. These three elements are story plot, story character and story style. On the basis of mediating existing types of story with their marketing role in storytelling, we categorize stories according to their central role as proposed by Tena （2015）, making it more in line with story for consumer experience marketing. We propose three story types: （1） brand identity and behavior story, including the development course of brands, involving the origins and development of brand products, services and related aspects; （2） brand products or service information as well as interactive elements of experience concerning consumers such as brand spokespersons, users and the public; （3） brand archetypal story, which refers to that stories are not only used to convey knowledge and information on products, but also to spread the values of the parent enterprises. We believe that narrative transportation theory and archetype theory effectively describe how the psychological mechanism of story marketing works to enhance the consumer experience. In narrative transportation theory, the mental state of absorption elevates consumers’ sense of pleasure in the imagined reality. To maintain this focused mental state, consumers lower their cognitive resources for analytical thinking. And, the identification of characters in stories can serve to meet needs of self-identity and social belonging of the audiences. Furthermore, strong emotional responses to stories can satisfy an individual’s need for novel experiences and improve the subjective appraisal of past life experiences. In archetype theory, stories allow consumers to consciously or unconsciously experience the archetypes in stories. Archetypes in stories have deep evolutionary roots. And the archetypal experience can encourage individuals to consciously pursue happiness. From the perspective of consumer experience, we propose our strategy of story marketing. First, archetypes are utilized to find a suitable theme. Second, it is important to take advantage of the strength of the chosen medium to create a unique consumer experience. Thirdly, it is necessary to provide consumers with a platform for communication and telling their own stories. Now that we are in the experience economy era, story marketing has become a topic with great interest in the creation and enhancement of consumer experience as for practitioners and researchers. However, research is still at its initial stage, and many issues need to be further discussed. We believe that further study in story marketing can be done along the following three lines. Firstly, from the perspective of consumer experience, the connotation of story marketing should be further discussed. Secondly, we can further explore the psychological mechanism of story marketing to improve the consumer experience. Thirdly, the outcome variables of story marketing need to be further studied from the perspective of consumer experience.
A Literature Review of Story Marketing from a Perspective of Improving Consumer Experience
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 39, Issue 12, pp. 127 - 139 (2017) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.2017.12.009
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Cite this article
Li Aimei, Chen Chunxia, Sun Hailong, et al. A Literature Review of Story Marketing from a Perspective of Improving Consumer Experience[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2017, 39(12): 127–139.