The ROI of Storytelling


By Rosie Thompson

We all know the saying “content is king”, but can content and storytelling actually help your company get sales? Absolutely. Let us start by telling you a story about a Missouri Shotglass.

Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn created, a cheeky study to show the value of storytelling. They purchased random cheap knick-knacks from eBay auctions (averaging $1.50 per item) and got writers to create heartfelt stories about each item and resold them. Altogether, the $128.74 investment yielded $3,612.51 when re-sold with the stories. By adding an intriguing story, a Missouri Shotglass in which they for $1 was sold for $76 with the cute back story – that’s a 76x ROI.


Having a strong storytelling strategy may not always generate quick conversions for businesses like the Missouri shotglass, but it can illustrate why a consumer should invest in your product instead of a competitors – which is the game we’re all playing here.

A great approach to this strategy is to let your fans do the talking. Mega giant Coca-Cola is a great example of this, telling its story through the #shareacoke campaign where they printed names on Coca-Cola bottles and asked customers to share the story on social media. According to the American Marketing Association, the campaign drove a 28% lift in customers in 2014, compared to the same time frame in 2013.

Coca-Cola didn’t need a superstar or expensive marketing team to tell their story, its customers were more than happy to do that for them.


When developing your brand’s story, it is important to remember that putting your brand front and center isn’t the main purpose, and isn’t always best. Nike is a fantastic example of this. Instead of having famous athletes, like Kobe, simply model the newest kicks, the players star in a short film about embracing his role as a villain. The ad has been seen more than 6.6 million times onYouTube and more than 11 million times from Nike’s Facebook pages.

Nike also used their social platforms to endorse athletes in the spotlight; the story isn’t always about Nike, but the amazing people who wear the products.

Storytelling, whether it’s generating your own brand story or encourages others to do it for you, is a powerful awareness and engagement tactic that can deliver you great ROI. Today’s customers are very savvy can see right through a self-serving advertisement; however, through telling an entertaining story, you can recommend your brand to customers and turn fans into influencers.

If you’re interested in finding out how storytelling can lead to sales for your business, get in touch with Rosie at

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