When consumers and brands talk: Storytelling theory and research in psychology and marketing



Storytelling is pervasive through life. Much information is stored, indexed, and retrieved in the form of stories. Although lectures tend to put people to sleep, stories move them to action. People relate to each other in terms of stories—and products and brands often play both central and peripheral roles in their stories. To aid storytelling research in consumer psychology, this article develops a narrative theory that describes how consumers use brands as props or anthropomorphic actors in stories they report about themselves and others. Such drama enactments enable these storytellers to experience powerful myths that reflect psychological archetypes. The article includes findings from case study research that probes propositions of the theory. Implications for consumer psychology and marketing practice follow the discussion of the findings. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.