Business News Daily receives compensation from some of the companies listed on this page. Advertising Disclosure
BND Hamburger Icon


BND Logo
Search Icon
Updated Jan 12, 2024

Your Customers Love a Good Story. Tell One

Tom Anziano headshot
Tom Anziano, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Writer

Table of Contents

Open row

Consumers want to know more than what a business is selling; they also want to know the story behind it. As buyers crave and demand more information, marketing teams are finding unique and captivating ways to give consumers what they want by humanizing businesses and products. Selling with a story is an increasingly popular marketing tactic that relies on a compelling narrative to create a personal connection with customers. Here’s how to use storytelling in your marketing strategy.

What is storytelling in sales and branding?

Storytelling is an essential part of the human experience that helps us understand the world and brings us together. To put it simply, people love stories. Leveraging storytelling for your brand, then, can be especially powerful.

When it comes to your brand, telling its story means crafting a convincing, authentic narrative that resonates with your target customer base. It’s a chance to communicate who you are and what you stand for in a memorable way. A good story will make your customers feel something by showing that you share their values, and hopefully, it will incite them to support your brand. 

Whether about your origin, the surprising way your product is made or how your customers’ lives have been impacted, storytelling will surely create a more lasting impression than traditional advertising. 

“Unlike promoting your business or wares by listing off facts, stats and advantages, it’s about leading with the unique and often untold backstory behind a product or company,” said Tania Garbe, an architect and designer who founded and previously directed Design With Benefits. “Telling an absorbing story creates a connection with your customers.” 

What are the benefits of telling a good story with your brand and products?

Turning your brand messaging into a cohesive narrative that engages audiences and drives purchases can seem like a daunting task.

Business consultant Melinda Emerson said the good news is that this form of marketing makes it more about who has the best story to tell and who can tell it best – and less about how much money you have to spend.

“It’s about attracting customers through inbound marketing with high-quality content – content that reflects the story your company is telling and the mission it’s on,” she said.

Here are some of the ways storytelling can benefit your business:

  • Stories can cut through the noise. People are drawn to compelling stories and are more likely to be moved by one than a traditional ad. Storytelling is a great way to differentiate your brand in the market.
  • Stories are more impactful. A 2022 study found that stories leave a significantly longer-lasting impact on audience beliefs than stand-alone facts.
  • Stories are more memorable. In Story-Based Selling: Create, Connect, and Close (Axon Publishing, 2014), Jeff Bloomfield cites a London Business School study that showed a 65 percent to 70 percent retention rate for stories, compared to 5 percent to 10 percent for facts alone.
  • Shared values lead to higher loyalty. Stories can show you share the same values as your target audience, which builds customer loyalty. According to a Yotpo study, 84 percent of shoppers are more likely to support a brand with shared values, and for Gen Z consumers, it’s over 90 percent.
  • Emotional connections increase sales. A great story can forge an emotional connection with your customer. An Iterable study found that 83 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from businesses when they feel emotionally connected. 
  • Stories get people talking. When a story resonates, people want to share it. Studies have shown that people trust word-of-mouth recommendations more than all other types of advertising.
  • Stories can help with recruitment. Effective storytelling doesn’t just drive consumers toward your company. It can also help you attract top talent who feel compelled to be a part of your mission.
  • Stories drive action. A convincing story makes your audience feel something, but more importantly, it compels them to do something. A brand storytelling report found that when a story hits home, 55 percent of consumers are likely to make a purchase and 44 percent will share the story.
Key TakeawayKey takeaway
When you tell a compelling story about your business, it increases customer engagement by creating emotional connections. Engaged customers who see their identity and values reflected in your story are more likely to remember your brand and support it long term.

What are tips for telling a good story about your business, brand and products?

Find what makes you unique.

The first step is taking a look at your company and finding a captivating story to tell. It might seem challenging compared to storytelling juggernauts like Apple and Nike, but your company is made up of people trying to help other people, and you’re sure to find something that strikes a chord. 

Emerson explained that all businesses, even those selling services rather than products, have a tale to tell.

“There is no such thing as a company without a story,” Emerson said.

She pointed to Istueta Roofing, a Florida-based company that posted a video of its workers removing a roof that had thousands of bats living underneath it. The video garnered millions of views and made the Florida business an overnight sensation.

“The company is now a household name in Miami,” Emerson said.

When looking for opportunities to tell your story, consider your business’s values and mission statement. These can serve as your guiding light as to what makes for a good story about your business or your team. 

When finding a brand story that makes you stand out, start by defining your unique selling proposition.

Communicate your values. 

Your story is more than just a way to inform consumers about your products and services. It’s an opportunity to show them what is at the heart of your company. 

You might find your core values in your current operations, or you might have to look at your vision statement and the impact you want to have in the future. But whether it’s employing ex-convicts today or working to reduce your carbon footprint in the future, you have to explain the why of your business.

A good story should communicate your company’s values in a memorable and moving way. The goal is to stand out by showing what you stand for. Ultimately, your customers should see their own values reflected in your brand’s story, inspiring them to take part by supporting you.

Show your impact.

Emerson believes some of the best stories are those that explain how the business has helped someone.

“It can be the most mundane thing, but if you solve someone else’s pain, that’s the story people want to hear,” Emerson said

Of course, consumers will be most engaged by stories about people with problems similar to their own. But showing that you are putting any good into the world makes people feel good about your brand. 

Your impact might be helping disabled veterans, or it could be renouncing animal testing or protecting old-growth forests. When you support a cause near and dear to your target customers, the story will resonate. 

Go into the details.

The key to effective communication in a cluttered media environment is clear and simple messaging. However, simple doesn’t mean one-dimensional. Your story should have a straightforward message, but to really make a mark, you want your audience to become immersed in the details.

Garbe thinks good stories are those that have multiple dimensions. On the Design With Benefits website, the least-interesting products have only one unique aspect, such as being made from recycled materials, she said. But by adding more layers – like that the product is made by local Mayan women who are simultaneously learning entrepreneurial skills, or that the designs are the brainchild of an ex-fashion editor who gave up everything to move to rural Mexico – the story becomes more captivating.

“Now, you have more chances for a customer to relate to, or be drawn in by something in the story,” Garbe said. “I think the untold story is the most interesting untapped aspect of e-commerce today.”

Center your customers.

While everyone loves a good story, we especially love those that involve us. To really make a connection, you should tell your tale in a way that centers the customer as one of the main characters.

Consumer-brand relationships tend to be humanlike, so it’s a good idea to focus on those relationships. If you’re not sure how to tell a story with your customers as the star, just go straight to the source. 

To determine what will make a compelling story that will sell, talk with your customers. The more you get to know your customers’ stories, the better you’ll be positioned to tell your own.

And don’t be afraid to let your customers do the storytelling themselves. Some of the most successful storytelling brands focus on their customers’ experiences. It’s a great way to show the real impact of your business.

Be authentic. 

The worst thing you could do is tell a dishonest, gimmicky story to try to win over customers. You want to find an effective way to influence consumers’ decisions, but manipulating the truth will hurt you in the long run.

Most consumers can tell the difference between a genuine story and a phony tale that comes off like a sales pitch. Both will move the consumer, but inauthentic stories will have people running from your business – and fast.

People respond to authenticity, so if you are honest and transparent about your brand, customers will have a more favorable view of your company.

Did You Know?Did you know
Over half of U.S. consumers don’t believe companies’ environmental claims. Consumers want sustainable products, but greenwashing your brand could actually drive people away.

Examples of businesses with strong storytelling


When it comes to a strong brand story that inspires customer loyalty, Apple usually comes to mind first. That’s because it’s been using storytelling successfully for years.

When Apple launched the “Think Different” campaign, it didn’t just tell the story of Apple computers, but instead placed Apple inside the timeless story of visionaries who changed the world. 

The reason it was such a resounding success, cementing Apple as a top brand and building strong customer loyalty, was that the story was ultimately about the people purchasing Apple products. “Think Different” lets consumers imagine themselves as innovators who might also change the world – and change it while using an Apple.


Patagonia has carved out a space as the sustainable alternative in the outdoor goods industry. It aims to make quality products while reducing their footprint and remaining environmentally friendly.

Patagonia’s success stems in part from its consistency. It’s had a sustainable business model for decades, long before it became a corporate buzzword. Its storytelling goes beyond the product, educating consumers on the environment, at-risk communities and what the company is doing to make a difference. 

Patagonia customers especially respond to the authenticity of Patagonia’s story. In fact, its “Worn Wear” campaign focuses on Patagonia gear that is passed down or repaired instead of being tossed. 

By showing people reusing their products instead of purchasing new, Patagonia reinforces the message that it is all about sustainability. Plus, it does a great job demonstrating that its gear is well made and durable. 


Soap, lotion and deodorant aren’t things that usually provoke strong emotions. But Dove found a way to break through the noise of the crowded and oftentimes dull personal care industry in a unique and compelling way.

An emotional origin story wouldn’t ring true for a brand under a large multinational corporation, so instead of talking about itself, Dove looked outwards. The “Real Beauty” campaign eschews models, featuring the stories and images of real women.

By focusing on body positivity instead of products, Dove positioned itself as a beauty brand that actually cares about its customers. And it worked.

Dove forged lasting emotional connections not by trying to convince customers who they should aspire to be, but rather by celebrating who they already are.

Even storytelling superstars like Dove sometimes drop the ball. Read about some spectacular cringe marketing fails that you’ll want to avoid repeating.

Win over customers with your story

There’s a reason you probably still remember the plot to your favorite childhood books and films, even if it’s been decades since you last came across them. Stories that speak to us move us in a way that leaves a lasting impression. 

There are many ways you can reach your customers to convince them to buy your product or service. But, when you tell a story about your brand that makes them feel something, you just might turn that one-time purchaser into a lifelong champion of your company.

Chad Brooks contributed to this article.

Tom Anziano headshot
Tom Anziano, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Writer
Thomas Anziano is an advertising and marketing professional who has worked in the U.S. and Germany. He has also taught Business Writing in English to university students in Madrid, Spain. He holds a degree in Marketing and Spanish.
Back to top
Desktop background imageMobile background image
In partnership with BDCBND presents the b. newsletter:

Building Better Businesses

Insights on business strategy and culture, right to your inbox.
Part of the network.