Special Session: “The World Needs Storytellers”: New Research Avenues for Storytelling in Marketing: An Abstract
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In summer 2018, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for “storytellers” to address the problem that he said was top priority for him these days: “the intransigence, polarization, unwillingness to listen to diverse points of view, and tribalism-run-amuck that afflicts society” (Alan Murray, Fortune CEO Daily 2018-09-11). Given such great expectations of storytelling in transformative and public policy marketing, this special session tries to take a look at what the future holds for storytelling research in a marketing context. Expanding on the AMS special sessions “Unveiling the Magic of Storytelling in Marketing” (AMS 2016) and “The Values of Storytelling: From Tactics to Transformative Action” (AMS 2017), we set out to investigate and discuss potential future avenues for this research stream.
Chaired by Edward L. Nowlin and Claas Christian Germelmann, this session’s objective is to spark fruitful research discussions on the topic and hopefully to contribute to shaping the future of storytelling research in marketing.
The three papers in the session show potential mechanisms, measurements, and uses of storytelling in marketing. Various contexts are covered that range from consumers as recipients (and co-creators, Huber and Germelmann 2016) to B2B Applications and Sales. The look at mechanisms of storytelling is accompanied by a proposed scale measuring storytelling activities by salespersons. This duality highlights the contention that storytelling is a co-creative activity (Huber and Germelmann 2016), which links the session with the previous ones. The first paper by Sahar Karimi, “Storytelling: How Do We Process Consumer Stories?” investigates storytelling from an information processing perspective. It proposes the idea that that consumers process and value stories differently, depending on their individual characteristics and the story format. The second paper, “Measuring Salesperson Storytelling: Theoretical Construct Development and Empirical Validation,” by Edward L. Nowlin, Nawar N. Chaker, David M. Houghton, and Doug Walker, suggests a careful and rigorous scale development process and test the nomological net of salesperson storytelling. Beyond providing a comprehensive definition of salesperson storytelling, and developing and validating a scale this purpose, this paper shows that salesperson storytelling has an effect on job-related outcomes in the sales context. In the third paper, “Overcoming Barriers to the Acceptance and Commissioning of Projects as a Challenge to Storytelling in the B2B Sector,” Klaus-Peter Wiedmann considers whether the potential for storytelling can be used to persuade Buying Center (BC) members to accept project offerings related to the implementation of high-tech systems or sophisticated business consulting projects. This final paper opens the discussion and the search for new research opportunities and potential research cooperations.