Infographic: 80% people want brands to tell stories

New research into the importance of brand storytelling has found that eight out of ten (79 per cent) UK adults want brands to tell stories as part of their marketing, but work needs to be done to make those tales more memorable.

The Brand Storytelling Report 2015, commissioned by content marketing agency Headstream, revealed that while the call for storytelling is strong, 85 per cent of the 2,000 adults surveyed couldn’t give an example of a memorable story told by a brand.

Older consumers are more likely to recall a brand story (30 per cent of over 55s, compared to just 9 per cent of those aged 18-24), but the stories they remember tend to be TV ads: the Oxo family and the Nescafé Gold Blend couple for example.

Most people want to see and hear stories about regular people (two-thirds think those would make the best stories) and/or brand customers (38 per cent want to hear those). Only 19 per cent want to hear about celebrities or employees and just 10 per cent want the story of the brand’s CEO or founder.

The report also found that consumers are extremely aware of sponsored content: seven out of ten consumers (71 per cent) consider it either important or vital that brand-created stories are clearly differentiated from editorial stories when they appear on an online news site (although older consumers are more indifferent).

However, more than half (53 per cent) would be perfectly happy to read or view a brand-sponsored story and 30 per cent will do so even though they prefer unsponsored stories. Only one in twelve (8 per cent) refuse to read sponsored stories.

Steve Sponder, managing director of Headstream, said: “Sponsored content through channels such as paid social and native advertising has been a massive growth area in recent years.

"These findings show that people want to know from the outset if their stories and content have been sponsored, but that won’t automatically put most of them off. Great content and engaging stories will attract and appeal to consumers irrespective of whether a brand is obviously behind them.”

As for what people are likely to do if they really love a brand story, 55 per cent are more likely to buy the product in the future, 44 per cent will share the story and 15 percent will buy the product immediately.