Are Your Clients Telling the Right Story in Their Ads?


Are today’s shoppers obsessed with storytelling? The results of several surveys over recent years indicate that younger consumers are very interested in brand authenticity. This interest seems to go hand in hand with their desire to hear a brand’s story. Here’s how you can help your clients succeed in the changing marketplace.

The practice of using celebrities to hawk products is well established. But fewer people are impressed by these tactics. A recent Wall Street Journal article refers to a recent CivicScience poll which reveals that only 11% of consumers are influenced to buy a product pitched by a celebrity. Some marketers seem to be getting the message about changing consumer attitudes. A spokesperson from Metaforce, a brand consulting firm, notes that the use of famous people to endorse products and services has “declined by at least 50% in the last five years.”

What customers want to hear about is the story of a business and the person who started it. Every business has a unique history. The entrepreneur may have struggled to get the company’s products on store shelves, because the bigger companies were being bullies. Another business starter may have faced setbacks because of a health crisis. Consumers respond even more positively when they hear about exactly how a business is using some of its profits to change the world for the better. According to one business owner discussed in the WSJ article, marketing should inform consumers about “the ‘why’ behind the company.”

If your clients are looking for a new marketing angle this year, advise them to drop the celebrity they’re using to pitch their new line of garden tools. Let’s face it, most famous folks aren’t out digging in the dirt. Encourage your client to think about the uniqueness of their business and product line.  Maybe the garden tools are ergonomically correct and helped the owners pull weeds without wrecking their backs. And while they’re at it, they should tout the importance of pulling weeds as opposed to spraying lawn chemicals which encourage those pesky plants to mutate and become poison-resistant.

That's the story they need to attract eyeballs and open wallets.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.