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Advertising: why it needs an emotional connection

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Imagine you buy 200 thrift-shop items on eBay for $129 and ask some creative writers to compose a story for each. You then re-advertise these trinkets on eBay, but this time each item comes with its own unique story.  

What do you think happens next?

In 2009, journalist Rob Walker and writer Joshua Glenn found out. In an experiment they called Significant Objects, they wanted to see if it were possible to objectively measure the effect of story on an object’s subjective value. 

In other words, will people pay more for something when it comes with its own story?

The result was incredible. The items were re-advertised on eBay and sold for a net profit of $8000, which is more than 57 times the original purchase price. 

Significant Objects proves that an item’s intrinsic value goes ballistic when paired with a story. 

The reason is simple: stories connect with people emotionally and positive emotions are what connect people to a product, service, or brand. 

Nathan Powell and Ben Gunn, co-founders of Fabulate, an Australian business that links content creators with advertisers, love to tell this story. 

They understand that to survive in today’s tough climate, advertisers must abandon old advertising models and embrace the power of storytelling. 

They believe people are more sceptical these days, and to get their message across, advertisers must add value to their content. They can do this unobtrusively with a technique known as brand journalism.  Powell refers to this as the “Softly, softly approach. It’s more about  informing than selling.”

Jenny Coppola, a content designer for video-software creator Wistia, agrees: “Old-school display ads that encourage people to ‘Hurry up and buy now before it’s too late!’  don’t make people feel the warm-and-fuzzies.”

While positive emotional connections are crucial, advertisers must also create value with content that is directly relevant, interesting, and informative. 

Fabulate understands that people crave this type of  content and it is why they actively encourage companies to use stories as a way to bond with their customers. Says Powell “People decide with their heart and justify with their head.” 

And story is the best way to a person’s heart.

Further Information
If you are interested in writing branded content then this session by Fabulate is an insight into successful pitching:

Author: Claire Bell
Claire Bell is the health and wellbeing editor of Midlifexpress. She is the author of Stone Age Secrets for Mind and Body and Comma Magic. Print and ebooks available on Amazon.