The Power of Storytelling

Photo by Tim Rebkavets on Unsplash

Twenty years ago, I read Every Leader Tells a Story by Elizabeth Weil and was impressed by the power of storytelling. This article vindicated me because my staff at the time gave me a hard time about how many stories I told. More recently, storytelling has been a hot topic and the power of stories has been the subject of many articles. One article, in particular, reported a test of the power of storytelling.  In How To Sell A $1 Snow Globe For $59: The Real ROI Of Brand Storytelling, Duke Greenhill relates a story about how a website that sold inexpensive items was able to sell the same item for much more by having a fictional story about the item written.  Duke writes:

The founders of the website, a site devoted to quantifying the bottom-line power of story at a product level, say, “Stories are such a powerful driver…that their effect on any given [product’s] subjective value can be measured objectively.” The website is home to an experiment that goes like this: the founders buy thrift store, garage sale, and flea market products, always cheap, no more than a couple dollars at most. Then, they hire a writer to compose a fictional story about the product, imbuing it with heritage, history, and ostensibly, value. The once-valueless products, accompanied by their new stories, are then sold auction-style on eBay. The difference between the original purchase price and story price is recorded as the objective value of that story.

The takeaway results for the first 100 products bought, storied, and then resold on eBay are poignant and telling. On average, the original product price was $1.29. But the average resale price after a story was added grew to a staggering $36.12. All in all, the experiment shows that even at a micro level, story can increase product value by a whopping 2,706 percent (or more, in the case of this snow globe).

Good stories are incredibly powerful.

Read the full story at How To Sell A $1 Snow Globe For $59: The Real ROI Of Brand Storytelling | Fast Company.


  • Nathan S. Gibson

    Nathan S. Gibson is an independent worker compliance business partner who provides expertise and creative solutions to enhance workforce flexibility and maintain compliance. He helps mitigate the risks associated with the misclassification of self-employed consultants, freelancers and independent contractors.

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