When Customers Tell Stories, Other People Get Engaged and Buy


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Stories enable customers to extend their current product-centric reviews by encouraging the inclusion of background and context.
According to Sam Decker, Bazaarvoice’s CMO (www.bazaarvoice.com ), “Stories are interesting forms of brand-related UGC. Because they show how consumers have been involved with a brand on a deeper level.”
Bazaarvoice has recently launched a product that enables companies to capture their customers’ stories and to make them available to other customers. Some might say who cares? Well, the cosmetics firm Philospophy, for one. They promoted their customers’ stories via paid search and email earlier this year. Within a month, 40% of all traffic to their homepage came from the stories. But, there is more. People who came to their website because of the stories spent more per order and purchased more items per order than other visitors.
What’s in a story? Experiences articulated by one customer are highly relevant and meaningful to other people like them. People like to tell stories about positive emotional episodes because it elicits the same emotions once again. Other people are engaged and attracted to stories because the stories put the product in a context they find meaningful and this meaning leads to increased desire (an emotion) and demand (economic consequence).
Kudos to the folks at BazaarVoice. Their new product enables the age-old power of storytelling to leverage the networked effect of social media. I expect this type of social networking to take off. The experience of a customer lasts only because of its psychological or emotional impact. People enjoy telling stories because of the emotional impact. We enjoy stories because they reach us emotionally.
This is a great example of using well established psychological principles to enhance the customer experience with a win-win outcome. It illustrates how people involved in CEM can effectively take an inside (the customer) – out (business). My book Addicted Customers: How to Get Them Hooked on Your Company. is devoted to this kind of thinking.

John Todor
John I. Todor, Ph.D. is the Managing Partner of the MindShift Innovation, a firm that helps executives confront the volatility and complexity of the marketplace. We engage executives in a process that tackles two critical challenges: envisioning new possibilities for creating and delivering value to customers and, fostering employee engagement in the innovation and alignment of business practices to deliver on the new possibilities. Follow me on Twitter @johntodor


  1. Daryl Choy,

    Hard to disagree with your statements. However, an interesting thing about online stories about a product or company coming from customers, it is hard to tell which one will resonant with which customer. One-sized does not fit all and so it is nice to have multiple stories. People report scanning stories until they find one that they can relate to or relates to them.


    John I. Todor, Ph.D.

  2. Great article! I agree 100%. The idea sounds very simple. But is actually very difficult to implement. People are very sensitive and they accept only purely genuine things and will reward the source. Anything less people will reject.
    Balancing Life for Health & Happiness…


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