The Power of Storytelling: The Key to Consumer Engagement


A recent story in The Guardian by Dom Robertson shares how Gatorade draws the consumer into a compelling narrative through it’s award-winning Replay campaign. As Dom shares:

Based on the proposition “Once an athlete, always an athlete”, is an extremely effective example of storytelling at its very best. Appealing to men over 30 who consumed sports energy drinks in their youth but who now don’t exercise regularly, Gatorade tracked down original members of two rival American football teams, which, 15 years ago, came to a devastating draw in their final senior year game.

The brand cleverly re-ignited the pre-match hype by inviting the teams to take part in a rigorous training schedule, eventually staging a re-match of the same game that included the original cheerleaders and coaches. Even before the match kicked off, the audience was gripped. Gatorade documented the teams’ training via social media as well as a TV documentary, helping them to become co-creators in a story of many layers. Even those wishing to attend the game were keen to involve themselves with the story; 15,000 tickets to the game sold out in just 90 minutes.

I encourage you to read Dom’s article for more information about the campaign and it’s success, which is a great example of a brand telling a compelling health story through consumer engagement and narrative. He also touches on key principles of storytelling that relate to telling a brand story:

  • Stories shape our lives: how we live them, why we live them and what it means to be human.
  • Narratives (like the Bible and Shakespeare) speak to the heart, teaching us how to relate to one another and guiding us into action.
  • Stories are easier on the ear than detached advertising taglines. Studies of human psychology have found that if we are told something through narrative, we are more likely to relate to the message, absorbing it further and remaining engaged from start to finish.
  • For a brand to appeal to consumers and replicate this empowering engagement, its content must tell a story, one that draws us in, broadens our horizons and delivers added value to our lives.

If you read My Story you will know that athletic success and failure is an emotional topic for me. Gatorade is an inspiring brand for me because I was very fortunate to serve on the Gatorade Education Advisory Board in the 90s and play a role in how they told their brand story through building credibility and relevance with health professionals who work with athletes. Kudos to Dom and Gatorade!

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