Forget about FOMO: Why Storytelling is the better tactic for sales promotions

Sep 15, 2021

When it comes to sales promotions, FOMO will only get you so far. Relying on sales and discounts just won’t cut it anymore. After all, it’s hard for consumers to feel they’re missing out on something special when every other brand is offering the exact same thing. Plus, by definition FOMO can only last a limited time – drag it out too long, and customers will start to wonder if your ‘deal’ is really all that exclusive.

If you want to capture your audience’s imagination and long-term engagement, you need to build a relationship and earn their trust. What better way to do that than by using a tactic that’s been bringing people together since humans lived in caves?

Yep, we’re talking about storytelling. In marketing, it’s the art of communicating your brand and product by creatively weaving relevant ideas into a cohesive narrative. And there are so many reasons to try it.

If you want to capture your audience’s imagination and long-term engagement, you need to build a relationship and earn their trust.

1. Storytelling generates trust

Research shows the descriptive powers of stories influences both the sensory and motor cortex in the human brain. That means reading (or listening to, or watching) a story leads us to feel an experience and synchronize our minds with the subject of the story.

Scientists call this process ‘neural coupling’. As researchers at Princeton explain, “The listener’s brain activity mirrors the speaker’s activity.” This encourages greater comprehension, understanding, anticipation, and receptivity – which ultimately leads to greater trust.

2. Storytelling speaks to your audience

Story is how we identify ourselves, interact as social beings and make sense of our world. The human brain is hardwired to seek out stories, which makes it a powerful communication tool to engage your audience and inspire them to take action. Using what you know about your target audience to create that story makes it all the more compelling.

“Stories put your audience in the world you create,” says Adriana Stein, Founder of AS Marketing. “As they navigate that world, they’re not thinking about buying your product – they’re feeling the need to do so.” In other words: story creates emotion – and it’s our emotions that drive us to make decisions.

Want to know why emotion sells? Download our free e-book to find out more.

How TCL doubles their Walmart stock with creative rewards

In 2020, TCL partnered with RIX to give customers a free flight voucher with every TV purchased, rather than discounting their product. The promotion helped them maintain their price point and outperform the competition.

If that wasn’t enough, what happened as a result of the campaign concept surprised even TCL. The storytelling aspect of the promotion caught Walmart’s eye. Excited by the idea, before the campaign even started Walmart decided to double their stock of TCL TVs – thus giving the brand greater exposure and visibility. This resulted in higher sales figures, even after the promotion was over.  

3. Storytelling showcases your brand

People are more motivated by an organization’s transcendent purpose (how it improves lives) than by its transactional purpose (how it sells goods and services). That’s why, as a marketer, you spend time and energy developing your brand – including its purpose, mission, vision and founding story.

Whereas discounts do little to enrich your brand (if anything, they can undermine your ethos), using storytelling in your sales promotion is an effective way to communicate your brand’s transcendent purpose. More than a purely practical exercise to clear excess stock and meet targets, your promotion also becomes a valuable platform for strengthening brand awareness.

4. People talk about stories

In our everyday lives, personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations. It follows that creating stories around your brand encourages word-of-mouth marketing. Considering 64% of marketing executives agree word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing and consumers trust it above all others, there’s no doubt it’s a good strategy for sales promotions.

Online, word-of-mouth marketing translates into the ‘Google Effect’. “Most people scan web content, looking for something that stands out. If they don’t find it, they’ll leave… storytelling can connect the dots and get people to actually read your great content and take action,” explains Forbes’ top-10 marketer Neil Patel. Brands coveting a spot on Google’s first page should consider what’s more likely to generate buzz: discounts, or a story worth telling?

Creative rewards are the ideal tool for storytelling

Creative rewards allow you to generate trust, speak to your audience, showcase your brand and encourage word-of-mouth marketing by weaving together an emotional narrative around your product. Completely customisable for your sales goals, audience and brand, there are endless possibilities for the reward you offer and the way you engage customers around it.

Not only that does this make you stand out to consumers, it also differentiates you from the competition when it comes to retailers. RIX research shows offering an exciting promotion with a great story results in retailers awarding your promotion greater shelf space and better visibility at no additional cost. Of course, this finally results in higher sales.


At RIX, we help you put your customer at the center of your sales promotions with creative reward solutions that focus on people instead of products. Want to know how we can help you increase market share, revenue and brand engagement? Get in touch.

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