Empowered storytelling: An examination of empowerment in storytelling and its impact on millennials

Tyrha M. Lindsey-Warren, Clinical Assistant Professor of Marketing, Baylor University and Christine Ringler, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Culverhouse School of Business

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Abstract: Storytelling is a powerful way to help people connect and make sense of the world. As brands continue to search for ways to make an emotional connection with millennials, being able to articulate a story that encourages millennial consumers to be better, as well as live to their fullest potential, is paramount to building sustainable connections that invite brand loyalty. This paper examines narrative transportation theory — the process by which consumers become absorbed or lost in a story. Specifically, the research explores storytelling in advertisements that exude the emotion of empowerment and its impact on millennials. Using qualitative design and inquiry, the work uncovers insights as to why narrative transportation works and why it is has such an emotional impact.


Keywords: empowerment; storytelling; millennials; advertising; branding; narrative transportation; consumer behaviour; emotional connection


Tyrha M. Lindsey-Warren is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Marketing at Baylor University, and has over 15 years of experience working in marketing and communications in corporate America, Hollywood and nonprofit arenas for such firms as Quincy Jones-David Salzman Entertainment, NBC, Creative Artists Agency, LAI Communications and UniWorld Group. Dr Lindsey-Warren speaks nationally on the topics of crosscultural marketing, digital marketing, effective communications and empowered leadership. Her research streams are rooted in narrative transportation theory, media and advertising, health edutainment, the emotion of empowerment, millennials and movies.


Christine Ringler is an assistant professor of marketing at the Culverhouse School of Business at the University of Alabama, where her research focuses on sensory marketing and frontline employee-customer interactions. Her work has been published in such journals as the Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Retailing, Appetite and the Journal of Consumer Psychology. In addition to her teaching and research duties, Dr Ringler is Coordinator of the Culverhouse Behavior Lab. Dr Ringler has a BS in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MBA from Syracuse University and a PhD from Arizona State University.


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