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Storytelling as a means to increase consumers’ processing of financial information

Jeanette Carlsson Hauff (Department of Marketing, Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Anders Carlander (Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Amelie Gamble (Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Tommy Gärling (Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Martin Holmen (Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)

International Journal of Bank Marketing

ISSN: 0265-2323

Article publication date: 26 August 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether a narrative compared to a traditional fact-related format of financial information elicits more involved processing of such information by consumers and therefore more informed choices of retirement savings.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 394 undergraduates were recruited to three experiments. In Experiments 1 and 2 participants presented with information about a mutual fund were randomly assigned to one of four conditions (narrative format vs fact-related format crossed with optimistic vs pessimistic financial forecast). In both experiments dependent variables were positive affect, emotive response and purchase intention, and in Experiment 2 also scepticism about the information. Involvement and financial knowledge were furthermore measured in Experiment 2. In Experiment 3 information was presented about a savings account. Participants were randomly assigned to either a condition with a narrative or a fact-related information format. The dependent variables were the same as in Experiment 2.

Findings

The research finds support for that information about a financial message in a narrative format results in stronger positive affect, emotive response and purchase intention. No effect of scepticism toward the message is observed. Involvement and financial knowledge tend to interact with format. Mediation analyses support that positive affect induced by the narrative format impacts on emotive response which jointly with positive affect impacts on purchase intention.

Practical implications

The research suggests that a narrative message format may be used in marketing financial products to increase passive consumerś involvement.

Originality/value

The first demonstration of that a narrative format has an effect on processing of financial information.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by Grant No. 2011-03872 from the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems (Vinnova), co-sponsored by Skandia Insurance Company Ltd, to the Centre for Finance, School of Business, Economics, and Law, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden.

Citation

Carlsson Hauff, J., Carlander, A., Gamble, A., Gärling, T. and Holmen, M. (2014), "Storytelling as a means to increase consumers’ processing of financial information", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 494-514. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBM-08-2013-0089

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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