Every successful brand has a pioneering spirit making it feel proud of itself. Recently, companies like to tell people the origins of their own brands and the characteristics of their products through stories that are easy to read and touch customers. By telling brand stories of the company’s origin biography, life experience, and stories generated over time, it can have a positive response to consumers [1
]. Loebbert [2
] points out that the purpose of the story told is to deliberately affect the audience and to touch the hearts of the audience through applying certain emotions and feelings. The story creates specific emotions and atmospheres to trigger or shape the audience’s thoughts and beliefs. Because people generally integrate themselves into stories to explain the meaning of their experiences. Even people project their own experiencing feelings, such as desire or jealousy, into the brand story, which elicit their differential brand preferences [3
] found that storytelling advertisements help to integrate audiences into advertisements and arouse highly positive emotions among audiences. A brand is just a sign without any vitality if there is no story to tell consumers. The structure of the brand story can be constructed to shape the consumer’s brand image [5
]. Stories are just like the soul of a brand. If such the abstract feeling of beauty is not expressed through the story, consumers will never really know the spirit of the brand.
In a mature market with oversupply and fierce competition, consumers will not notice the difference between toothpaste, toilet paper, detergent or soda of various brands, so that products with consumers’ perceived emotions like resonant stories are more effective than price reductions [6
]. Through the call of the soul story, people can resonate strongly from the heart, further attract consumers to accept the brand and achieve sales purposes. Good stories can not only attract customers but also affect their internal memories and generate their compassion [7
]. A brand story is getting customers involved in the brand story, making the connection between them with products and brands through storytelling, so that customers can participate in it and identify with products and brands [8
In the study of Escalas and Stern’s narrative advertising [7
], it explains that empathy includes the two concepts: cognitive emotion and emotional transfer, and the study also clarifies the differences between them, emphasizing that empathy contains the process of cognition and emotion. Therefore, the meaning of the brand story is created by brand marketers and consumers. Brand stories are also a tool for shaping the image of a product. Consumers judge the meaning of a product through the story behind the brand. Passing a brand message to consumers through stories can touch consumers’ hearts more [5
]. The storytelling is the easiest way to connect brands with consumers, to establish long-term relationships between brands and consumers, and to complete the purpose of brand building. And it is also the most effective strategy for brand building.
Despite the fact the use of brand stories for marketing purposes has seen advances recently, most of the evidence is still limited to exploring the types of brand stories (such as founder experiences, business success stories, etc.); or the characteristics and elements (such as authenticity, conciseness, reversal, and humor); or the techniques of story transfer (or narrative structure) [9
]. Research on how brand stories are linked to consumer memory has found that when stories are well connected with technology, it will affect consumer recognition of the brand [11
]. Besides, the characteristics of the brand story will also affect consumers’ willingness to buy [9
]. Believed by Romaniuk and Sharp [12
], when the brand attributes are connected with a positive image, customers will have a higher willingness to buy their products and the willingness to buy has a positive effect.
But the high cost of business for audiovisual advertising, therefore, whether obtained from each investment spending accordingly return performance is important. A study comparing three audiovisual situations (1-min long ad, 15-min long infomercial, and 30-min long infomercial), pointed out the 15 min of information time was the most effective for attitude and direct response measures. From the perspective of persuasiveness and behavioral response, compared to the popular 30-min long infomercial advertising format, a 15-min commercial advertising format is the optimal choice possible and worthy of further study [13
Looking at various sports brands, some sports brands will use brand story marketing strategies to carry out their brand advertising marketing. The purpose of this study is to use college students as research objects, through the intervention of different advertisement stories of different video duration, and use a quasi-experimental design to explore whether the resonance of sports brand advertisement stories be watched by college students has an impact on the brand image, brand identity and purchase intention, as well as the extent and difference of influence.
3.1. Experimental Research Design
The participants in this study are 187 first-year college freshmen in Taiwan that are randomly divided into three groups by experimental design, namely, Experimental Group 1, Experimental Group 2, and Control Group 3. At least 30 people in each group will be retained at the end. The criteria of the final selection for each group of research subjects includes that (1) the name and logo of the sports brand must be heard and recognized, (2) any product of the sports brand has been purchased, and (3) the content of the advertisement stories has not been seen. The execution steps of the experiment are as follows:
[Experimental Group 1] R O11 (every two weeks) X1 O12
[Experimental Group 2] R O21 (every two weeks) X2 O22
[Control Group 3] R O31 (every two weeks) X3 O32
In the first week, each group first filled out the scales of Brand Image, Brand Identity, and Purchase Intention. Then they obtained the pretested data of O11, O21, and O31 as the pre-test baseline. In the second week, an intervention experiment was performed, that is, X1, X2, and X3 groups were used to watch sports brand advertisement stories of different video duration.
X1: Watch the NIKE sports brand story advertisement “2016 The Switch: Soul Swap” with an advertisement duration of 5 min and 59 s;
X2: Watch NIKE sports brands Story ad “2016 Unlimited You” with an advertisement duration of 2 min and 27 s long.
X3: Watch the general sales advertisement “2017 Impossible Stairs” of NIKE sports brand with an advertisement duration of 1 min.
Each group used the computers in the school computer classroom and researchers simultaneously conducted video playback, scale testing and recovery. The post-test results are collected immediately after filling in the scale. The post-test data includes the “Brand Resonance Scale”, and the second response of the “Brand Image”, “Brand Identity” and “Purchase Intention” scales; that is, the data of O12, O22, and O32 is used as a post-test result.
3.2. Variable Operational Definition and Measurement
3.2.1. Brand Image
Brand image can be defined as a consumer’s subjective view of a product developed by Park et al. [24
], which consists of 14 items in three dimensions, namely Functional (seven questions), Symbolic (four questions and Experiential (three questions) (refer to Appendix A
). All items are measured on a 5-point Likert scale, which ranged from “strongly disagree = 1” to “strongly agree = 5”.
3.2.2. Image Identity
In the study, Brand Identity is defined as the perception that the brand conveys ideas that are consistent with its own personality, and that it can show personal styles. The measurement of brand identity has six items based on a scale revised from Dholakia et al. [38
]. The 5-point Likert scale is adopted and ranged from “strongly disagree = 1” to “strongly agree = 5”. The content of the item is: A. I think the brand meets my personality; B. I take pride in being a user of the brand; C. I have a high degree of love for the brand; D. I agree with the spirit of the brand; E. I think that owning the brand is of special significance; F. I think the idea conveyed by the brand is consistent with my beliefs.
3.2.3. Purchase Intention
The definition of purchase intention in this study is that consumers consider the possibility of purchasing a specific product, and the higher the purchase intention, the more likely they are to purchase the product. The purchase intention adopts four items that is used in the Stafford et al. [39
] study, with a 5-point Likert scale, from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree. The higher the score means the higher the degree of willingness to buy. The items include: (A) I will be willing to try the products of the brand; (B) If I see the brand in the store, I will be willing to buy the products of the brand; (C) When I am in the store, I will look for the products of the brand; (D) I will keep buying and using this product.
3.3. Data Analysis
First, the Cronbach’s alpha and exploratory factor analysis (EFA) are used to explain the internal consistency reliability and validity of the variables. Second, descriptive statistical analysis is used to explain the distribution of each variable. Third, the paired sample t-test is used to compare the pre-test and post-test differences between each group in each variable. Fourth, a single-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) is indicated the difference in increment of chang (Δ delta) of variable between groups. Finally, Pearson correlation coefficient (r value) used to analyze the correlation between variables. The above analysis is performed by SPSS statistical software.
This study is divided into three group. In Experiment Group 1: the pre-test sample is 63, and the post-test sample is 51. The samples with incomplete filling out are 4. The remaining valid samples after the experiment are 47. In Experiment Group 2, the samples got in pre-test are 62 and the ones got in post-test are 54. The samples with incomplete filling out are 10, and there are 44 valid samples left. In Control Group 3, the pre-test sample is 62, and the ones got in post-test is 43. After deducting 5 incomplete samples, there are 38 valid samples remained.
4.1. Psychometric Properties of the Measures
In this study, Cronbach’s α and factor analysis were used to test the variables internal consistency reliability and validity with 129 valid samples. As Table 1
demonstrates, factor analysis was performed first to check that the KMO (Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin) value of each variable was above 0.8, and the Bartlett spherical test results were also significant (p
< 0.001), showing that each variable was suitable for factor analysis. The further analysis found that the communality of each variable was greater than 0.5 (ranging from 0.501 to 0.883), and each factor loading under each variable was more than 0.5. The magnitudes of the loadings provide evidence of convergent validity. The cumulative variation explained of each variable, except for the brand image, which was slightly lower than 70% and only 69.007%, the validity was acceptable. The total variation explained of the remaining variables were more than 78% higher, indicating that the validity of each variable was high. Reliability analysis was performed to find that the Cronbach’s α value for brand image, brand identity and purchase intention were, respectively, 0.894, 0.943, and 0.904, showing that the reliability of each variable was high.
4.2. Difference Analysis
In order to confirm the changes in the four variables of functional, symbolic, empirical, and brand identity after the intervention experiment, a paired sample t
-test was used to test the difference in the scores of pre- and post- test of each group. The analysis results found (see Table 2
for details) are as follows:
Experiment Group 1: Compared with the pre-test and post-test, this advertising video duration with 5′59″ watched by students was the longest. For the four variables, functional, symbolic, empirical, and brand identity, the mean scores of post-tests are higher than the mean scores of pre-tests. The paired sample t-test results, all p-value are < 0.05 (between 0.000 and 0.010). There is a highly significant difference before and after the experiment.
Experiment Group 2: Compare the mean scores difference between the pre-test and post-test, the students of this group watched the advertising video duration with 2′27″. The mean score of each variable post-test was also higher than pre-test. The t-test result shows that the p-value was between 0.000 and 0.138. Only the three sub-variables, functional, symbolic, and empirical, of the brand image showed a highly significant difference pre- and post- test. Comparing the mean scores of this group pre- and post- test, there was no statistically significant difference in brand identity.
Control Group 3: The students of this group watched the common advertising video duration with 1 min. Although the mean score of each variable post-test was still higher than pre-test, the difference in mean scores becomes smaller. The results after using the t-test showed the empirical variable p-value was 0.000, which showed a significant difference between pre- and post- test. But in the other variables, the p-values were 0.279 to 0.347 and the differences were not significant.
In order to examine the impact of different experimental interventions, a single-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed. The analysis of ANOVA in the three groups of experiments found that the Δmean score of three groups for experiments only showed significant differences in the brand image’s functional (F = 6.233, p
= 0.003) and symbolic variables (F = 19.077, p
= 0.000), and it showed no significant differences in the remaining variables (empirical variable: F = 1.263, p
= 0.286; brand identiy: F = 0.115, p
= 0.892;. purchase intention: F = 0.081, p
= 0.923). According to Scheffe’s post hoc verification results, it was found that the Δmean score of the functional variable was 2.149 for Experiment group 1, 1.545 for Experiment group 2, and 0.158 for Control group 3. The Δmean scores of Experiment group 1 and 2 were significantly higher than those of Experiment group 2 and Control group 3. On the Δmean scores of symbolic variable, the Δmean 2.255 in Experiment group 1 was significantly higher than the Δmean 0.705 in Experiment group 2 and Δmean 0.237 in Control group 3 (see Table 3
4.3. Correlation Analysis
Finally, the data of Δmean score is used to carry out a Pearson correlation analysis of the three variables of brand image, brand identity and purchase intention. It was found that the empirical variable of the brand image had a positive correlation with brand identity, and the correlation coefficient was r = 0.213 (p
< 0.05). The symbolic variable of the brand image was also positively related to the purchase intention, with a correlation coefficients of r = 0.258 (p
< 0.01). In addition, the brand identity was positively related to the purchase intention, and its correlation coefficients was r = 0.364 (p
< 0.001) (see Table 4
Brand image empirical changes caused by brand story advertising is positively related to changes in brand identity. Similarly, brand image symbolic changes raised from brand story advertisements is positively correlated with changes in purchase intention. Brand image and purchase intention also change due to brand story advertising, and the changes in these two variables are positively correlated. The results of this study found that, compared to only emphasize product features ordinary advertising campaign, story-based advertising with longer video duration has a stronger effect on the functional, symbolic, empirical of brand image, and brand identity for more listeners.
This phenomenon coincides with the “Thinking Fast and Slow” theory proposed by Daniel Kahneman [40
]. This theory tells us that our brain is composed of two systems. The fast system uses intuition to make decisions automatically. The slow system uses rational judgment to think about its decision-making methods, but requires more effort from the brain. The slow system is known for laziness because of its called much less frequently.
Story advertisements are easier to induce human feelings, and feelings and thinking are the way we process information, but feeling is faster to make specific decisions and form judgments about something. It means that consumers’ consumption decisions are not always rational and grant marketing have the opportunity to be manipulated. When businesses formulate marketing strategies for advertising brand stories, the flexibility of manipulation can lead consumers to generate a better brand image or make impulsive buying decisions.
Additionally, the stronger the story is, the greater the enhancement effect is. Sports brand advertising stories have a positive effect on their brand image, but this phenomenon is slightly different in brand identity. This study also found that brand identity changed significantly after the intervention of high-concentration advertising stories; however, there was no difference between low-concentration advertising stories and general advertising experiments. This result displays that advertising stories have a greater impact on brand image, but they have relatively less impact on brand identity.
For the construction of consumer awareness of the brand image, this study found that ads with a length of more than 5 min are better for than those with a length of more than 2 min and 1 min. The limitation of audiovisual duration with less than 6 min as be found, the stronger the advertising story with longer audiovisual duration, the stronger its impact on functionality and symbolism.
It is similar to the study of Singh et al. [13
] that found the length of advertising time within 15 min has a greater impact on consumer attitudes and behaviors than 1 or 30 min. Although this research did not review videos of more than 6 min, based on this research and Singh et al. [13
] research, it is found that the duration design of audiovisual brand stories between 5 and 15 min should be considered. Therefore, it can be inferred that there should be exist a certain optimum between 6 and 15 min, for which should be lengthening the duration meaningless.
Although this research did not find that the video duration of brand story ads affects purchase intention. According to Turkish banking industry research, there is a significant positive correlation between advertising costs and financial performance. Additionally, in this positive effect, the study also confirmed that advertising has long-term benefits and will expand over time [41
]. The cost of brand story advertising may have a positive impact on the company’s financial performance and can still be optimistically expected.
Comprehensively, this study suggests that brand image and brand identity can be constructed by brand story advertisements and discover that the concentration of advertising stories for sports brands has a significant impact on the functionality and symbolism of the brand image. The stronger the advertising story with longer audiovisual duration, the stronger its impact on functionality and symbolism. However, the concentration of advertising stories has no effect on the brand image experience, brand identity and purchase intention. The empirical changes of the brand image are also related to changes in brand identity. The change of the symbolic image of the advertising story and the change of brand identity are also positively related to the change of their purchase intention.
The specific contribution of this research is that provides businesses with profound insights so that they can more effectively use brand story advertising to shape their brand image and brand identity to attract consumers. With the help of this research, the company’s marketing managers can understand the relationship between brand image, brand identity and advertising video duration, and have reference value for the advertising marketing investment cost. This is a real portrayal of the brand and advertising community plays a vital in changing buying behavior in action.