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New research into the importance of brand storytelling has found that eight out of ten (79%) UK adults want brands to tell stories as part of their marketing. But does this apply to professional services brands? Indeed, can it?

The Brand Storytelling Report 2015, commissioned by content marketing agency Headstream, reviewed the importance of brand storytelling as well as the impact of existing practice. Interestingly, although the majority stated that they wanted it, even more stated that they couldn’t give an example of a memorable story told by a brand. Of those that could, the stories they remember tended to be TV ads: the Oxo family and the Nescafé Gold Blend couple for example.

71% considered it either important or vital that brand-created stories were clearly differentiated from editorial stories. In short, whilst consumers don’t mind brands paying for editorial, they want it to be clearly set out as advertorial and different from genuine editorial content.

Whilst this might be interesting news for consumer brands, does this have a part to play in how we market professional services? We think so.

It becomes relevant when we understand that over 60% stated that stories about regular people are important. In our language – case studies that help people to understand the relevance of the brand and ‘purchase’. Only 19% wanted to hear about celebrities or employees and just 10% wanted the story of the brand’s CEO or founder.

It has long been held that professional services are bought and sold, not on expertise, but on the emotional, softer elements, such as whether people feel understood and empathised with, and whether they trust and like the professional. Perhaps brand storytelling, to help consumers visualise themselves in scenarios could be the next big thing in professional services marketing.

You can see a full infographic of the findings, via The Drum, here.