How to Beat Pawn Stars By Understanding The Power of Branding Via StoryTelling

Do you need to increase the equity of your business through better branding?  The following provides lessons on how to do it via the findings of two key research studies.  It uses the new popular tv show ‘Pawn Stars’ to lightly illustrate the power of storytelling in the online era.

I’ve become a big fan of the reality show ‘Pawn Stars’.  It’s the Antique Road Show meets Dog The Bounty Hunter.

If you haven’t seen it three generations of a family run a pawn shop in Las Vegas.  In each show a variety of characters come in with an assortment of wild & wacky items and try to get the most money possible out of the ‘Pawn Stars’ for it.

Trying to Out Negotiate The Pawn Stars

The ‘Pawn Stars’, of course, have to judge the value of the item and get a price for it that still leaves them with room for a profit.  It’s like watching a scene from a Turkish bazaar as each side negotiates down to the agreed upon price and I’m sure it’s a factor in the show’s immense success.  But I’m amazed each week at what people will settle for but, then again, the Pawn Stars are pros.

However I figured out how to get the better of them through the power of branding through storytelling.

What you need to know is:

  • A series of experiments conducted through the University of Chicago have found that consumers identify more with brands that have an underdog background story and are more likely to purchase them.  ‘Brand biographies’ that contain a disadvantage vs. an adversary yet passion to overcome the odds were chosen 71% of the time vs. products that contained no such story.
  • An ongoing study called The Significant Objects Project has found that objects sold on eBay are worth 28X more if a story is paired with them vs. a simple factual description.

So if you ever happen to walk into the Pawn Stars store in Las Vegas and the cameras are rolling, tell them a hard-luck story.  Like you have to sell your great-grandfather’s Civil War musket balls to pay for your grandmother’s operation ; ).   Negotiate with them but don’t sell!  Wait till the show airs then put those musket balls on eBay and tell your story that these are the very same musket balls that were featured on the famous tv show “Pawn Stars”!

You’re bound to make multiples of what you would have if you’d sold them to Rick and family.

What This Means To You:

In a marketing environment being shaped by the rising power of social media, your marketing message is fighting to show up in the inboxes and Facebook streams of potential customers right next to a message from their old high school friend.  It’s one of the reasons that consumers are making buying decisions based on what they know of the people behind the company.  One of the great examples of this is Zappos:

Zappos branding

A business success not afraid to position themselves as an underdog and tell you the personal story of their founder, Tony Hsieh.

So Mr or Mrs. Businessperson…what’s your story?

Why you’re thinking about that get a chuckle of Pawn Star’s ‘Big Hoss’ trying to explain Facebook to his grandfather.

Hope this helps.

Bob Nunn

Bob Nunn is an award winning internet marketing consultant based in Toronto passionate about building brands by tuning-up their online marketing. He's the founder of Brand Mechanics; a new approach to marketing that provides clients with all the tools they may require but, through a thorough diagnostic approach, recommends only what they need.

More Posts

3 Responses to “How to Beat Pawn Stars By Understanding The Power of Branding Via StoryTelling”

  1. My Blog says:

    My Blog Fantastic post! I’m actually looking for information about dog training but came upon this post and discovered it really interesting and useful. Keep up the excellent work you are doing here.

  2. [...] clever points’: the magical little moments that reward the consumer for the interruption and uses storytelling to stick to the brain and create FAME for the [...]

  3. Interesting views. My organization is just you start with putting an hour a full day into SM and I’m not sure if at all worth it at all. I haven’t gotten a single new subscriber to my email list. Marketing with email alternatively has real measurable results.

Leave a Reply