In a recent TED talk a professor and former network reporter described his career as a storyteller, as an adventurer spending time with people who had no riches but their thoughts. He’d spent decades traveling the country looking for extraordinary stories about ordinary people. Sharing his storytelling secrets with the online group, he talked about how discovering powerful stories was about meeting folks whose passion to overcome was greater than the obstacle they faced. Telling the stories about people who encourage others to do better and could make you dream of places you’d never been.

It’s a formula for good storytelling, and apparently significantly more. Researchers are now reporting that “cause” is defining a buying trend. And video storytelling is the preferred marketing method.

Millennials (those born between 1977 and 2000) are looking to spend their money with companies that have a compelling story to tell about purpose.

They spend more than a trillion dollars a year and almost 50 percent of them say they’re willing to make a purchase from a company if their purchase supports a cause.

According to millennialmarketing.com, millennials also cite brand loyalty for those brands that stand for more than their bottom line. And 37 percent of millennials say they’re even willing to pay a little bit more if it means supporting a service or product they believe in.

That information along with volumes of other data have been incorporated into the product selection and marketing tools developed by Inventory Solutions.

Creating a unique line of curated products that resonate with the faith- based consumers, appeal to millennials and offer retailer members healthy margins was part of the criteria Inventory Solutions used to select their offerings.

Many of the products are sourced from quality boutique lines, others through highly vetted entrepreneurs. A team of designers, merchandisers, buyers and focus groups worked to curate the line of more than 300 products with additional products rolling out late fall.

An exclusive partnership with one of the nation’s leading roasting houses and Brazilian coffee bean farmers was even part of the product development.

Others lines unique to Inventory Solutions include boutique quality faith-

based women’s jewelry, a line of bath products, scented candles, women’s t-shirts, wall art, and a new baby line.

Research shows a number of secular retailers are now carrying faith-based jewelry due to consumer demand (Cateo Women’s clothing among others) and the explosion of faith-based product in home goods stores was a determining factor for Inventory Solutions to source unique quality wall art.

Data also showed 1 in 4 millennials are already parents and want quality baby products that fit their lifestyle. That along with significant data about buying trends helped Inventory Solutions source an exquisite line of baby products.

Every product in the Inventory Solutions line incorporates a story and has custom still photography available to retailers for marketing. Many products also come with video marketing tools, allowing retailers to post stories featuring the product line. Most links are downloadable since research also shows millennials having more than twice as many Facebook friends as non-millennials.

In addition to the unique product line and video marketing tools, Inventory Solutions will be rolling out term agreements for CBA Retailer Members.

Inventory Solutions is featured in the CBA booth at UNITE, with product displays, data research, marketing videos, and coffee samples.

—Deborah Mash