Author: Mills, Adam Joseph
This dissertation presents three research papers, each of which develops a new perspective on the art and craft of brand storytelling. The first paper explores what brand stories are. Despite a growing interest in storytelling in both management and academic circles, no clear articulation of the brand story construct exists. The brand story is theoretically disassembled into its component parts, and conceptualized as comprising three critical and interwoven elements of plot, character and purpose. The second paper explores different types of brand stories, with the intention of providing a guide for the strategic reassembly of the three story elements. As existing literature provides frameworks for only character and purpose, a grounded theory exploration into the plotlines of brand stories told on product packages finds that stories fall into a number of distinct archetypes. A typology of the fifteen types of brand stories is presented. The third paper explores what brand stories do, and investigates whether or not the brand stories can influence consumer perceptions of a product. Experimental research demonstrates that the presence of a brand story on a product package can influence the perceived monetary value of that product by up to 15%, as well as the perceived authenticity of the brand. The cumulative result of this research endeavor is a prescriptive manual for brand story construction, supported by evidence that those stories have the potential to directly affect profit margins.
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Thesis advisor: Pitt, Leyland
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