Brand discourse

We probably all know that successful brands often structure their communications around stories, or narratives.  But have you noticed that people who like these brands are even better at referring to them in the context of broader, coherent stories? This is not surprising, as brands are becoming important elements of the contemporary consumer culture, and we simply can't separate them any more from our everyday lives. An interesting read in this respect is an academic paper (I read a lot of those -- funky branding is often quite a nerdy activity!) Towards a Narratology of Brands? ((Towards a Narratology of Brands? Marius K. Luedicke, University of Ititisbruck, Austria Markus Giesler, York University, Canada, published in European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8, 2008)). The most interesting observations, in my opinion, are:

  • People cognitively process and communicate their lives as narratives
  • They also organize their brand-related experiences in the forms of narratives. The resulting "consumer brand narratives" are "influential threads in people's life stories that explicitly involve brands" (( ibid. )). This is why those funky brands that are able to change and/or improve our lifestyles have a better chance of becoming part of these narratives.
  • Finally, consumers not only refer to brands in the context of narratives, but they also evaluate and share their brand-related experiences as stories.

To illustrate the final point, here's an example of brand discourse related to Microsoft and Apple. Watch the PC and MAC dudes dancing and tell me if you're a right clicka or an iPod flicka.