Cristel Russell – IP 28.05.2018
A dual perspective on the brand backstory
Challenged with the multiplicity of voices and narratives surrounding brands, brand practitioners seek ways to re-establish a transparent brand image, to give consumers the ‘REAL’ story, the ultimate ‘truth.’ They increasingly welcome consumers in the brand backstory world, through factory tours and company visits. The brand’s inner world features how a brand is created, reveals rare and exclusive brand information and a seemingly transparent look into the backstage of the brand. It presents the authorial voice on the brand narrative.
This inquiry of the brand backstory documents a) brand practitioners’ strategies to communicate the brand through the authorial voice as to engage consumers in its intimate world b) the experience of consumers in the backstory environment as they attempt to reconcile their own personal brand narrative with the authorial brand voice displayed in the backstory. Four brand backstories were selected that varied in material environments, revealing rare and exclusive brand knowledge: namely Outrageous Fortune, a New Zealand media brand, Herr’s Snack Food Inc, an American snack food brand, Calissons du Roy René, a French regional specialty sweets brand, and the Girl Scouts of the USA, an American nonprofit brand. Brand backstory practitioners approached for this project were receptive, available and willing to share their views and insights on the backstory as well as provide access to historical documents such as backstory creation manifestos or documentation describing the project scope of the brand backstories. And, in the first two contexts, they also facilitated on-site recruitment of consumers . The findings illuminate consumers’ dialogical relationship between their personal brand narratives and the authorial perspective, the dominant voice inside the backstory environment.