Brand Storytelling: Research Roundup

By Nicola Brown, MPC2014

With the rapid evolution of technology and digital media platforms, brand storytelling is a continually shifting landscape. MRP research is helping us understand what the uncertain future of brand storytelling could look like.

Project: Toward a cross-platform brand storytelling model: bridging transmedia, narrative, and marketing discourses

Author: Alanna Mager, MPC2014

Alanna investigates the practice of cross-platform brand storytelling by applying principles of narrative, transmedia, and marketing theory to a case study of American eyewear brand Warby Parker’s content marketing campaigns.

The following questions guided the study: Which elements of transmedia theory, narrative theory, and marketing theory can be used to effectively analyze and plan cross-platform brand stories? Which elements of digital brand content establish compelling “storyworlds” that aim to create a sense of consumer identification?

Alanna found that Warby Parker’s brand storytelling illustrated a central aspect of transmedia theory, that stories are most immersive when pieces of the story are spread across multiple platforms, because when users gather parts of the story themselves they become immersed in the “storyworld.”

The study led to the creation of an adaptable framework that can be used to plan cross-platform brand storytelling. The study also informed suggestions for further research, which could improve understanding of how users interact with and experience content marketing.

You can read Alanna’s paper here.

Project: #FollowUs: Brand Connectivity And Marketing Techniques That Attract Millennials On Instagram

Author: Avery Hellas, MPC2016

Avery explores the increasing digitization of contemporary media and culture and the ways in which it is changing how companies market themselves to their target audiences, particularly when those audiences comprise millennials. She gives us a case study of two clothing brands popular with this generation and delves into how they are branding themselves on Instagram.

Avery notes that despite differing brand values, these companies’ social media marketing techniques are notably similar. She argues that by adhering to a sort of social media orthodoxy, two very different brands can be equally successful in forging stronger connections to their customers that drive business.

You can read Avery’s paper here.

Project: Branding Higher Education For Student Recruitment: A Shift From Academia To Career-Focused Education

Author: Alexandra Sebben, MPC2016

Alexandra’s research showed how brand storytelling isn’t just important to think about for companies and products but also for institutions like Ryerson that need to sell themselves effectively to new recruits.

She showed that Ryerson’s digital messaging and branding tactics align with what the literature has shown to be the most effective types of messaging and discriminant use of platforms to entice prospective students. She also identified areas where Ryerson could strengthen its messaging, such as in how it prepares students for the workforce.

The results of this paper can inform in what ways Ryerson can improve its branding across digital and social media platforms for student recruitment.

You can read Alexandra’s paper here.