The Impact of a Firm-originated Story on Brand Interest Group Members' Brand Experience: A Jonas Co. Case Study

Karoline Windhagauer

Student thesis: Master thesis


With the field of branding evolving from static to more dynamic approaches (Merz, He, &Vargo, 2009), and all stakeholders being considered as active participants in the creation of afluctuating and ever changing brand related discourse (Mühlbacher & Hemetsberger, 2008),storytelling as a way of retaining control and disseminating a firm's intended brand meaninghas slowly found its way into the field of strategic branding (Iglesias & Bonet, 2012).However, only limited empirical evidence exists on the effects of storytelling on consumerbrand experience (e.g. Lundqvist, Liljander, Gummerus, & van Riel, 2013). Thus, this thesisaimed to provide further insights into this field by exploring how a firm-originated brandstory influences brand interest group members' brand experience. Embedded in previous research on branding and storytelling, an exploratory,experimental case study of Jonas Co., a newly founded start-up in the field of interior design,was undertaken. Ten qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted, with half of therespondents exposed to the product, its brand story and different designs, whereas the otherhalf did not receive the story. A critical discourse analysis of the brand story, and ahermeneutic examination of the interviews allowed rich insights into the brand story itselfand respondent's experiences with the brand. The results display that the brand story strongly influenced respondents’s perceptionsof the price of the product and their willingness to pay for it. The overall attractiveness wasfurthermore shown to be enhanced in the story group. First impressions of the brand, as wellas its perceived core persona were revealed to be less influenced, while the perceivedauthenticity of the brand was shown to be increased in the story group. This thesis provided additional empirical insights into a previously scarcely studiedfield and showed that the firm-originated brand story at-hand indeed led to more positivebrand experiences in the story group. It thus supports previous literature on the importance ofstorytelling as a strategic branding tool.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages127
SupervisorsWencke Gwozdz