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School of Business | Department of Communication | International Business Communication | 2013
Thesis number: 13439
Using stories to communicate corporate identity on the web: A study of Nordic fashion companies.
Author: Järnefelt, Noora
Title: Using stories to communicate corporate identity on the web: A study of Nordic fashion companies.
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Communication
Academic subject: International Business Communication
Index terms: viestintä; communication; yritysviestintä; business communication; yritykset; companies; identiteetti; identity; tarina; narrative; toimialat; business branches; muoti; fashion; vaatetusteollisuus; clothing and footwear industry; design management; design management
Pages: 90
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13439.pdf pdf  size:5 MB (4693664)
Key terms: corporate identity; communication; storytelling; fashion; clothing industry
Abstract:
Objective of the Study

The objective of the study was to examine how stories are being used to communicate corporate identity in the Nordic fashion industry. The study focused specifically on the web communication of small and medium sized Nordic fashion companies. The study explored the communication discovered on the selected web sites to answer the three research questions: 1) To what extent do Nordic fashion companies use storytelling when communicating their identity to global consumers on the web? 2) What kind of story elements do they use in their web communication? 3) Based on their stories, how unique are their individual identities?

Theoretical Framework and Methodology

The theoretical framework of the study was based on identity management research as well as traditional and corporate storytelling theories. Through a method of qualitative content analysis, the study examined the web sites of 10 up-and-coming fashion companies from Finland as well as 10 companies from the more successful fashion countries of Sweden and Denmark.

Findings and Conclusions

The study revealed that despite the proven benefits of storytelling, majority of Nordic fashion companies hardly ever use stories when communicating their identity to global consumers. Instead of communicating their characteristics through appealing and well-structured plotlines, companies mostly settle for simply describing their identity though product features and design. Founders of the companies are often portrayed as heroes on a mission start their own business.

Differentiation between the companies was minimal. All companies communicated nearly the same kind of features and characteristics. Minimalism, functionality and contemporary design as well as high quality and tailoring, were all popular traits among the studied brands. No large differences between the use of storytelling of the Finnish, Swedish and Danish companies were discovered. However, the findings show that Finnish companies emphasized ecological values as well as production processes and selection of materials slightly more.

The findings of this study indicate that companies are not aware of the full potential that storytelling has as a method of business communication and differentiation. Furthermore, as far as communication is concerned, the up-and-coming Finnish companies are on the same level with their Swedish and Danish competitors.
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