With the rise of digital media and content marketing, business-to-business (B2B) technology firms increasingly use narratives in their marketing strategy. If research has studied the impact of narrative on audiences, the structuration of the narrative strategies is still an overlooked area. The purpose of this paper is to understand the structuration of narrative strategies.Design/methodology/approachAuthors studied the cases of narratives on the Internet of Things produced by two leading technology firms, IBM and Cisco, between 2012 and 2016. Material includes advertising campaigns, blogs, written customer cases, white papers, public speeches and selling discourses.FindingsThe research highlights the importance of metanarratives as the core of the structuration of seemingly different contents. It also shows how firms tap into fundamental mythic archetypes and broader sociocultural narratives to try and legitimate the emerging technology. Finally, research also introduces the concept of transmedia strategy and illustrates its use by the two firms studied.Research limitations/implicationsThe results are based on only two cases of multinational firms, limiting the generalization of the findings.Practical implicationsThe results of the research may encourage firms to use more narrative branding strategies. They also offer directions for the key elements to manage when elaborating a narrative strategy (defining key metanarratives, identifying and using broader sociocultural narratives, designing a transmedia strategy).Originality/valueThe paper is among the first to try to understand the structuration of narrative branding strategies. While exploratory, it contributes to research on B2B branding and digital branding by bringing the narrative into B2B branding research.
Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 7, 2019
Keywords: Narratives; Internet of things; Artificial intelligence; B2B brands; Transmedia