Using corporate stories to build the corporate brand: An impression management perspective

Sara Spear, Stuart Roper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: A recent area of academic interest within corporate branding and reputation is the use of storytelling in order to differentiate the corporate brand, however there is little empirical research exploring the contents of corporate stories, and how they are used by organisations to build the corporate brand. This paper aims to utilise impression management theory to bring insight into the potential role of corporate stories in shaping the corporate brand. Design/methodology/approach: Corporate stories were identified from the web sites of 99 organisations in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, and content analysis conducted on the stories, using a deductive approach to identify the story elements present in the stories. Findings: There are wide variations in the inclusion of different elements in the stories, indicating that organisations place greater importance on the inclusion of some elements in their corporate stories than others. Research limitations/implications: The paper highlights the point that while organisations are using corporate stories, they are not sufficiently leveraging them to build their corporate brand. There is a gap between storytelling theory and practice, in that the literature emphasises the importance of including benefits for stakeholders, emotion, and aspects of the corporate strategy in stories, whereas organisations frequently neglect these aspects and instead focus mainly on their accomplishments. Originality/value: This study has found impression management theory to be a useful perspective on exploring corporate storytelling, and identifies links between the elements of stories and impression management strategies and behaviours. This indicates that the corporate story could influence the impressions that audiences form of the organisation and therefore build the corporate brand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-501
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Product and Brand Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


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