Suresh C Sood, Arch Woodside, Ken Miller
The stories consumers report and tell in which they use brands as props or anthropomorphic actors increasingly form a key part of personal and community Weblogs.These stories are drama enactments enabling the storytellers to experience powerful myths. The brand stories consumers tell on purchasing-consumption requires a protagonist consumer to experience an "inciting incident" (McKee 2003) that focuses her attention and results in action in response to this incident. Since stories help to make sense of the world around us it is not surprising that consumer storytelling about brands extends beyond highly risky consumption acts to the more mundane and improvisational presentations of self (to self and others) in everyday life. With an understanding of the structure of the brand stories consumers report and tell on Weblogs this study compares the application of semantic analysis software (Smith 2000) automating the text analysis with a manual interpretation involving the human mind using Heider’s balance theory to examine the stories consumers report about two well known clothing brands in naturally occurring contexts on Weblogs. Taking this approach, one can gain insights in determining if market researchers can automatically process Weblogs to obtain brand story abstractions.