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Negative Storytelling as a Crisis Management Tool

Written by Sofie Andersson, Jennie Eklund

Paper category

Master Thesis


Business Administration>Management




Thesis: Telling stories Every company has a history, and each history contains several stories that can be used for internal and external marketing (Blombäck and Brunninge, 2009). These stories can be told through various types of storytelling. Blombäck and Brunninge (2009) also mentioned that if a company mentions its own history, it may have an impact on the company's external audience. For example, a company can increase credibility through the use of its own past events in marketing and its statements of endurance and endurance. These are two possible advantages (Blombäck and Brunninge, 2009). These two advantages, in turn, can reduce the perceived risk associated with the company (Blombäck and Brunninge, 2009). Regarding the endurance to past events mentioned in Blombäck and Brunninge (2009), Denning (2006) mentioned that in order for storytelling to be effective, companies should not only tell good things, but also tell stories of their failures in the past. Past. However, according to Spear and Roper (2013), many organizations avoid mentioning past failures, even if this improves their credibility. As mentioned earlier, this research will focus on telling stories in a marketing environment. In this case, Allen (2005) mentioned that storytelling involves stories that contain information about the company. In addition, as a communication tool, companies can use storytelling in a variety of ways. For example, it can be used to spread the company's values ​​and mediate complex information (Collison and Mackenzie, 1999). It can also be used to strengthen the brand, increase employee loyalty, reduce the impact of bad publicity and attract new customers (Allen, 2005). In addition, when a company uses storytelling, they are repacking company information into a format that the public considers easier to understand and relevant. However, because the Internet is more accessible today, it has lost some value. According to Allen (2005), therefore, company information should be presented in the form of storytelling. In addition, she claims that storytelling evokes emotional reactions from customers, so the information presented through storytelling is considered more valuable and can increase customer loyalty. In addition, if the information is presented in the form of a story, it will also be considered more memorable and credible (Lundqvist et al., 2013; Dowling, 2006). In addition, if the story is attractive to the public, it will be easier for them to absorb and remember the information (Fenger, Achemann-Witzel, Hansen, and Grunert, 2015). According to Fenger et al. (2015), it may also affect customers' future purchase choices. 2.3 Crisis management The theory of how to deal with crises and manage the external pressures arising therefrom has been discussed by some researchers. Coombs (2014) defines crisis management as the process of trying to reduce the negative impact on the organization before, during, and after a crisis. In addition, the goal of crisis management is to restore the organization to normal, because abnormal conditions that occur during the crisis can cause the company's financial and reputation losses (Coombs, 2009; Heath, 2010). In addition, Coombs (2009) means that companies need to collect enough information to decide how to conduct crisis management. The response to these decisions is called a crisis response. Crisis response includes actions taken and communication methods used by the company to restore normalcy. In general, Coombs (2009) recommends that companies respond quickly, accurately, and consistently to crises. Regarding rapid response, he also mentioned that there is a prime time when the company should deal with the crisis before it loses the opportunity to release news to the public. One measure taken before and during a crisis situation is to cultivate long-term relationships between customers and the company (see Customer Loyalty). In addition, reputation should also be cultivated, because Vlastelica (2006) and Rayner (2003) believe that a good reputation helps a company in different ways, and that a good reputation can protect the company in a crisis. If the reputation is not cultivated, the crisis will lead to the loss of reputation, which will damage and reduce the competitiveness of the company and the trust and loyalty of customers. However, during a crisis, companies can choose to disclose their stories and views on the situation to mitigate potential negative effects (Caldiero, Taylor, and Ungureanu, 2009). Caldiero, Taylor, and Ungureanu (2009) pointed out that when experiencing a crisis, background information (including past and current achievements) is the ideal information to share with customers and the public through press releases or similar methods. In addition, Rayner (2003) mentioned that the more the company itself communicates about the crisis, the fewer opportunities for rumors and speculation to spread. However, Coombs (2010) mentioned that poor or inappropriate crisis response may make the situation worse, so the message needs to be communicated deliberately. In addition, Kopp et al. (2011) and O’Neill (2002) discussed how organizational storytelling can be an effective crisis management tool within a company to meet the needs of employees, such as reducing their stress. "We can overcome this, we have experienced more severe challenges before" (Kopp et al., 2011, p. 378) is an example of the success mantra of Kopp et al. (2011) may come from the use of storytelling by the organization. Read Less