Generating word-of-mouth via organized business networks: the role of narrative and metaphor in 60-second self-marketing speeches

Blazkova, Hana (2016). Generating word-of-mouth via organized business networks: the role of narrative and metaphor in 60-second self-marketing speeches. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Current marketing discourse studies address primarily the corporate world, paying little attention to small businesses, which operate without a substantial marketing plan and budget. The present study sidesteps the well-researched corporate domain to examine the 60-second 'elevator' speech delivered by the owner-managers of SMEs engaged in Business Development Networks (BDNs) in order to determine the potential of these presentations in eliciting new business for the speaker. Drawing on a dataset of presentations in business networking groups in Birmingham, the thesis centres on small story and deliberate metaphor, concluding that both are powerful structuring, meaning-making and
identity-constructing mechanisms. The thesis shows that 88% of the minimalist narratives enveloped in the self-branding rhetoric involve a client in a problem scenario and evidence the narrator's professional competence in delivering a successful solution for the client, thus providing significant persuasive and evidential potential. The study also explores the development of deliberate metaphor through interaction, in a genre that tends to be perceived as monologic, discovering a surprising degree of speaker inter-influence and a significant relation between metaphor co-construction in the linguistic domain and the construction and negotiation of the group prototype in the social domain. Deliberate metaphor was also found to significantly influence both persuasiveness and recall of the promotional messages, with contextual relevance emerging as the key predictor of both phenomena.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Language and Linguistics
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics


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