Humanising the brand through storytelling: a case study of South Wales Police

Allbwn ymchwil: Cyfraniad at gynhadleddPapuradolygiad gan gymheiriaid


Brand personality and its impact on marketing and public relations is well documented (Freling et al, 2010) and has been instrumental in the attribution of human characteristics to an organisation (Aaker 1997). Humanisation of the brand can be seen to reinforce positive attitudes (Aggarwal 2004) and the way in which stakeholders interact with the brand (Esch et al, 2006).

In South Wales Police’s recent attempts to humanise their brand by publishing personal stories of the force’s employees, we see quite clearly how Aaker’s (1997) brand personality dimensions, which focus upon sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness – all specific traits of personality – are present within these social media posts.

To deconstruct these traits, sincerity can include such components as domesticity, honesty and cheerfulness; excitement can be associated with daring, imaginative and contemporary traits; competence can present itself as reliability, responsibility and efficacy; sophistication may be seen as pretentiousness, charm or romance; and ruggedness as strength and outdoor enthusiasm.

Similarly, some of Ambroise’s (2005) nine traits – friendly, creative, charming, ascendant, misleading, original, elegant, conscientious and introvert can also impact on brand trust and commitment (Stinnett 2013). Links between the readers of the posts and the employees whose stories are told can result in brand attachment and the forming of relationships, as readers identify with the employees featured. An inclusive attitude to the subjects of the social media posts can only help to develop identification of congruity between the readers of the posts and the organisation itself.

This paper examines a variety of posts under the hashtag #HumansOfSWP which draw on stories of employees with serious health issues, unusual hobbies such as historical re-enactment, girl guiding and football refereeing, participation in Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and the trials of child adoption. Between them, the stories can be said to feature all of Aaker and Ambroise’s brand personality traits with the exception of Ambroise’s ‘misleading’.

In conclusion, we see that posts from SWP, even when positive and featuring success stories, often draw criticism and complaint. These human stories, however, appear to result in nothing but positive responses, which indicates that the posts are successful in establishing and developing positive relationships with the force’s readership through shared experiences.
Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
StatwsCyhoeddwyd - 31 Mai 2023
DigwyddiadTelling the Story of Business 2023 Symposium - University of South Wales (online), Treforest
Hyd: 6 Meh 20236 Meh 2023


CynhadleddTelling the Story of Business 2023 Symposium

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