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‘Brandspeak’ : Metaphors and the rhetorical construction of internal branding

Müller, Monika LU (2017) In Organization
Abstract
Metaphorical phrases appear frequently in practitioner and academic texts on internal branding and depict employees as ‘brand ambassadors’ who ‘embody the brand’ and ultimately turn into ‘living brands’. In this article, I examine how these metaphorical phrases rhetorically construct the concept of internal branding and thereby also impact our thoughts on organizations, employees and their relationships to one another. The findings show that complex metaphorical phrases provide linguistic framing for internal branding and simultaneously convey conflicting messages to different stakeholder groups. These metaphors describe internal branding as empowering employees to be autonomous and encouraging them to take control over the brand, whereas... (More)
Metaphorical phrases appear frequently in practitioner and academic texts on internal branding and depict employees as ‘brand ambassadors’ who ‘embody the brand’ and ultimately turn into ‘living brands’. In this article, I examine how these metaphorical phrases rhetorically construct the concept of internal branding and thereby also impact our thoughts on organizations, employees and their relationships to one another. The findings show that complex metaphorical phrases provide linguistic framing for internal branding and simultaneously convey conflicting messages to different stakeholder groups. These metaphors describe internal branding as empowering employees to be autonomous and encouraging them to take control over the brand, whereas connotations paint a picture of employees being controlled by the brand. This article contributes to studies on internal branding, branding more generally, and on language in critical management studies by highlighting that internal branding metaphors point to a hidden value system that values brands higher than employees. This value system reflects tensions around the increasing financial value of brands and increasingly precarious working conditions. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
double messages, internal branding, discourse, language, metaphors, normative control, semiotics
in
Organization
pages
27 pages
publisher
SAGE Publications
ISSN
1350-5084
DOI
10.1177/1350508417710831
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
eebf0648-dd7f-456a-aace-cf1478e5c836
date added to LUP
2017-07-03 22:31:38
date last changed
2017-07-12 15:44:01
@article{eebf0648-dd7f-456a-aace-cf1478e5c836,
  abstract     = {Metaphorical phrases appear frequently in practitioner and academic texts on internal branding and depict employees as ‘brand ambassadors’ who ‘embody the brand’ and ultimately turn into ‘living brands’. In this article, I examine how these metaphorical phrases rhetorically construct the concept of internal branding and thereby also impact our thoughts on organizations, employees and their relationships to one another. The findings show that complex metaphorical phrases provide linguistic framing for internal branding and simultaneously convey conflicting messages to different stakeholder groups. These metaphors describe internal branding as empowering employees to be autonomous and encouraging them to take control over the brand, whereas connotations paint a picture of employees being controlled by the brand. This article contributes to studies on internal branding, branding more generally, and on language in critical management studies by highlighting that internal branding metaphors point to a hidden value system that values brands higher than employees. This value system reflects tensions around the increasing financial value of brands and increasingly precarious working conditions.},
  author       = {Müller, Monika},
  issn         = {1350-5084},
  keyword      = {double messages,internal branding,discourse,language,metaphors,normative control,semiotics},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {27},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications},
  series       = {Organization},
  title        = {‘Brandspeak’ : Metaphors and the rhetorical construction of internal branding},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1350508417710831},
  year         = {2017},
}