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Business stories

The various ways of narrating the evolution of companies are rationalised and organised

  

Telling the story of a business in order to explain the culture of production that characterises it. And in so doing, making it better known, and naturally growing the market for its products. This route only appears easy on the surface, and – aside from anything – is never twice the same: indeed, it is the very nature of each company whose story is being told that leads the way. For this reason, the title given to the research conducted by Antonella Garofano, Angelo Riviezzo and Maria Rosaria Napolitano on the ways that the story of a company can be told is very apt: “Una storia, tanti modi di raccontarla. Una nuova proposta di definizione dell’heritage marketing mix” (One story, many ways to tell it. A new proposal for defining the heritage marketing mix).

The goal of this work, as explained at the beginning, is to “offer a precise means of categorising the multiple tools that can be used as part of a heritage marketing strategy, to manage the narration of the story of a company and its products and/or brands in managerial terms.”

In order to explore this theme, the authors have researched twenty Italian companies, each more than a hundred years old, which have distinguished themselves in the ways they have exploited the value of their historical heritage. Albergian, Amarelli, Ascione, Birra Peroni, Confetti Pelino, E. Marinella, Fabbri, Filippo Catarzi, Fondazione Banco di Napoli, Fratelli Branca Distillerie, Gruppo Guzzini, Gruppo Piaggio, Lanificio Fratelli Piacenza, Martini & Rossi, Montegrappa, Pirelli, Poli Distillerie, Società Reale Mutua di Assicurazioni, Strega Alberti and Tela Umbra are the companies studied by Garofano, Riviezzo and Napolitano. For each of these, the authors pursued a narrative-type qualitative approach, following which each case study was constructed, combining oral (interviews), text-based (company material) and visual (visits and direct observation) sources.

Having examined the varying ways these companies tell their stories, the study then proceeds with identifying four categories of tools that can be used in order to do this: narration through words, images and sounds, narration based on products and brands, narration through places and, finally, narration based on celebrations and relationships. The authors of the study go on to explain that the use of these tools leads to the construction of a “business story” that is different every time.

The research carried out by Garofano, Riviezzo and Napolitano has the great merit of systematising a complex issue that is constantly changing and often ambiguous within a relatively limited space, and this is precisely what is required in order to understand both the potential and the limits of one of the most advanced frontiers of business culture.

Una storia, tanti modi di raccontarla. Una nuova proposta di definizione dell’heritage marketing mix (One story, many ways to tell it. A new proposal for defining the heritage marketing mix)

Antonella Garofano, Angelo Riviezzo, Maria Rosaria Napolitano

Il capitale culturale. Studies on the Value of Cultural Heritage, Supplementi, 10, 2020