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Web-based forums and metaphysical branding

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This paper introduces metaphysical branding as an original, overarching concept binding together discrete data themes when analysing online evaluation of the best-selling album in jazz history – Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. There are five constituent elements of metaphysical branding arising from the data (rite of passage, believers, non-believers, self-improvement, and ritual). The paper uses a netnographic approach involving analysis of online textual discourse posted on a music-rating website. Postings indicate that consumers are not just passively responding to marketing communications, but are actively co-creating transcendent meaning. Dissemination of quasi-religious motifs invests Kind of Blue with self-perpetuating, life-cycle extending meanings. Metaphysical branding has potential applications in the marketing of goods and services requiring prolonged cognitive effort in striving for aspirational self-improvement (e.g. through pursuit of the arts or university education) or prolonged dedication and devotion (e.g. to a sports team).

Keywords: branding; jazz; metaphysical; netnography; sacred

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Liverpool Management School, UK 2: Glasgow Caledonian University, UK 3: Keele University, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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