Building Betty Crocker’s brand community

conversations with consumers, 1940-1950

Rebecca D Swenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine an iconic relationship between the Betty Crocker brand figure and a set of consumers to build the understanding of how corporate personas contribute to community, engagement, and dialogue. Design/methodology/approach – Using a historical approach to analyze radio scripts featuring Betty Crocker and “Dear Betty Crocker” letters women wrote to the fictional brand icon from 1940 to 1950, at the height of Betty’s popularity, this study identifies themes and rhetorical strategies that explain how General Mills used Betty Crocker to make the institution relatable and products relevant during a period of cultural and social change. Findings – General Mills built a strong brand community by using Betty Crocker to facilitate dialogue among consumers and slightly re-frame the group’s shared mission as the decade progressed. The analysis of letters reveals women engaged in dialogue with the company to reify brand values, express gratitude and loyalty, and seek more social support and connection. Originality/value – This research adds to the understanding of a central challenge described by communication professionals: how to leverage corporate personas and brand voice in ways that resonate with audiences, inspire interaction, and build community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-161
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Communication Management
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 3 2016

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conversation
dialogue
Communication
community
Industry
cultural change
loyalty
popularity
social support
Values
social change
radio
communication
methodology
interaction
Brand community
Group
Social support
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Keywords

  • Betty Crocker
  • Brand community
  • Communication
  • Corporate communications
  • History
  • Public relations

Cite this

Building Betty Crocker’s brand community : conversations with consumers, 1940-1950. / Swenson, Rebecca D.

In: Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 20, No. 2, 03.05.2016, p. 148-161.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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