Lexicon Rhetoricae: The narrative theory of Kenneth Burke and its application to marketing

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The purpose of this article is to propose Lexicon Rhetoricae, the narrative theory of Kenneth Burke from the discipline of literary criticism, as a comprehensive model which helps to explain how symbolism and nonconscious processes influence the consumption experience, and which helps to reconcile the psychology of the consumption experience with the more observable stimuli of the marketing environment. Lexicon Rhetoricae distinguishes two categories of literary form - symbolic and formal appeal - which describe inputs to the literary experience. A third term, eloquence, categorizes the interaction of symbolic and formal appeals, and describes how robust that experience is. Lexicon Rhetoricae provides: a mechanism for describing how unobservable internal psychological processes (conscious or nonconscious) might work; a method for coding observable marketer-controlled inputs to the consumption experience; and a means for demonstrating how the unobservable processes and the observable inputs interact in the consumption experience. Lexicon Rhetoricae provides a theoretical framework for categorically combining the "black box" experiences of the consumer and the perceptible marketer-controlled variables in the marketplace.