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PresentationAngelaCaroll PresentationAngelaCaroll Presentation Transcript

  • The “my story” phenomenon: Can companies maintain control in a consumer mediated cyberspace? Angela Carroll : Leeds Metropolitan University Tony Aldred: Leeds University
  • Overview
    • Traditional forms of brand communications and the control they bestow on brand owners is under threat
    • As consumers join online brand communities, control becomes diffused and consumers gain voice via a medium which represents a unique private/public hybrid
    • A specific trend is the growth of blogging which allows individual consumers to gain authority status among the community
  • Background
    • Companies attempt to control not only the physical nature and message proposition of brands but the social meanings attributed to them in an attempt to place ownership on consumer lifestyles [Meenaghan, 1998]
    • Traditionally this has been achieved by integration and intertextualisation of brand messages across media to develop interconnectedness between brand and popular culture
    • One way, one voice communication intercepted by increasingly marketing literate consumers who are arguably taking control, selectively taking relevant messages for mediation and possible re-interpretation [Aldred and Carroll, 2002]
    • Can take place around ‘metaphorical campfires’ [Stockdale, 2001] and more recently via virtual platforms
  • Concurrent Trends
    • Advertising consumed as entertainment [O’Donohoe, 1997]
    • “ Shooting down advertisements” has become a sport [Bond & Kirschenbaum, 1998]
    • Brands may acquire positive or negative values amongst peer groups which ultimately results in them being accepted or rejected
  • Virtual Arena: Implications
    • “ Virtual environments as a platform for relationships” [Mitchell 2000]
    • “ A customer mediated environment” [Hoffmann and Novak 1999]
    • ‘ Reverse marketing’ [Barnett 1998]
    • “ Customer controlled interactions” [Evans et al, 2001]
    • Growth of unofficial online brand communities [Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001] and progression to adoption of web blogging
  • Characteristics of Blogs
    • Form of self-publishing which gives individual way to raise their voice via a medium which facilitates an ‘always on, always out there’ public personae [Spero and Stone, 2004]
    • Encourages ‘content creation’ to a public audience [Lindstrom, 2004]
    • “ My story” phenomenon which empowers individuals and bestows authority [www.immediatefuture.co.uk]
    • Communal forum with mutual exchange and critical respect [Walker, 2005]
    • Blogosphere as ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing and smear campaigns [Forbes Magazine, 2005]
  • Who Blogs About Brands?
    • Advocates, Critics, Experts/Authorities
    • Community Members, Chatters, Artists
    • (pop culture)
    • Real, Fake, Employee, Media/News, PR
  • Brand Mediation: Cillit Bang
  • Brand Mediation: esure.com
    • http://www.luckykazoo.com/media/2005/03/e-sure-remix.html
  • Brand Bashing: “Dell Hell”
    • June 2005 Jeff Jarvis complains about Dell on his blog Buzzmachine
    • Hundreds and then thousands links, emails and comments from other angry Dell customers > Jarvis becomes spokesperson
    • Story covered by American and European press
    • http://www.luckykazoo.com/media/2005/03/e-sure-remix.html
    • Buzzmachine becomes the key on-line source for consumers with negative perception of Dell customer service
    • Buzzmachine ranked eleventh most influential voice on Dell customer service in general
    • www.immediatefuture.co.uk
  • Blogs: Potential Threat to Brands?
    • Bloggers rely on blogosphere for news and information
    • Single sourcing creates authority and “experts”
    • Connectedness of the community results in strong affiliation and sense of belonging, cultivating bonds and relationships [Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001]
    • New social terrain representing network of many to many communications [Evans et al, 2001]
    • One dissatisfied customer can become thousands in a nano second [Maclaren and Catterall, 2002]
    • Unique blend of public and private conversation, weakens or replaces corporately controlled story [Pitta & Fowler, 2005]
    • “ The days of centralised ‘we own the community, we own the brand’ are over. People do it however they want, wherever they want”
    • Jeff Jarvis, 2005
  • Brands Losing Control: Burberry
    • http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/bwilliams/entry/the_chavs_on/
    • http://www.chavmum.co.uk
    • http://holmesreport.blogspot.com/2006/07/burberry-blues-if-you-thought-cristal.html
    • http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/news/archives/2005/10/12/burberry_checks_ferret_fashion.html
    • http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2004/11/are-chavs-ruining-burberry-brand.html
  • Blogging: Genuine Opportunity?
    • Potential to harness blogging as a positive influence on brand communications [Business Week, 2005]
    • Forge relationships with customers, providing means for customer to customer communications which bypasses unsolicited outbound contact [Szmigin et al, 2005]
  • Creating Community: Microsoft
    • http://scoble.weblogs.com/2005/10/09.html
    • Opportunity for consumers to contact brand owners in their own time and in their own way
    • Need for genuine consumer-centric approach which facilitates amore unfiltered dialogue with public [Maclaren & Catterall, 2002]
    • Trust and bonding will not develop if medium is perceived to be too commercialised and hence lacking credibility [Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001]
  • Fake Corporate Blogs: Barry Scott
    • http://www.barryscott.blogs.com
    • Brand owners as mediators of brand communications rather than controllers