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Jun 14, 2013
© 2011 BeyenMeyer. (downloaded at www.beyenmeyer.nl) 2DOES SOCIALMEDIA AFFECTYOUR BRANDVALUE?“The most successful marketer becomes part of the lives of their followers. They followback. They wish happy birthday. They grow their businesses and brands by involvingthemselves in their own communities.” - Marsha Collier, speaker and business author -Many organizations still strugglewith the determination andjustification of strategies andobjectives with regard to socialmedia. Demonstration of theadded value of the time andmoney invested in the technologyremains a challenging assignment.How can social mediaeffectively support marketingcommunication activities? Howto use it purposefully? Whatare the implications of adoptingsocial websites for brand equityand consumer relations? Howto measure the success ofsocial media operations? Justa handful of critical questionsoften discouraging corporationsto consider its commercialopportunities thoroughly.BeyenMeyer recognizes thisknowledge deficit and decided toco-operate with university in orderto conduct scientific research uponthis trending topic. The analyses aswell as its findings offer valuableinsights for those who are lookingfor suitable recommendationsconcerning their social mediadeliberations and development…Please continue reading and findout what is in it for you in theremainder of this white paper...
© 2011 BeyenMeyer. (downloaded at www.beyenmeyer.nl) 3“You can be professional while also ‘keeping it real’ with your customers. By interacting with customers in a lessformal way, you’ll build a strong human connection that helps build brand loyalty.” - David Hauser, Entrepreneur -MOTIVESocial obligationNowadays, the ways in whichpeople and organizations becomeacquainted, connect and interact isheavily changing. Technology-baseddevelopments exert a massive impacton our communication landscape.It has forced human beings aswell as businesses to hook on tothe current opportunities (1). Theforemost examples of communication-technology changes are socialmedia. These interactive platformsprovide the online tools to conversefaster and more closely than everbefore.Well-known social media websitessuch as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedInand Hyves are said to offer incrediblebusiness opportunities. No other toolis more effective at putting a humanface on a firm than social media, andno tool is less expensive (2). Keepingup with the latest developments inthis jungle of eternal possibilities isoften argued to be the crucial key forimproving business performance. Therise of social media and online videois transforming the way marketers thinkabout online brand building. Two-waypull media forms will rapidly becomemore important and merge with one-way push media. The new generationhas a different set of expectationsabout the kind of content they willget, where they will get it and whothey will get it from. They want tocontrol their media, instead of beingcontrolled by it.Scientific researchWithin many organizations, theprerequisite for social media seemsto be organizational presence andprogressiveness, though there islimited understanding of how this mayaffect brand equity.BeyenMeyer permanently searchesfor legitimate awareness of theeffective applicability of socialtechnology. Hence, in cooperationwith the University of Groningen, amaster’s thesis research project wasinitiated. Its most important goal wasto provide deep understanding of theopportunities to enforce consumer-brand relations. Professionals beingactive in manifold industries mightvery well have an interest in itsoutcomes.
© 2011 BeyenMeyer. (downloaded at www.beyenmeyer.nl) 4RESEARCH INCENTIVE ANDOBJECTIVESThe importance of understanding theopportunities to enforce consumer-brand relations is in line with a seriesof historical trends in marketingmanagement literature. Firstly,customer relationships have becomemore important than transactions.Secondly, shifts from managerialfocus on customer attraction towardscustomer retention. And thirdly,products have become secondary tosatisfying customers (3).In marketing communications theorymany studies can be found whichaim to describe the consequencesof a specific media type choiceon brand equity. For utilization ofprint, broadcasting and the earliestInternet media, research has gatheredsignificant understanding about theimplications on marketing conceptssuch as brand attitude and brandequity. Brand equity is often broadlydefined as the added value, which abrand brings to a product (4). As theliterature describes, media specificcharacteristics highly influence itsapplicability for influencing brandequity. For social media marketingcommunication, however, the affectson brand equity development lack in-depth theoretical understanding. Thisis mostly due to the relatively youngand emergent new media researchfield. Therefore, it was decidedto investigate the effect of socialmedia marketing communicationsemployment on the strength ofconsumer-brand relationshipsempirically.Study boundariesThe scope of this research enclosesthe applicability of so-called marketer-generated brand communities(MGBCs) in social networking sites,such as Facebook, Twitter and Hyves.Within multiple industries in theNetherlands the influence of socialmedia employment for marketingcommunications on the strength ofconsumer-brand relationships wasempirically researched. Brandsparticipating in this study belonged toeither one of the following prominentindustries; Telecommunications,E-commerce, Consumer retail,Theatre/culture and Holiday/travel.
© 2011 BeyenMeyer. (downloaded at www.beyenmeyer.nl) 5RESEARCH DESIGNBased on a critical review oftheoretical concepts renderingthe strength of consumer-brandrelationships it was decided toinvestigate the influence of socialmedia employment on the level ofbrand attachment. Attachment theoryexamines humans’ tendency to form,maintain and dissolve affectionate tieswith particular others. In a marketingcontext, brand attachment refers tothe strength of the bond connectingthe brand with the self. Prominentscientists have proven that brandattachment offers value over similarconcepts such as brand attitude (5).Predicting, for example, consumerintentions, actual purchase behaviourand brand purchase share will bemore accurate based on brandattachment measurements thancomparable brand equity indicators.Strong brand attachments areconsidered the pinnacle of brandbuilding and are the foundation of acompany’s brand equity (6) .Brand utilitiesPrevious academic studiesinvestigated consumer motivations toengage with brands through marketer-generated brand communities insocial networking sites (7).Four potential drivers of brandattachment within a social mediamarketing communications contextwere derived from their findings.These motivations are conceptualizedas interpersonal-, information-,entertainment- and incentive- utility.Interpersonal utility refers to the valueconsumers receive from initiatingand developing social relationshipswith peer brand users and brandrepresentatives. Information utilitydefines consumer perceived value ofopportunities with regard to gettingand sharing brand-related information.Entertainment utility encloses theextent to which consumers perceivethe brand to be amusing and valuebrand-related entertainment such asgames, downloads and contests.Incentive utility represents consumerperception of brand value with regardto rewards and incentives. Increasedincentive utility arises, for example,from larger possibilities to receivebrand-related discounts, promotionsand samples.The research model displayed theproposed positive relations betweenan increase in the levels of thesebrand utility concepts and brandattachment.“The most successful marketer becomes part of the lives of their followers. They follow back.They wish happy birthday. They handle problems their customers have with products or service.They grow their businesses and brands by involving themselves in their own communities.”- Marsha Collier, speaker and business author -
© 2011 BeyenMeyer. (downloaded at www.beyenmeyer.nl) 6CONSUMER SURVEYIn order to investigate if engagingwith brands over social mediainfluences the levels of theaforementioned brand utilities andbrand attachment accordingly, aquantitative empirical analysis wasconducted.Three different consumer types,participating in the research, weredefined. The first group referredto consumers who are engagedwith a brand through a marketer-generated brand community in asocial networking site. Put differently,these consumers are connected to abrand through ‘liking’ or ‘following’ abrand via social media. The secondgroup consisted of consumers whouse social media but who are notengaged with the brand throughany social website. The third grouprepresented those consumers whoare not (yet) using social mediatechnology.Through an online consumer survey, alarge amount of data was gathered,with regard to the different consumertypes. It included input concerningvarious brands belonging to theindustries of interest.Using SPSS statistics several tests wereconducted in order to measure theutility scores for the different consumertypes as well as to examine thehypothesized interrelations.“New marketing is about the relationships, not the medium.” - Ben Grossman, oprichter van BiGMarK -1: CONSUMERS WHO LIKE/FOLLOW THE BRAND VIA SOCIAL MEDIA2: CONSUMERS WHO USE SOCIAL MEDIA BUT DO NOT LIKE/FOLLOW THE BRAND3: CONSUMERS WHO DO NOT USE SOCIAL MEDIAWCK
© 2011 BeyenMeyer. (downloaded at www.beyenmeyer.nl) 7RESEARCH FINDINGS ANDIMPLICATIONSThe results of this master thesis projectreveal interesting insights upon howsocial media influences relationshipsbetween consumers and brands. Itis among the first scientific studies toprovide conclusive evidence aboutthe effective applicability of socialmedia for marketing communicationspurposes.The findings are translated intoclear and practically usefulrecommendations for brandsbelonging to different branches.It adds to a solid foundation foradvising professionals guessing theadded value of social media for theirorganization. It shows very interestinginsights for those willing to buildand strengthen consumer relations.Whatever your product or service,the more you can build (personal)connections between consumers andthe brand, the more invested yourcustomers will be and the longerthey will stay with you. Based on theresults of this project, social mediacan definitely be worthwhile.INTERNETADVERTISINGBRANDINGRESEARCHPRODUCTSTRATEGY +MARKETING
© 2011 BeyenMeyer. (downloaded at www.beyenmeyer.nl) 8FURTHER INFORMATIONIf you became interested in theoutcomes of this research projector started wondering about theopportunities it might offer you oryour organization, do not hesitateto contact us without commitment.BeyenMeyer gladly elaborates oncompany specific consequences ofthe research findings.Besides this specific research projectBeyenMeyer has developed strongcompetencies in online and socialmedia marketing through experiencein various projects.BeyenMeyer gladly meets you inperson on location, to elaborate onthe research findings and to becomeacquainted with the way in whichyour organization deals with socialmedia. Based on instruments usedin the research project BeyenMeyercan execute a quick-scan in orderto analyse current effectiveness ofsocial media operations and uncoverpotential opportunities.For getting in touch with BeyenMeyerplease use the contact details below.BEYENMEYERRobert VoogelE: firstname.lastname@example.orgPeter HoitingaE: email@example.comT: +31 (0)20 707 3225Weteringschans 981017 XS Amsterdamwww.beyenmeyer.nl
© 2011 BeyenMeyer. (downloaded at www.beyenmeyer.nl) 9ABOUT THE AUTHORDuring his internship at BeyenMeyer,Tom Kelder accomplished thisresearch project. The thesisassignment was the final part ofthe Master’s degree programmeSmall Business & Entrepreneurshipat the University of Groningen,from which he recently graduated.This thesis was awarded with anexcellent assessment (grade A), bythe University of Groningen, whichemphasized its theoretical as well asmanagerial value.ABOUT BEYENMEYERBeyenMeyer is a creative advertisingcompany, situated in Amsterdam.BeyenMeyer has been instigatedin 2005 and grew to a full-serviceoffice, currently employing twentymen and woman. BeyenMeyer isoften recognized for its remarkableexpressions. At all times, theoperations are result-driven.Through research and experienceBeyenMeyer has developed itselfas a very competent and crediblepartner within the online and socialmedia marketing communicationsindustry.
© 2011 BeyenMeyer. (downloaded at www.beyenmeyer.nl) 10REFERENCES1. Users of the world, unite! Thechallenges and opportunities ofSocial Media. Kaplan, AndreasM. and Haenlein, Micheal. 2010,Business Horizons (53), pp. 59-68.2. Building a brand on budget.Ankeny, Jason. Entrepreneur. 2010may, pp. 48-51.3. A company’s current customersprovide the most reliale source offuture revenues and profits. Lemon,Katherine M., Rust, Roland T. andZeithaml, Valeria A. 2001, MarketingManagement, pp. 20-25.4. Conceptualizing, measuringand managing customer-basedbrand equity. Keller, K.L. Journal ofMarketing : s.n., 1993, Journal ofMarketing (57) 1, pp. 1-22.5. Brand Attachment and BrandAttitude Strength: Conceptual andEmpirical Differentiation of TwoCritical Brand Equity Drivers. Park,C. Whan, et al. 2010, Journal ofMarketing (74), pp. 1-17.6. The Role of Service Quality inInfluencing Brand Attachments atWinery Visitor Centers. Thach,Elizabeth Z. and Olsen, Janeen.2006, Journal of Quality Assurancein Hospitality & Tourism (7) 3, pp.55-77.7. An Explorative Study of KoreanConsumer Participation in VirtualBrand Communities in SocialNetwork Sites. Sung, Yongyun, et al.2010, Journal of Global Marketing(23), pp. 430-445.DEFINITIONSBrand attachment - The strength of thebond connecting the brand with theself.Brand-self connection -The cognitive and emotionalconnection between the brand andthe self.Brand prominence - The extent towhich the brand is part of one’smemory and to which it evokesfrequent and consistent thoughts andfeelings.Marketing Communications -Organizational messages or mediaused to communicate with a market.Marketer-Generated BrandCommunity - Brand communities insocial networking sites which areinitiated and funded by marketersin order to build relationships withcurrent and potential consumersBrand equity - Customers’ subjectiveand intangible assessment of thebrand, above and beyond itsobjectively perceived value. Three keydrivers of brand equity are customerbrand awareness, customer brandattitudes, and customer perception ofbrand ethics.This work is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0Unported License.© 2011 BeyenMeyer AmsterdamThe Netherlands