As traditional media falls out of favour, social media has risen to replace it. In order to protect existing investment in brand image and maintain relevancy, it is necessary to engage with the audience in the medium they are using. Social media focuses on the individual and his world. In order to enter this circle it is necessary for company's brand to insert itself into consumer's circle of trust. When brands engage customers in social media, there is an opportunity for dialogue. Dialogue creates trust between the brand and the consumer as long as it is not used for deception. The other benefit of engaging in dialogue with consumers is that the company has opportunity to gain feedback on its activities and products, gain more detailed knowledge and insight about the consumer groups that are attracted to the brand and products, this knowledge can be used effectively in other contexts. The shift from mass media to social media has brought about a fundamental shift in the balance of power between the company and the consumer. Consumers now have the ability to create content and have it consumed by anyone on the planet via blogs, YouTube, twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. When consumers relate their brand experiences, they shape the perception of the brand for other consumers. If the company is not active on social media and does not make its opinion and viewpoint available, then consumers will rely on third parties and award them more credibility. While the brand can no longer fully control the brand's perception and image among consumers, if it is not part of the dialogue then it cannot even influence it. The findings indicate that it is possible for brands to assert a degree of control over their brand image by providing the infrastructure for communities of fans to establish themselves. These brand communities play an essential role in shaping the image of the brand among other consumers, since their opinions are respected by their peers. Providing high quality content, engaging with the community on its own terms enables the brand to influence these opinion leaders, and in this way promote them as brand champions in their respective communities An effective social branding strategy and implementation is a challenging task, since this is a new space where both theories and the reality is changing, brands will have to learn as they go, while respecting simple principles of: building trust, honest and open communication, nurturing the brand communities, and learn from experience what approaches are successful with their particular audience in particular media.
|Educations||MSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||108|