When the IT industry goes social – or just keeps to the idea The aim of this master’s thesis is to examine how the rise of a new media landscape, namely social media, affects, challenges and contributes to corporate branding in business-to-business companies, including identifying barriers in relation to the application of social media. It is undoubtedly an unexplored field of research, which deserves a greater amount of attention than it has received up to the present moment. Accordingly, the theory in this master’s thesis explains and discusses the role of social media in the context of the network society and in brand management disciplines by researching the literature thoroughly with a broad collection of both practitioners and theorists. The purpose of this examination is to contribute to the understanding and identification of the challenges social media put upon today’s companies. During the process of the explanation of the new media paradigm, some key themes were discovered and demanded further investigation. Seemingly, most organizations struggle to build a brand with a distinctive social identity in spite of the fact that, in reality, social media has a lot of associations with traditional ways of doing business in business to business companies. Some of the most significant terms and the very foundation of social media are networking and relations, which have always been the core in business to business companies. Being social online means being connected and engaged to target audiences on different types of social platforms, which of course necessitates keeping an ear closer to the ground. The key to social media is providing value through dialogue and monitoring what people are saying about the company’s brand, which really doesn’t seem that complicated, because social media provides the tools for exactly that purpose. However, it still seems that many companies lack the ability of achieving effectiveness. The foundation of the analysis is therefore based on discovering which aspects of social media can be identified as main barriers of business to business companies’ current management. The reason why this calls for further examination is for the sheer purpose that it is no longer an open question whether brand sociability matters – the question is how well companies manage the new media landscape. Obviously, there will always be a difference in needs depending on the type of business, but social media is, without a doubt, going to be part of both the present and future whether we like it or not. Based on the theoretical part and three interviews with social media experts, the analysis consists of a questionnaire survey completed by 185 business to business companies limited to the Danish IT industry due to the limitation of this thesis. The questionnaire contains aspects of the application of social media, organizational management and viewpoints which assumedly can influence how well companies manage social media and the ability to succeed. To analyze the IT industry, the thesis consists of three different types of analysis. First of all, a frequency analysis that creates an overall image of how the companies manage and apply social media as well as how the companies view social media and how the cultures are composed. Furthermore, there is both a factor and regression analysis which combined have the purpose to generate variables that influence the application of social media. Main results in the analysis The frequency analysis demonstrated that the companies lack a clear understanding of how to use social media for other purposes than one way communication, including dialogue and listening, through different types of social media tools. In relation to the ability of strategic planning, the companies don’t seem to put a lot of emphasis on aspects such as analysis or objectives, which clearly will influence the capacity to measure the business value of social media. Regarding the viewpoints of social media, a lot of the companies embrace the idea of intensifying the usage of social media. They view social media as a tool that potentially can increase business value and competitiveness. However, more than half of the respondents don’t find education necessary, which is problematic. Based on the results, there is a clear indication of the absence of same. On the subject of the composition of cultures, the analysis indicates adaptability to implement social media founded on democratic cultures, where employees are willing to share knowledge and are trusted to take responsibility. Here the factor and regression analysis demonstrated the importance of the understanding of setting objectives as well as showing managerial endorsement and support. Equally important aspects of the application of social media were found to be corporate visions of social media. These aspects can potentially constitute barriers of the application of social media if not fulfilled.
|Educations||MA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||164|