Cultural Branding in the Age of Social Media

Bolette Løvgreen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Rapidly advancing interactive communication technologies and social media platforms increasingly have an unprecedented and unavoidable impact on both the marketing field, brands and consumers, as digital connectivity is facilitated. An increased availability and access to information has made viral strategies a defining strategy within the field of marketing, which consequently has experienced a radical shift in the consumer-company relation, as consumers increasingly take a more active role by engaging in brand messages to co-create value. Via social media, cultural brands now have the opportunity to increase their visibility and power, but consumers are also empowered by these platforms. Due to this development, cultural branding needs to probe the operation and implications of this new environment to continuously remain relevant and powerful.

The purpose of this master’s thesis is thus to is to provide an updated assessment of Douglas Holt’s cultural branding theory presented in ‘How Brands Become Icons’ (Holt, 2004) and examine the interdisciplinary possibilities of integrating viral marketing strategies in the cultural branding model. The aim is to bring the complexity of the co-created experience of brands into marketing research and to provide new research in the field of cultural branding where research is relatively nascent – particularly given the ever-changing nature of social media.

The findings show that Millennials do use the constellation of viral marketing and cultural branding to create value and push their ideologies, and that there are interdisciplinary prospective opportunities by integrating viral marketing in the cultural branding model introduced by Holt (2004). Whilst viral strategies generate virality, and not directly create an identity myth or an iconic brand, it was found that the flow of cultural anxieties are shared amongst Millennials via E-WOM, and that it may aid the authenticity of the identity myth and thus amplify its power. Viral strategies used on social media facilitate the opportunity for consumers to co-create value, which may create an even more powerful identity myth than a brand can create on its own.

EducationsCand.ling.merc Erhvervssprog og International Erhvervskommunikation (Multikulturel Kommunikation i Organisationer), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages165
SupervisorsTilde Heding