How to Maintain Brand Authenticity on Facebook

Simon Skougaard Frandsen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The purpose of the study is twofold. First and foremost, to obtain a deeper understanding of how brand authenticity is interpreted from a Danish consumer perspective. This with the aim of identifying how the international textile brand FRAAS, can maintain brand authenticity on Facebook. And further, to identify how these consumers, through the use of Facebook’s interaction features, influence the maintenance of the brand authenticity.
Consumers are increasingly demanding authentic brands, which is a result of the society’s development. Authentic brands are vital for the individual’s identity creation process, which from a company perspective has resulted in brands being an important positioning parameter. Brand authenticity is created in the interaction between the consumer, the company and the cultural context. With this in mind, Facebook has become an integral part of consumer communication habits, which is why a brand’s presence in this universe is of great importance for a company’s success. Nevertheless, the digital communication paradigm challenges the maintenance of a brand’s authenticity, which is a result of user's increased power online.
This study seeks to reach theoretical foundation for the empirical investigation by applying a theoretical framework that deals comprehensively with brand authenticity, credibility, social media communications and e-WOM theories. The empirical data is gathered through qualitative methods, such as in-depth interviews, and a focus group interview. Using these data collection methods, allow for nuanced data that contribute to a deeper understanding of the scope of the study.
In conclusion this study reveals; brand heritage, quality commitment, craftsmanship, nostalgia, design consistency and cultural symbolism are authenticity-creating values that promote authentic imaginations in the mind of consumers. A brand’s Facebook page is the foundation for the maintenance of the values representing authenticity because it largely reflects credibility. However, credibility is subject to how a given brand communicates its content, and whether or not the content reach consensus with consumers’ expectations. Within consumers’ minds, content that has a commercial purpose create untrustworthiness, which serves as a threat to the maintenance of brand authenticity. Contrarily, the interaction features facilitated on Facebook, as these exclusively generate positive e-WOM resulting in strengthened brand credibility, affect a brand’s authenticity positively. Finally, it should be mentioned that consumers utilize several cognitive heuristics to evaluate the credibility of the information they receive in a Facebook context, thus influencing brand authenticity.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2016
Number of pages238