Today’s consumers seem to be targets of mass communication and difficult to reach as they are exposed to a lot of advertising through multiple channels. As a consequence of this the effects of advertising on people are decreasing. More and more companies find consumers hard to reach through traditional media. Therefore, companies are now investigating new channels for reaching consumers along with creative content.
The purpose of this thesis is to investigate a new marketing discipline called viral marketing. Viral marketing is an electronic marketing strategy, which is based on the principles of wordof-mouth marketing. The central element of this strategy is that it is received and sent by the consumers, which can make a viral campaign uncontrollable for a company. A viral campaign can be spread in two ways: either by having a positive or negative impact on the consumer. This thesis will examine viral campaigns and its effect on the companies’ brand and the individual consumer. There will be shed light on three different video-campaigns that went viral on Facebook.
In relation to the above, viral marketing will in this paper be analyzed to determine if it can be used as a cultural branding tool. This cultural branding approach will be used to investigate whether these viral campaigns can contribute to the brand value and thereby create a higher identity value, which can make the consumers use the brand to express their own identity. This thesis is based on a social constructivist approach and qualitative methods. In order to answer the research question, there will be used qualitative interviews and a netnographic research on the three campaigns’ Facebook comments.
The findings of the three case studies, qualitative interviews and netnographic research show that viral video campaigns can have a positive, negative or neutral effect on a company’s brand, depending on the attitudes of their customers, and the relationship between the videos’ message and their products. The effects of the viral video campaigns can change the consumer’s perception of the brand to the extent that they want to use the brand more, or not use it again after watching the viral videos. In addition, the findings also show that even though a viral campaign only receives positive feedback, it does not always lead to a positive effect on the brand. Based on the thesis analysis, it can be concluded that viral video campaigns can be advantageously used to create a cultural brand, as consumers use these campaigns to express their own opinions and identity on Facebook.
Finally, viral video campaigns can be used as a cultural branding tool, as it contributes to a brand’s cultural expression and has the potential to create a lot of publicity and to be used by consumers to extend their identity. Additionally, viral video campaigns will be used to extend consumers’ online identity and not their offline identity. However, the findings also show that the consumers are yet to be convinced fully in order to buy the company´s product and use the brand in their daily lives.
|Educations||MSc in Organisational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||108|