The Role of Online Brand Community and Social Networks in Corporate Brand Development: A focus on the machinery equipment industry

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Purpose – This paper aims to explore online brand communities on social media platforms, built by B2B companies in the machinery equipment industry, and how these virtual spaces can contribute to relationship marketing and corporate brand building. Design/methodology/approach – The paper adopts both literature review and a multiple case study approach of two companies, Caterpillar and John Deere, in order to provide in-depth understanding and new insights. The data consists of the analysis of both companies’ three main social networks, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Findings – The study shows that there are specific benefits for B2B companies when using social networks based on the type of channel the firm uses. Besides, building and maintaining brand presence in social networks helps B2B companies raise brand awareness and reinforce the core values for building a strong brand identity. Research limitations/Future research – The limitations of this paper include that only two companies were analyzed using case study research, examining a small sample for data collection. Future research should also acknowledge the company’s perspective for insight. Theoretical implications – This paper fulfills the research gap of online brand communities established by B2B companies, especially in the mechanical equipment industry, on social media platforms. Practical implications – This research assists as a guide for managers to take a proactive online response to online brand community members’ activity in order to strengthen the relationship between the company and the brand community, as well as facilitate community recruitment. Originality/Value – This study fills a gap in previous research on the contribution of online brand communities and social networks in B2B companies’ relationship marketing strategy and corporate brand building

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