[en-geyj-muh nt] : How are Brands Engaging and Building Relationships with Fans and Customers in Social Media?
How much is a brand worth? Brand equity is a measurement that reflects brand valuation, and is built through a brand’s various products, actions and activities. According to the Consumer Based Brand Equity (CBBE) model, the epitome of equity is achieved when the brand and the people are in a relationship, when the brand resonates with people. Until a few years back, most of this relationship played out in real life, but the arrival of new media and social media in particular is changing this.
Brands are migrating into the realm of social media where people are socialising like never before. People move to social media, and so to maintain a relationship with them brands need to be there too. However, how do they go about engaging with people in these relatively unchartered waters? Is there a formula, a strategy that fits all? This study examines how brands work to maintain relationships with people in social media through looking at Social CRM and strategies that encourage participation and involvement. It aims to see whether there are differences in how different brand types manage their relationship with fans on the largest and most extensive social networking site, Facebook.
Brands satisfy consumer needs and these influence consumer purchase decisions. The brand types investigated correspond to the different levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as it is the most cited and respected categorisation available. This means that a wide variety of brand are eligible for the investigation as long as their primary use is to satisfy one of the needs described by Maslow. The investigation takes the shape of a content analysis of 20 brands from four need categories (physiological, safety, behavioural, and ego), accompanied by a case study of one of these brands to illustrate the points made based on the quantitative data.
What the data showed was that brands in general primarily focus on content rather than contact and collaboration in their engagement plans. Content is least time intensive and also easily involves the 90 percent of people that are categorises as lurkers. Two-way communication is encouraged but it varies between brand types. Brands within the safety need category were most open to two-way communication and also used it for customer service purposes. Collaboration is encouraged in social media but it is still used very sparsely, physiological brands being the most open to collaboration. However, the collaboration is more often cause-related than brand product/service-related.
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