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Dr. Ritu Narang

Krishn Pal Singh (JRF)


Roughly a decade ago, when Wikipedia was founded in 2001, the number of people who
believed in the concept was only small and only few could imagine it to become a success story.
Today Wikipedia counts 20 million articles and 400 million unique visitors per month, which
makes it, de facto, the key information provider on the internet. But social media is much
broader than simply collaborative projects such as Wikipedia and also includes blogs and micro-
blogs (e.g. Twitter), content communities (e.g. YouTube), social networking sites (e.g.
Facebook), virtual game worlds (e.g. World of Warcraft), and virtual social worlds (e.g. Second
Life). Social media employ mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive
platforms via which individuals and communities share, cocreate, discuss, and modify user-
generated content. The advent of Web 2.0 has created new ways to communicate, collaborate
and share content (Enders, Hungenberg, Denker, & Mauch, 2008). Statistics from NielsenWire
(2010) show that in 2009, social media and specifically, social networking sites (SNS) such as
such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn, were a popular online activity in terms of
average time spent. Currently, there are more than 150 SNS; in 2009, Facebook was ranked first
in terms of popularity, with 206.9 million unique visitors globally (NielsenWire, 2010). Social
media, also known as „user-generated communication‟, now represents a prevalent source of
information; it has changed the tools and strategies companies use to communicate, highlighting
that information control now lies with the customer (Mangold & Faulds, 2009).
In 2008, companies invested more than 1.54 billion dollars for the implementation and support
of social media communications. This growth in social media seems unlimited so far (Trusov et
al., 2009), as the investments in social media are expected to increase to more than three billion
dollars per year by 2013 (Kozinets et al., 2010). Finally, today‟s customers are more powerful
and busy; therefore, company should be reachable and available in every social media
communication channel such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums at any time (Gordhamer,
2009). In this context, Godes and Mayzlin (2004) demonstrate that social media platforms are a
cost-effective and simple alternative to accessing and gathering consumer-to-consumer
Due to the popularity and ability of virtual communities or groups to connect different
likeminded people and businesses (Hagel & Armstrong, 1997; Wellman & guilia, 1999), some
industry sages and researchers enthusiastically encourage business to be present in social media
and to take advantage of it if they are to survive (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Despite the
importance of branding and the high adoption rate of social media, very few specific, empirical
studies (e.g., Hsu & Tsou,2011) have dealt with these issues. Most studies connecting marketing
and branding in social media include descriptive narratives of social media, its definition,
characteristics and consequently some advice and strategies for marketers and businesses in
taking advantage of its opportunities and overcoming its challenges (Edelman, 2010; Hanna,
Rohm, & Crittenden,2011). So there is an important need in the literature to explore the effects
of branding on marketing variables related to social media. There are seven different approaches
for managing the brand. These are economic approach, identity approach, consumer-based
approach, personality approach, relational approach, community approach and cultural approach.
The present study focuses on identity, consumer-based and community approaches and
managing these approaches through social media.

Social media-
Social media, defined as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and
technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-
generated content” (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010), have changed the life of individuals and
corporations alike (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2010). The viral diffusion of information through social
media has a far greater capacity to reach the public than “short tail” – media such as TV, radio,
and print advertisements (Keller, 2009).
Social media marketing is different than traditional methods of marketing; therefore, it requires
special attention and strategy building to achieve brand image and loyalty. Social media
marketing is related to relationship marketing where the firms need to shift from “trying to sell”
to “making connections” with the consumers (Gordhamer, 2009). Social media marketing is also
more sincere in its communication with the consumers, trying to show what the brand is rather
than trying to control its image.
Simon and Sullivan (1993) identify marketing communications as one of the sources driving
brand equity. Yoo et al. (2000) show in their study that marketing communications exert a
positive influence on perceived brand quality as well as on brand loyalty, brand associations, and
brand awareness. The results show that word of mouth referrals positively influence membership
growth and have a substantially longer carryover effect than traditional marketing activities. In
this context, Stephen and Galak (2009) investigate how social media (e.g. online discussion
forums and blogs) and traditional media (e.g. print media articles and TV coverage) affect sales,
identified by the number of loans and the size of loans allocated to new and existing members of
a micro-financing website. They demonstrate that both social and traditional media have strong
effects on marketing performance.
Social media also known as „user-generated communication‟, now represents a prevalent source
of information; it has changed the tools and strategies companies use to communicate,
highlighting that information control now lies with the customer (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). A
study by Cone (2008) shows that 93% of social media users believe that companies should have
a social media presence, while 85% of them think that companies should interact with customers
via SNS. Companies have now penetrated the online social networking scene, offering direct
links from their corporate websites to Facebook and Twitter, and use these tools to promote
brands and support the creation of brand communities (Kalpan & Haenlein, 2010). Recent
statistics show that advertising spending on Facebook and Myspace is expected to reach 605 m
dollar and 435 m dollar respectively for 2010, whilst a significant portion of this spending will
go towards building and maintaining a social network presence (Williamson, 2009). Despite the
popularity of SNS, their importance in shaping commercial online interaction (Mislove, Marcon,
Gummadi, Druschel & Bhattacharjee, 2007) and their potential to support brands
(Christodoulides, 2009), research is limited in social media and focus on B2C. The present study
tries to analyze the use of social media for managing brand elements like- brand awareness,
brand identity & brand image.

Brand management
A significant feature of contemporary marketing research and practice concerns the emergence
of brands as key organizational assets. This recognition, reflected in the increasing centrality of
brands in marketing research (Malhotra, Peterson and Kleiser 1999) and managerial practice
(Aaker 1996; Murphy 1998), results from the confluence of both theoretical advances in the
fields of strategic management and marketing and the redefinition of extant competitive
conditions. The future of many companies lies in brands (Urde,1994). They help consumers
maneuver a market cluttered with innumerous brands, act as risk reducers, reduce purchase
dissonance, and have self expressive benefits (Aaker, 1996). Brands are often referred to as the
most valuable asset for a firm (Keller & Lehmann, 2003).
A brand can help in the identification of one item, a family of items, or all the items that a seller
may possess (Bennett, 1988). Brands are both the mark on the product and the overall value of
both functional and emotional nature (Kapferer, 2001). The functional and emotional values of a
brand can be described as a promise of future satisfaction (Berry, 2000). The American
Marketing Association (1960) has defined a brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol, design or a
combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers
and to differentiate them from those of competition”. Even though the definition might still be
relevant, it does not cover the intangible aspects that are important for creating value and
building relationships (Aaker, 1996). Whereas, de Chernatony (2001b) defines a corporate brand
as “a cluster of functional and emotional values which promises stakeholders a particular
experience”. The definition focuses on the intangible attributes (i.e., functional and emotional
values) of the brand, which are more relevant as compared to tangible attributes. While the first
definition only considers brands for products, the second definition can be applied to the product
or corporate level. The holistic perspective on brand management is shared by Harris and de
Chernatony (2001), who argue that all members of an organization must behave according to the
brand identity. A key difference between a corporate brand and a product brand is that
responsibility for the former lies at a higher level in the organization (Balmer, 2001). The
corporate brand is communicated to stakeholders through various facets, while a product brand is
primarily communicated to customers through advertising (Hatch & Schultz, 2003). Another
important difference is that product brands tend to become similar over time (Aaker, 2004). An
organization, on the other hand, is uniquely different from other organizations. Similarly, Harris
and de Chernatony (2001) claim that one of the key differences between managing product
brands and corporate brands is that the latter requires greater focus within the organization and
thus greater coordination of activities.

De Chernatony (1999) suggests that brand management can help bridge the gap between a
brand‟s image/identity and its reputation. Brand management is the process of creating,
coordinating and monitoring interactions that occur between an organization and its stakeholders
(Schultz and Barnes 1999), such that there is consistency between an organization „vision and
stakeholders‟ beliefs about a brand. It is important that organizations initially focus their efforts
on creating an appropriate brand image that has a niche in the market place. As the brand (and
organization) grows, managerial emphasis should shift toward making a brand memorable,
ensuring that positive brand associations can readily be recalled by consumers and reinforcing
the link between a brand (image) and other products within a company‟s portfolio (Farquhar
1989; Park, Jaworski, and MacInnis 1986). Regardless of whether an organization is comprised
of a singular or multiple brands, it is necessary that marketing efforts be directed toward
establishing and maintaining a positive brand image in the minds of key stakeholders.
Ultimately, this can contribute to the development of a favorable corporate reputation (de
Chernatony 1999). According to paradigm thinking (Burrel 1996; Kuhn 1996) four core
perspectives on brand management were identified- product paradigm, adaptive paradigm,
projective paradigm and relational paradigm. Within product perspective marketing management
is focused on the marketing mix, with the product emerging as its core dimension (Kotler 1991).
Within the projective paradigm brand management is enacted through the creation, development
and communication of a coherent brand identity (Kapferer 1992; Aaker 1996). The adaptive
paradigm posits a diametrical approach to brand management stressing the role of consumers as
central constructors of brand meaning. This approach resonates a spectrum of consumer centered
brand definitions ranging from brands as shorthand devices to brands as images (de Ghernatony
and Dall'Olmo Riley 1998a). Relational perspectives conceptualize brand management as an
ongoing dynamic process, without a clear beginning and ending, in which brand value and
meaning is co-created through interlocking behaviors, collaboration and competition between
organizations and consumers (Putnam, Phillips and Chapman 1996).

The focus of identity approach is the brand as linked to corporate identity. The economic
approach lays the foundation for brand management as an independent scientific discipline, but
one more stream of research is also influential during the first years of this inquiry. This
approach behind the notion of corporate branding is the second oldest one in this context, but is
still very influential and under constant theoretical development. Especially in the European
research environment the brand as linked with corporate identity is a very influential school of
thought. Focusing on corporate identity, the brand is also primarily perceived as an entity
„owned‟ by the marketer (even though that perception has changed in recent years). Integration
of the brand on all organizational levels is key in the management of the brand. The marketer (as
corporation) is in charge of brand value creation. Processes of organizational culture and
corporate construction of identity are key influences. The core theme of the identity approach is
brand identity. Brand identity is made up of four components: organizational identity, corporate
identity, image and reputation. The four supporting themes can be divided into two main
categories: the internal and the external elements of brand identity. Corporate identity and
organizational identity are supporting themes representing theories used for the creation and
maintenance and research of brand identity internally. The two supporting themes, image and
reputation, represent theories used to build, manage and research brand identity externally. The
present focus on creating and maintaining external brand identity.

The consumer-based approach identified brand as linked with consumer associations. In
1993 Kevin Lane Keller founded a completely new approach to brand management. The brand is
perceived as a cognitive construal in the mind of the consumer. It is assumed that a strong brand
holds strong, unique and favorable associations in the minds of consumers. In this fashion,
attention shifts from the sender towards the receiving end of brand communication. The
consumer is the „owner‟ of the brand in this approach, but still an assumption of linear
communication applies. The consumer perspective of this approach is rooted in cognitive
psychology, and in this tradition the computer is the main metaphor for man as a consumer. This
consumer perspective implies linear communication because the marketer is perceived to be able
to „program‟ the consumer into intended action. This school of thought has since become the
most dominant one in brand management. The focus of this approach is on consumer based
brand equity. Customer-based brand equity is defined as the differential effect of brand
knowledge on consumer response to the marketing of the brand (Keller 1993, p. 2). In order to
measure whether a brand has customer-based brand equity, brand knowledge has to be mapped,
implying that brand awareness and brand image – in the mind of the individual consumer – have
to be measured. Brand awareness is a prerequisite for customer-based brand equity. If the
consumer is not aware of the brand, it is not relevant to talk about brand equity in the first place;
then the company competes on the product rather than the brand. Brand awareness consists of
brand recognition and brand recall.

In community approach brand is suppose to pivotal point of social interaction. The
community approach is based on anthropological research into so-called brand communities.
Brand value is created in these communities where a brand serves as the pivotal point of social
interaction among consumers. This approach thus adds an understanding of the social context of
consumption to the overall picture of brand management. This understanding has become a
prerequisite for managing many brands, especially after the Internet has profoundly changed the
market place. The brand communities are social entities that reflect the situated embeddedness of
brands in the day-to-day lives of consumers and the ways in which brands connect consumer to
brand, and consumer to consumer‟ (Muñiz and O‟Guinn 2001, p. 418). Muñiz and
O‟Guinn(2005) pinpointed the existence of brand communities, when they observed: „active and
meaningful negotiation of the brand between consumer collectives and market institutions. In the
community approach, the marketer deals with „autonomous‟ groups of consumers who are able
to collectively influence marketing actions and potentially „take over‟ the brand and take it into a
direction not at all intended by the marketer. The field of brand management has come a long
way from the assumptions of linear communication behind the earlier approaches to accepting
the chaotic autonomous consumer forces in this approach.

After review of the existing literature on brand management it was found that the brand manages
by different perspective like- identity approach, personality approach, community approach &
relational approach. Consumers are turning away from traditional media such as TV, radio, or
magazines and are increasingly using social media to search for information (Mangold and
Faulds, 2009). So, social media play an important role to create a link between company and
consumer. The present study focuses on usefulness of social media in managing brands.

The broad objective of the study is to understand the role of social media in managing the brand
and; how can social media be beneficial for companies in competitive environment.

The main hypothesis of research is as follows-
Social media have positive effect on brand management in terms of identity approach,
community approach and consumer-based approach.

This Research will employ mixed method approach. Data will be primary and secondary both
and collected by questionnaire survey and interview method. Our target population consists of
person who handles the brand management activity like- brand manager, person managing brand
related activities and brand community users. In terms of internet users India at 3
position in
the world with 151,598,994 users in 2012. The growing popularity of social media gives
opportunity to companies gain competitive advantage. Sample size would be as per the
requirement of the study. For the present study Indian consumer durable goods sector companies
are in focus for analysis. For analyzing data appropriate statistical tool would be used.

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