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Introduction

This research provides insight into how the online social medium, such as Facebook, can be utilized to create brand value and awareness within the academic industry and at different points in the value chain from the school services to the end consumer (student) of a service. Whilst there has been research conducted into the use and value of social media such as blogs, wikis, forums and community brand sites to enhance branding, there is very little literature and research that looks at how social networking media such as Facebook can be used to improve branding and marketing efforts, and we aim to explore this area specifically within the academic industry. Whilst there are numerous studies that have researched human behavior in the real world, and still there are differing opinions and theories about human motivations, the information and empirical data gathered o human motivations in the online world is minimal and often borrowed from other disciplines such as sociology and psychology (Preece, 2000). 1 Therefore this thesis reviews existing work that has been conducted into the use of online media for marketing purposes, and also past studies that relate human motivation and community membership, to understand how these are being applied online to the commercial benefit of schools that operate in the academic industry. This work builds on past research that looked at how virtual worlds can be used to enhance brand recognition, from research into how blogging can help online marketing strategies, and how online communities can enhance online brand recognition.

Review of Related Literature


Branding Defined The topic of branding within business and marketing is an established subject and there are many books, publications and literature dedicated to this topic. Despite this, branding, though simple is often a confused word with multiple meanings. According to the American Marketing Association, branding is giving a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them to identify goods or services of a seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors (Kotler, 2003). 2Ibeh, Luo, & Dinnie, 2005 define branding as the process of creating value through the provision of a compelling and consistent offer and customer experience that will satisfy customers and keep them coming back. 3 Back in the early 90s, at a time when branding first came into vogue, its practitioners, branding agencies and corporate marketers, see branding as something apart from advertising. In Eric Anderson s4 book, Social Media Marketing Game Theory and the Emergency of Collaborations (2010), Advertising has been likened to cosmetic surgery whereas branding to neurosurgery. The former is a vehicle that conveys ideas about the brand whereas the latter is an in-depth process of finding self identity that meets their (products, services, and people) consumers expectations.

But unlike surgery, in which the doctors do all the work, branding is a symbiotic process. As what Anderson (2010) puts it, branding occurs when the company s projected self-identity aligns positively with the consumer s projection of the company s identity. Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, perceives branding as a contract a two-way relationship with each customer, based on a set of agreed-upon characteristics. David Ogilvy, the famous consumer ad agency founder, defines brand on its Ogilvy website as a complex symbol and an intangible sum of a product s attributes, its name, packaging and price, its history, reputation and the way it s advertised. It is also a consumer s impression of people who use it, as well as their own experience. 5 But in today s social media landscape where information can be found anywhere and from anyone, establishing a contract between company and a skeptical generation of customers can be challenging because brands can be in fact shaped by customers. As Peter Drucker (1954)6 wrote, (Marketing) is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer s point of view. Despite of this, marketers still have a chance at influencing customer s decision making process it s just a much more crowded market and your share of voice has significantly reduced. This is where the topic online brand management butts in, a term coined during the emergency of Web 2.0. Francois Gossieaux (2009)7 stresses that marketers can get customers embrace a shared view of the brand and product by allowing them to be involved early on the product concept stage. Gossieux adds that those customers who co-created the products are most likely to pay higher prices for those products. French marketing theorist, Jean-Noel Kapferer (2003)8, shows how a two-way conversation should work. In Kapferer s model, represented by a six-sided prism as shown below, brand identity takes place in the territory mutually established between a source (the marketer) and the receiver (the consumer). A brand has both a physical dimension (actual products and people) and emotional dimension (the brand s idea of itself and consumers idea of the brand). The top and bottom portions of the prism are what each side brings to the table. According to Kapferer, the strongest dimension in the prism is the Culture. It represents the difference between one brand and another.

The Six Key Dimensions of Kapferer s Brand Identity Prism y y y y y y Physical facet basis of the brand Personality answers the question what happens to this brand when it becomes a person? Culture symbolizes the organization; its country-of-origin and values it stands for Relationship the handshake between consumer and the organization Reflection consumer s perception for what the brands stands for. Self-image what the consumer thinks of himself

Defining Social Media Since the mid-2000s, social media has become a compelling tool for businesses and organizations due to its two-fold benefits. First, it is a free and easy communication channel to strike up and maintain referrals and relationships with past, present, and future customers; and second, it is a technology to grab and use cleverly to save business cost while improving internal and external communication (MayoSmith 2010)9 The best way to define social media is to break it down. Media is an instrument on communication, like a newspaper or radio, so social media would be a social instrument of communication. Common forms of social media include blogs, social networks, wikis, forums, bookmarks, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, virtual worlds, and micro blogs.

Traditional media is a one-way street drive wherein readers have very limited ability to share their thoughts on the mater whereas social media is a two-way street that provides readers the ability to communicate, too. In Web 2.0, social media has been defined as a website that doesn t directly spoon feed information but interacts with the reader while giving them information. This interaction can be as simple as asking for your comments, or letting you vote on an article, or sharing the information / experience to other people with similar interests. As noted in Larry Weber s book on marketing to the social web, he cites George F. Colony saying, Consumers are using technology to grab power from companies, the media and the government. Marketing to the social web succinctly outlines how institutions can survive and win in this chaotic new world, and layout out the revised rules of engagement ignore them at your peril. 10

Measuring Branding Effectiveness According to Anderson (2010) a company s branding effectiveness is determined by their customers willingness to follow the brand into new arenas i.e. Apple s high degree of alignment has customers follow their products from personal laptops, music players, to mobile phones. A strong, cohesive brand identity allows a company to diversify their products and services because consumers are confident that their good experience across these services will have a common thread. -----

As social media sites and tools evolve, so too will their impact on information / products and consumer s relationship to the products. The interplay among platforms will evolve and even now new partnerships and content sharing are being developed.

Preece, J. (2000). Online Communities: Designing Usability, Supporting Sociability. Wiley, USA. Chichester.
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Kotler, P. Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control. 11th Edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. 2003.
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Ibeh, K.I.N., Luo, Y., & Dinnie, K. (2005). E-branding Strategies of Internet Companies: Some Preliminary Insights from the UK Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 12 Issue 5, p355-373 Anderson, Eric. Social Media Marketing Game Theory and the Emergence of Collaboration. New York: Springer, 2010.
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About Ogilvy, Ogilvy China, accessed June 23, 2011, http://www.ogilvy.com.cn/about_ogilvy_china/home.html

Drucker, Peter F. The Practice of Management. New York: Harper & Row, Publishing. 1954.

Gossieaux, Francois. Brand Positioning Takes on a New Meaning in a Hyper-Social World, EmergencyMarketing.com, accessed June 23, 2011, http://www.emergencemarketing.com/2009/11/10/brand-positioning-takes-on-a-new-meaning-in-ahyper-social-world/
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Kapferer, Jean-Noel. Strategic Brand Management. 2nd edition. London, UK: Kogan Page. 1997.

Mayo-Smith, Debbie. What Social Media Really Is. Auckland, New Zealand: May 2010. Vol. 24, Iss. 4; p. 63 (1 page)
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Weber, Larry. Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007