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Shahriyar Humbatov

Brand Management
with Social Media
In Service Industry

Anchor Academic Publishing


disseminate knowledge

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Humbatov, Shahriyar: Brand Management with Social Media: In Service Industry.
Hamburg, Anchor Academic Publishing 2015

Buch-ISBN: 978-3-95489-483-3
PDF-eBook-ISBN: 978-3-95489-983-8
Druck/Herstellung: Anchor Academic Publishing, Hamburg, 2015

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Cover design: Anna Klöhn

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I. ABSTRACT

It is highly important to highlight that nowadays the digital age drives the
enterprises to focus more on the social media platforms, because the social
media has enabled the customers to engage with the brand products / services.
The social media platforms such as social networks, blogging, microblogging,
photo and video sharing support brand managers to create relevant contents to
promote the brand facilities / amenities. The deliberately designed social media
campaigns can help the firms to generate brand awareness and brand loyalty
with the help of the social media tools such as Facebook (social networks),
Twitter (microblogging), Instagram (photo sharing), YouTube (video sharing)
and WordPress (blogging).

The fundamental purpose of the chosen thesis topic is to validate whether the
social media platforms / tools can in fact be effective as a marketing tool or not.
To be more precise, this study aims to shed light on and investigate the
relationship between the social media and brand equity, especially brand
awareness and brand loyalty. The interest to uncover above mentioned
relationship led to build overarching research question and sub-questions,
which permit to dig deeper to discover the impact of the social media platforms /
tools on raising brand awareness and loyalty:

MQ. How to manage brand awareness and brand loyalty through social media
effectively in the hospitality industry?

SQ1. What are the roles of social media tools in creating brand awareness?

SQ2. How to build brand loyalty through the social media platforms?

Based on these research questions exploratory and explanatory approaches


have been taken into consideration. The qualitative research methodology and
case study method has been chosen to answer these questions. Certainly,
without the data collection method the necessary information could not be
gathered. The secondary data was collected from available literature in the
academic world. The designed questionnaire is used to gather primary data.
The information, which questionnaire disclosed, helped the author to compare
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the findings of secondary data with the primary data. In the first phase, the data
is analysed in order to find the influence of social media platforms on brand
awareness and loyalty. In the second phase, the designed models are
compared with the results of the case company’s activities on the social web
As a result, it was found out that in fact the social media platforms / tools have
an impact on generating the brand awareness and loyalty as well as they can
be immensely effective tools to design social media strategy. Moreover, it has
been depicted that the social media supports businesses to create relevant
content and attract people to engage with brand product / service and with this
way to expand the visibility of the brand to make customers aware about brand
presence in the market. Furthermore, to keep customers loyal to the brand
companies should use the power of social media to create powerful content to
engage with customers and allow them to experience the brand product /
service in an online. The results of analyses also exposed that rewards
(financial or nonfinancial) can boost the revisit of the brand followers back to
website and engage with the brand product / service.

Keywords: Brand, service brand, brand equity, brand awareness, brand loyalty,
social media, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, WordPress, Fairmont
Baku, content strategy, engagement, visibility, customer experience, loyalty
program.

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II. TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. ABSTRACT .................................................................................................. 1

II. TABLE OF CONTENTS ............................................................................... 3

III. LIST OF FIGURES AND GRAPHS ........................................................... 6

IV. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ....................................................................... 7

1. INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................... 8

1.1 Scope of the research ............................................................................ 9

1.1.1 Purpose of the study ..................................................................... 10

1.1.2 Research questions....................................................................... 10

1.2 Structure of the study ........................................................................... 10

1.3 Delimitations ........................................................................................ 12

1.4 Introduction to methodology .................................................................... 13

2. LITERATURE REVIEW .............................................................................. 13

2.1 What is a Brand? ................................................................................. 14

2.2 Brand equity as an asset ..................................................................... 16

2.2.1 Brand awareness .......................................................................... 19

2.2.2 Brand loyalty ................................................................................. 21

2.3 Service brand theory ............................................................................ 26

2.3.1 Concept and characteristics of services ........................................ 26

2.4 Social media defined............................................................................ 31

2.5 Social media platforms......................................................................... 35

2.5.1 Social networks ............................................................................. 35

2.5.2 Microblogging ................................................................................ 39

2.5.3 Photo sharing ................................................................................ 42

2.5.4 Video sharing ................................................................................ 44

2.5.5 Blogging ........................................................................................ 47

2.6 Brand awareness and social media ..................................................... 49

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2.7 Brand loyalty and social media ............................................................ 50

3. METHODOLOGY ....................................................................................... 52

3.1 Research design .................................................................................. 54

3.1.1 Research approach ....................................................................... 54

3.1.1.1 Exploratory approach .............................................................. 55

3.1.1.2 Explanatory approach ............................................................. 55

3.1.2 Research methodology ................................................................. 55

3.1.2.1 Qualitative ............................................................................... 56

3.1.3 Research strategy ......................................................................... 57

3.1.3.1 Case study method ................................................................. 58

3.1.4 Data collection ............................................................................... 59

3.1.4.1 Secondary data and empirical material sources ..................... 60

3.1.4.2 Primary data and empirical material sources .......................... 61

4. DATA ANALYSIS ....................................................................................... 62

4.1 The impact of social media platforms on brand awareness ................. 62

4.1.1 Facebook as a tool ........................................................................ 63

4.1.2 Twitter as a tool ............................................................................. 65

4.1.3 Instagram as a tool ........................................................................ 66

4.1.4 YouTube as a tool ......................................................................... 68

4.1.5 WordPress as a tool ...................................................................... 70

4.2 The impact of social media platforms on brand loyalty ........................ 71

4.2.1 Facebook as a tool ........................................................................ 72

4.2.2 Twitter as a tool ............................................................................. 73

4.2.3 Instagram as a tool ........................................................................ 74

4.2.4 YouTube as a tool ......................................................................... 75

4.2.5 WordPress as a tool ...................................................................... 76

5. CASE COMPANY ...................................................................................... 78

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5.1 The moments to the memories ............................................................ 79

5.1.1 Philosophy ..................................................................................... 79

5.1.2 History ........................................................................................... 80

5.1.3 Corporate responsibility................................................................. 81

5.2 Social media activities.......................................................................... 82

6. THE CASE COMPANY ANALYSIS ............................................................ 83

6.1 Usage of social media platforms in creating brand awareness ............ 84

6.2 Usage of social media platforms in building brand loyalty.................... 87

7. CONCLUSION ........................................................................................... 90

7.1 Study findings ...................................................................................... 90

7.2 Conclusion ........................................................................................... 92

7.3 Future research suggestions ............................................................... 94

7.4 Recommendations ............................................................................... 95

8. LIST OF REFERENCES ............................................................................ 97

Books, articles and essays ............................................................................ 97

Internet sources ............................................................................................. 99

V. APPENDIX ............................................................................................... 117

VI. STATUTORY DECLARATION .............................................................. 122

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III. LIST OF FIGURES AND GRAPHS

Table 1: Brand functions ................................................................................... 15

Table 2: Different approaches to measuring brand equity ................................ 17

Figure 1: The Loyalty Pyramid .......................................................................... 23

Figure 2: Outcome of customer loyalty ............................................................. 26

Table 3: Comparing goods and services ........................................................... 27

Figure 3: Four services characteristics ............................................................. 29

Table 4: Major differences between traditional and social media ...................... 32

Figure 4: Social media penetration ................................................................... 34

Figure 5: Attention levels on TV and YouTube ................................................. 46

Table 5: The differences between qualitative and quantitative methodology .... 56

Figure 6: Sources of secondary data ................................................................ 60

Graph 1: In-stream and in-display ads .............................................................. 69

Graph 2: Linde Werdelin on Instagram ............................................................. 74

Graph 3: WordPress Appearance sidebar ........................................................ 77

Graph 4: WordPress Media and Links sidebar ................................................. 77

Graph 5: Panoramic view of Fairmont Baku and Baku city ............................... 80

Graph 6: Fairmont Baku and old Inner City ....................................................... 81

Graph X: Fairmont Baku and Caspian Sea ....................................................... 81

Graph 8: Name this location option on Fairmont Baku Instagram account ....... 86

Figure 7: Brand awareness and social media relations ..................................... 90

Figure X: Brand loyalty and social media relations ........................................... 91

Figure 9: Brand awareness and social media relations, Fairmont Baku ........... 91

Figure 10: Brand loyalty and social media relations, Fairmont Baku ................. 92

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IV. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

AMA American Marketing Association

B2B Business-to-business

CSR Corporate social responsibility

FO Front office

FRHI Fairmont Raffles Hotels International

LW Linde Werdelin

MIPIM Le marché international des professionnels de l’immobilier

P&G Procter and Gamble

PR Public relations

ROI Return on investment

SME Small and medium enterprises

UK The United Kingdom

USA The United States of America

WWW World wide web

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1. INTRODUCTION

Brands with the higher product / service components, as per Professor Leslie
de Chernatony (cited in Pickton and Broderick, 2005), consist of the strength of
the brands which are the essential prosperity of the organisation. Brands create
a value for both customers and firms (Keller, 2008). According to Clifton et al.
(2009), strong brand positioning creates unique competitive advantages and
helps organisations to work effectively and efficiently.

In Fortune Magazine, which is published in 1997 (cited in Clifton et al., 2009, p.


17) the future importance of branding has already been mentioned as follow: ‘In
the twenty-first century, branding ultimately will be the only unique differentiator
between companies. Brand equity is now a key asset’. Brand equity is highly
important, because it significantly increases profitability (Kim and Kim, 2005
cited in Kayaman and Arasli, 2007) and it has a great potential to create the
value to customers in building confidence, boosting buying capability as well as
to create the value to enterprises by building brand loyalty, developing effective
and efficient marketing position, improving profit margins and so on (Bagozzi,
Rosa, Celly and Coronel, 1998 cited in Pekka, 1999). Aaker (1996, pp. 7-8)
defines brand equity as ‘a set of brand assets and liabilities linked to a brand, its
name and symbol, that add to or subtract from the value provided by a
product or service to a firm and / or to the firm's customers’. As per Aaker
(1991) brand equity has following assets and liabilities: brand awareness,
perceived quality, brand associations, brand loyalty, other proprietary brand
assets. All these categories provide the value for customers as well as firms
(Aaker, 1991).

Brand awareness, being the first component of brand equity, has a great impact
on the presence in the consumer’s mind (Aaker, 1996) and replacing the brand
in and selecting the brand from the consideration set (Macdonald and Sharp,
2000, 2003). It is believed that the retention of existing customer is less costly
than acquiring the new one. That is why the strategic approach is necessary in
order to build a relationship between customer and firm which the former later
on turns to be a loyal consumer to the brand. The loyal customer creates brand

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loyalty. According to Aaker (1991, 1996), brand loyalty, by being basis of brand
equity, generates profit and sales to the firm. According to one study, both
brand awareness and brand loyalty have a strong positive association with
purchase (Malik et al., 2013) and revisit intentions (Kim, Jin-Sun and Kim,
2008).

Research carried by Nielsen highlights that the number of online users, who are
willing to take a purchasing decision, is seeking for online product reviews,
recommendations from discussion forums or feedback from social media sites
are more than two-thirds of overall global internet users (Interbrand, 2012). By
supporting this idea Rubbinstein and Griffiths (Interbrand, 2012) argue about
the impact of social media on building a brand personality and creating a
constant relationship between business and consumer.

In order to build and sustain brand loyalty online, companies should understand
and manage digital conversations, reviews and create true experience online for
consumers (Interbrand, 2012). According to The AMA Marketing Watch (2013),
social media channels such as video and photo sharing, blogs, microblogs,
email, social networks, etc. are the main tools to enhance overall brand
awareness.

1.1 Scope of the research

The social media with the hundreds of millions of internet users has a great
potential to reach to a large audience in order to establish brand awareness.
This study intends to show the impact of social software applications those are
essential in building loyalty between the customer and the company.
Furthermore, social media is a virtual space where people search for
entertainment, fun and valuable information to share with the others. Therefore,
social software applications are essential in building loyalty between the
customer and the company by providing what consumers demand.

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1.1.1 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to examine how social media platforms influence
the brand loyalty and awareness. The careful investigation of social media
channels and the results of the study aim to be applied to case company, a
Fairmont Baku hotel, in order to create brand awareness and build brand
loyalty. First of all the social media platforms / tools will be analysed and applied
to create brand awareness. Secondly, the social media platforms / tools will be
chosen to build consumer loyalty in relation to the brand. Thirdly, the hotel’s
existing online brand strategy will be analysed. Afterwards, the results of the
first two analyses will be compared and applied to the third study.

1.1.2 Research questions


The easy accessibility of the internet enables to grasp the consumer groups and
create brand awareness for those target groups who are tough to reach offline
(Keller, 2009 cited in Zailskaite-Jakštė and Kuvykaitė, 2013). Nowadays, it is
obviously hard to set branding campaign without taking into consideration of the
importance of social media and its tools. Therefore, this research aims to
understand how brand awareness and brand loyalty are created by the help of
the social media platforms / tools, centred on the following main research
question:

MQ. How to manage brand awareness and brand loyalty through social media
effectively in the hospitality industry?

Some sub-questions are mandatory to answer the main question:

SQ1. What are the roles of social media tools in creating brand awareness?

SQ2. How to build brand loyalty through the social media platforms?

1.2 Structure of the study

This master thesis consists of seven chapters. The first chapter is designed to
give insight to the topic. In the scope sub-chapter of introduction part the
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purpose of study as well as research questions are described. Prior to giving a
quick introduction about the methodology thesis delimitations are going to be
described.

In the second chapter, the relevant literature is going to be reviewed. It mainly


encompasses brand and brand equity, service brand theory and social media.
Respectively, brand equity components such as brand awareness and brand
loyalty are introduced. In addition, social networks, microblogs and blogs, video
and photo sharing social media platforms are going to be defined and lined up.
Successively, the chapter will be concluded by taking a deep look into the social
media platforms from brand awareness and brand loyalty point of view.

The core intention of the third chapter is to illustrate a scientific approach to the
topic. Thus, research approaches, relevant research methodologies and
strategies, data collection methods as well as researchers perspective are
going to be selected according to the chosen topic.

The fourth chapter is mainly devoted to the analysis of the reviewed literature of
the social media impact on brand awareness and brand loyalty indeed.

The case company is going to be presented in the following fifth chapter. Firstly,
the overall information about case company is going to be provided. Lately, the
social media strategy of the case company will be elucidated.

In the sixth chapter, the case company’s social media strategy usage in building
brand awareness and brand loyalty will be analysed.

The conclusion part thoroughly will be culminated in the seventh chapter. The
study findings, conclusion, the future research suggestions as well as
recommendations for case company will be the main focus of this chapter.

The sources which are going to be utilized in this master thesis will be listed in
the last chapter eight.

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1.3 Delimitations

It is already mentioned in the chapter 1.1.1 that the main purpose of this master
thesis is to analyse the effects of the social media platforms in building brand
awareness and brand loyalty. The brand management as a topic is an intensely
vast area of research. By considering this, the author narrows topic down to the
specific part ‘Brand Equity’. The brand equity by itself is also a broad topic.
Previously (see chapter 1) mentioned, brand equity has five components, yet
two of them, brand awareness and brand loyalty, are going to be the focal point
of this research. The brand awareness has been chosen because of the
familiarity and recognition effect it creates (Aaker, 1991; Keller, 2008). On the
other hand, targeting new customer is the way more expensive than retaining
the existing one. The customer who is loyal to the brand can attract the stream
of the profit to the enterprise. (Aaker, 1991, 1996)

Nowadays, the social media are changing the way how marketers react to the
existing market. Therefore, the social media plays a very important role in
branding. However, the social media is also an immensely wide topic to
research. The author focuses mainly on the specific platforms, such as social
networks, blogs, microblogs, video and photo sharing. Additionally, it is
important to mention that all these platforms consist of different kind of tools. In
order to limit the research scope, the author selected one tool from each
platform. For example, Facebook from social networks, Twitter from microblogs,
WordPress from blogs, YouTube from video sharing and Instagram from photo
sharing platforms. (Evans, 2008)

In addition, this research focuses on building brand awareness and brand


loyalty through the social media platforms. Therefore, measuring the
effectiveness of the influence of the social media platforms on creating brand
awareness and brand loyalty is beyond the frame of this study.

Finally, the findings of this research will be compared and applied to the case
company. The case company, a Fairmont Baku hotel, is a Canadian based
luxury, chain hotel situated in Azerbaijan. That is why, the result of the
comparison must not to be generalised to the whole service industry as well as

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other countries. Because different companies use various social media tools
and some might have a social media strategy based on the target group as well
as the region.

1.4 Introduction to methodology

Prior to reviewing the literature in the following chapter, the author hereby poses
a concise introduction to the methodology (see chapter 3 for a detailed
description). The research question(s) define(s) the way researcher is going to
uncover the facts those will help to gain the replies to the designed question(s).
The research design is intensely vital in guiding to achieve the research goal. It
is like a paved road in the uneven environment. First of all, the right approach(s)
should be developed to define the proper research methodology (qualitative or
quantitative). Meanwhile, the research strategy (case study method) helps to
focus on specific case to probe the research topic in depth. Finally, to assemble
the necessary information to answer the question(s), secondary as well as
primary sources have been used in this study. The designed questionnaire as
the primary source has been sent to the case company.

2. LITERATURE REVIEW

This section of the study is going to review literatures which are written in the
area of the following subjects: brand, service brands, brand equity, brand
awareness, brand loyalty, social media, social media platforms and the
relationships between social media and brand awareness and loyalty. The
essential intention of the literature review is to fully understand all the concepts
and perspectives about the below mentioned subjects which are going to
contribute great comprehension about the research topic.

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2.1 What is a Brand?

Obviously, nowadays the role of the brand is undeniably important in the


company’s business portfolio. According to Clifton et al. (2009, p. 18), ‘[b] rands
can generate high-quality earnings that can directly affect the overall
performance of the business and thus influence the share price’.

Historically, the meaning of brand derives from Old Norse of North Germanic
language which original form was brandr – means to burn. The initial use of
brand utilized in Anglo-Saxon. The symbol of the owner was stamped on the
livestock. The emblems which had a high quality reputation among the others
were respectful and more searched ones. In ancient civilisations symbols are
also used to differentiate brands. Especially, potters were using private symbols
under their product to be identified easily by others. Obviously, it drives us to
believe that symbols were the earliest form of the brand. (Clifton et al., 2009)

As stated in American Marketing Association (AMA), ‘brand’ and ‘Brand’ have


different implications. As it is highlighted ‘brand’ is a ‘[n] ame, term, design,
symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as
distinct from those of other sellers’ (AMA dictionary, 2014b). On the other hand,
‘Brand’ means ‘[…] a customer experience represented by a collection of
images and ideas; often, it refers to a symbol such as a name, logo, slogan, and
design scheme. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the
accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service, both directly
relating to its use, and through the influence of advertising, design, and media
commentary.’ (AMA dictionary, 2014a) Hence, a brand has prosperous imagery
and definitions that in the consumer’s perception occupies in various identified
functions (Mooradian, Matzler and Ring, 2012).

As per Pickton and Broderick (2005, p. 242), ‘[…] a brand is a set of attributes,
that have a meaning, an image and produce associations with the product when
a person is considering that brand of product’. Chernatony (in Pickton and
Broderick, 2005) explains brand as an added value to the product in
comparison to its equivalent commodity form. King (cited in Aaker, 1991)
differentiate products from the brand by mentioning their functions in the

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enterprise. As per him, a product is an item which can be copied by competitors
and is produced by an industrial way and briskly deteriorates. Contrary to that,
the brand is a feeling purchased by the customer in a unique and timeless
manner. Therefore, the brand is considered more than a product in a way that it
satisfies the same need which other products lack to display (Keller, 2008).
Keller (2008) explains these differences as rational and tangible, in a form of
product performance of the brand and symbolic, emotional, and intangible, in a
way brand poses.

‘Atomic model’ of the brand by de Chernatony (1993a, 1993b cited in de


Chernatony and Riley, 1998) integrates tangible and intangible relationship
within nine elements: 1) functional capability; 2) symbolic feature; 3) service; 4)
distinctive name; 5) ownership; 6) shorthand notation; 7) legal protection; 8) risk
reducer; and 9) strategic direction.

As reported by Wood (2000, p. 666) ‘[a] brand is a mechanism for achieving


competitive advantage for firms, through differentiation (purpose). The attributes
that differentiate a brand provide the customer with satisfaction and benefits for
which they are willing to pay (mechanism)’. It can be implied that brand creates
competitive advantage and provides income to the company.

By supporting the Wood’s idea it could be relevant to mention and compare


brands’ benefits for consumers as well as for companies highlighted in table 1:

Table 1: Brand functions


For consumer For companies
x Signalling: Brands signal quality and x Customer loyalty
security, and ensure expected x Higher willingness to pay
satisfaction with the product x Securing competitive advantage
x Reducing risk: Brands reduce the x Competitive protection
perceived risk for customers, which x Legal protection
is particularly important on the x Protection from copying
internet (Rubinstein and Griffiths, x Increasing marketing communication
2001, p. 397) efficiencies
x Facilitating purchase: Buyers can x Attracting higher-quality employees
easily choose the same service or x Stronger support from supply chain
product again if they were satisfied partners

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x Simplifying choice (Rubnstein and x Growth opportunities (brand
Griffiths, 2001, p. 396) extensions)
x Customer and market segmentation
Source: Lis and Berz, 2011, pp. 198-199.

Overall, it becomes apparent that the term brand has several meanings
according to different thoughts produced by scholars. However, one is obvious
that the brand is an inseparable part of the company indeed. It could be also
summed that brands are the core competency of the all types of enterprises and
should be considered as a main competitive advantage of the strategy. It is
highlighted that brands were very important to build a reputation among
competitors and it is essentially up to these days as well. Although the brand is
a commodity like a product, it differs from others by the value which it adds to
the brand.

2.2 Brand equity as an asset

Brand equity, as a concept, emerges in 1980s and is a widely discussed term in


business as well as the academic world since those times. There are lots of
different explanations about brand equity. For example, one of the popular
definitions created by Aaker (1991, p. 15) ‘[b] rand equity is a set of brand
assets and liabilities linked to a brand, its name and symbol, that add to or
subtract from the value provided by a product or service to a firm and / or to that
firm’s customers’. Keller sites the brand equity as ‘the differential effect of brand
knowledge in customer’s response to the marketing of a brand’ (cited in Nam,
Ekinci and Whyatt, 2011, p. 1010). Cooper and Simons define brand equity as
‘the strength, currency and value of the brand […] the description, and
assessment of the appeal, of a brand to all target audiences who interact with it’
(cited in Pickton and Broderick, 2005, p. 254). As stated in Kotler (2000) brand
equity is measured by the number of the satisfied customers, the value given by
customers and the customer dedication to the brand.

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Different scholars and research institutes have own radical approaches to the
brand equity. It is clearly displayed in table 2:

Table 2: Different approaches to measuring brand equity


Proposer Factors measured
David Aaker x Brand awareness
x Brand loyalty
x Perceived quality
x Brand associations
x Other proprietary brand assets
Millward Brown x Presence (e.g. familiarity)
Brand Dynamic x Relevance to consumer needs
x Product performance
x Competitive advantage
x Bonding (e.g. endorsement on key attributes)
Total Research x Salience
Equitrend x Perceived quality
x User satisfaction
Interbrand x Brand weight
x Brand breadth
x Brand depth
x Brand length
Young & Rubicam Brand asset x Differentiation + Relevance = Strength
valuator x Esteem and Knowledge = Stature
Kevin Keller x Brand Knowledge
ƒ Brand awareness
ƒ Brand image
Source: Own illustration based on Pickton and Broderick, 2005, p. 255.

The brand equity consists of two parts: organisational brand equity and
customer brand equity (Capon, Berthon, Hulbert and Pitt, 2001). The financial
values such as tangible assets – manufacturing assets, land and buildings,
receivables and investments; intangible assets – return on investment (ROI),
measures of price relatives (Clifton et al., 2009) are the base of the
organisational brand equity. On the other hand, the customer brand equity
focuses on the social values which depend on wealth creation such as health,
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education, living standards (Clifton et al., 2009). The second value created by
customer brand equity pinpoints consumer’s comprehension, attachment,
attitude, preference, loyalty, awareness and so on about the brand (Aaker,
1991, 1996; Agawal and Rao, 1996; Blackstone, 1995; Dyson, Farr and Hollis,
1996; Keller, 1993; Lassar, Mittal and Sharma, 1995; Vazquez, Del Rio and
Iglesias, 2002; Yoo and Donthu, 2001; Yoo, Donthu and Lee, 2000 cited in Kim,
Jin-Sun and Kim, 2008).

The focal point of brand equity research in marketing and branding field is a
customer viewpoint about the brand (Aaker, 1991, 1996; Keller, 2008; Kim, Jin-
Sun and Kim, 2008; Macdonald and Sharp, 2000, 2003; Nam, Ekinci and
Whyatt, 2011; Tuominen, 1999). Particularly, ‘the power of a brand lies in what
resides in the minds of customers’ (Keller, 2008, p. 48).

According to Keller (1993 cited in Wood, 2000), customer-based brand equity


happens when the customer adds the brand into their mindset, which in itself
creates some favourable, strong and unique brand associations. Keller (2008,
p. 48) stresses customer-based brand equity as ‘the differential effect that brand
knowledge has on consumer response to the marketing of that brand’.

As it is mentioned in table 2, Aaker (1991, 1996) divides customer-based brand


equity into following asset categories: brand awareness, brand loyalty,
perceived quality, brand associations and other proprietary brand assets.

Brand awareness as per Rossiter and Perey (1987 cited in Macdonald and
Sharp, 2003) is essential for forming the basic communication which is the
basis of all other considered steps in branding.

In accordance with Newman and Werbel (1973 cited in Rai and Srivastava,
2012), brand loyalty appears when the same customer is choosing the same
brand without searching for any information related to it.

Perceived quality is considered as a financial performance driver for the


business as well as the overall quality and excellence of a product / service in
pursuance of its intended purpose (Aaker, 1991, 1996).

When customer links some characteristics, symbols, images and etc. with the
brand in their memory, then it calls the brand associations (Aaker, 1991, 1996).
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www.ebook3000.com
Aaker (1991) remarks patents, trademarks, and channel relationships in other
proprietary brand assets category.

By sticking to the frame of this study, in the following sub-chapters deep insight
and different approaches about brand awareness and brand loyalty are going to
be presented.

2.2.1 Brand awareness


The brand awareness in AMA Dictionary (2014c) is explained as follows: ‘[b]
rand awareness is a marketing concept that enables marketers to quantify levels
and trends in consumer knowledge and awareness of a brand's existence’. As per
Aaker (1991, 1996), awareness is all about brand existence in the consumer’s
perception. According to Stokes (1985 cited in Macdonald and Sharp, 2003),
based on the memory theory brand awareness creates the bundle of
associations linked to brand in memory. A brand that has some level of brand
awareness is significantly more inclined to be considered and along these lines
picked, rather than the brands which the customer is uninformed of (Macdonald
and Sharp, 2003). Brand awareness plays a crucial part in the consumer’s
consideration set which is important during purchasing phase (Howard and
Sheth, 1969; Narayana and Markin, 1975 cited in Macdonald and Sharp, 2003).

Aaker (1991, 1996) defines brand awareness as a main asset category of brand
equity. However, Keller (2008) adds brand awareness into the brand knowledge
which by itself is the key component of brand equity. In general, it is worth to
say that both scholars divide brand awareness into brand recognition and brand
recall performance (Aaker, 1991, 1996; Keller, 2008).

Brand recognition happens when a past exposure to the brand is gained by the
customer (Aaker, 1996; Keller, 2008). Brand recognition is the basic and first
step in the communication task within the brand awareness and it simply
includes remembering basic components of the brand, even though it should
not necessarily be strong. (Aaker, 1991, 1996)

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Researches in psychology and marketing have shown that brand recognition
creates positive feelings as well as a familiar brand has more chances to be
selected than the unknown brands respectively (Aaker, 1996).

It is obvious that enterprises do not spend money on advertising poor products /


services. Therefore, when the customer sees and remembers the brand, it
certainly is a signal that the brand is worth to purchase. (Aaker, 1996)

Secondly, brand recall different than brand recognition occurs by the


consumer’s information resurgence of one brand over the other ones in the
same category (Aaker, 1996; Keller, 2008). Keller (2008, p. 54) clarifies brand
recall as ‘consumers’ ability to retrieve the brand from memory when given the
product category, the needs fulfilled by the category, or a purchase or usage
situation as a cue’.

Keller (2008) discusses that brand recognition is important when the consumer
selects the product (physically visible and touchable) at the point of purchase.
On the other hand, if the consumer takes a decision apart from the point of
purchase then brand recall is happening. Thus, building brand recall is essential
to service and online brands.

Macdonald and Sharp (2003, p. 3) argue that ‘brand recognition occurs in


stimulus-based situations and recall occurs in memory-based situations. Both
types of awareness would occur in mixed-choice situations’. In consideration of
the fact that stimulus-based situation happens when all the brand nodes are
physically available and memory-based situation occurs when all the related
information about brand recalled from memory and lastly, when the brand is
physically present and recallable from memory then mix-based situation takes
place (Lynch and Srull, 1982 cited in Macdonald and Sharp, 2003).

According to scholars (Aaker, 1991; Keller, 2008; Macdonald and Sharp, 2003),
creating brand awareness has several benefits. Based on Keller’s concept
(2008, pp. 54-55) it would be relevant to mention that brand awareness has the
following learning, consideration and choice advantages.

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Learning advantages can be achieved by attaching brand node such as, brand
attributes, associations and image in the consumer’s perception (Aaker, 1991).
In other words, to establish the brand in the consumer’s mind.

Secondly, it is believed that the strength of brand awareness is highly


associated with a consideration set (Macdonald and Sharp, 2003). Therefore,
the brand that is not considered cannot be opted (Baker et al., 1986 cited in
Macdonald and Sharp, 2003). Recognition creates familiarity factor and people
prefer to buy the familiar brands (Aaker, 1991). In agreement with Keller (2008),
it is more likely to mention that the consumer is buying those brands which have
already resided in his / her consideration set. Hence, as a first step familiarity
factor ignites brand node in mind and in a second step brand recall helps brand
to enter consideration set.

Thirdly, the brand awareness can affect a consumer’s choice about the brand in
their consideration set (Hoyer and Brown, 1990; Keller, 2008). It can even
happen in the low involvement. The low involvement could occur while the
enterprises leave the consumers unmotivated about the product / service choice
or the consumer will use shortcuts (familiarity and awareness of product /
service) to decide which product / service to purchase (Keller, 2008).

Above all, to bring all the findings together, it is worth to mention that the brand
awareness, by being the first step of brand equity, exists in brand recognition
and brand recall form and creates familiarity and liking effect on the consumer’s
mind which leads to a directly consideration set of brand choice.

2.2.2 Brand loyalty


According to several studies, brand loyalty has both revisit and (re) purchase
intentions (Day, 1969; Newman and Werbel, 1973; Dwyer, Schurr and Oh,
1987; Fornell, 1992; Zeithaml et al., 1996; Dick and Basu, 1994; Oliver, 1999;
Jaishankar, Arnold and Kristy, 2000; Sirdeshmukh et al., 2002; Kim, Jin-Sun
and Kim, 2008; Malik et al., 2013 cited in Rai and Srivastava, 2012). The brand
loyal customers are the strategic asset of the companies and help the
expansion of the repeat business (Kim, Jin-Sun and Kim, 2008; Pekka, 1999).

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The term loyalty in Oxford Dictionaries (2014a) is characterised as ‘[t] he quality
of being loyal to someone or something’. Oliver (1999, p. 34) approaches to
loyalty from a wide aspect of defining it as ‘a deeply held commitment to re-buy
or re-patronize a preferred product / service consistently in the future, thereby
causing repetitive same-brand or same brand-set purchasing, despite
situational influences and marketing efforts having the potential to cause
switching behaviour’.

Brand loyalty, by referring to various studies, has been defined as a repeat


purchase from the service / product provider. According to AMA Dictionary
(2014d), firstly brand loyalty is ‘[t] he situation in which a consumer generally
buys the same manufacturer-originated product or service repeatedly over time
rather than buying from multiple suppliers within the category’. Secondly, it is ‘[t]
he degree to which a consumer consistently purchases the same brand within a
product class’. Aaker (1991) stresses out that the brand loyalty is measured by
the customer attachment to the brand. Assael (1992) opined that the brand
loyalty serves a great disposition to the brand which as a result shows that the
customer is only satisfied with the particular brand.

The brand loyalty is a complex phenomenon and all people have different
buying and engaging experiences with the brand. Subsequently, after
purchasing the brand product / service some customers can dislike, like or stay
loyal to the brand. Meanwhile, Aaker (1991) depicts five levels of the brand
loyalty, according to the various types of customers.

The first level of the brand loyalty is non-loyal customers. This type of people is
accepted as switchers or price buyers. In marketing, it is useless to make an
effort to gain those consumers. The customers who are satisfied with product /
service are included in the second level of the loyalty. Namely, in the marketing
industry, they are called habitual buyers. It is worth to address the marketing
efforts to gain those customers because at least there is no any reason for them
to change the brand.

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Figure 1: The Loyalty Pyramid

Committed Buyer

Likes the Brand - Consdiers it


a Friend

Satisfied Buyer with Switching


costs

Satisfied/Habitual Buyer No
Reason to Change

Switchers/Price Sensitive
Indifferent - No Brand Loyalty

Source: Aaker, 1991, pp. 39-41.

Third level loyal customers are those people who are satisfied with the product /
service but have switching costs. These types of consumers are very hard to
adopt by competitors. In order to entice those customers, competitors should
offer some benefits to compensate their switching costs such as costs in time,
money or performance risk associated with switching from one brand to
another. Following the level of loyalty is linked to be a friend of the brand. At this
level, the customer develops his / her liking feeling towards the brand and
sometimes they accept the brand by its associations such as a symbol, a set of
user experiences, or a higher perceived quality. The last and top level of the
pyramid (see figure 1) developed by Aaker is taken by the committed customers
who are proud of being a highly welcomed and respected user and member of
the brand. In this stage the customer is impressively satisfied with the product /
service of the enterprise that is going to offer to other people indeed. As an
example to the committed buyer it could be the Harley Davidson rider who
tattoos the company’s brand name or associated symbols to his / her body.

Dickson (1994 cited in Tuominen, 1999) by going further depicts seven levels of
the brand loyal customers: emotional, identity, differentiated, contract, switching
cost, familiarity and convenience loyalty. All these types have special
characteristics and vary by the habits of the customer. In order to set effective

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marketing campaign enterprises should depict their customer loyalty level and
target them to leverage customer attachment to the brand.

The brand loyalty is intensely essential and interesting topic as well as the
business element that the academics and companies take it deeply into
consideration respectively. That is why there are several approaches available
in the marketing literature in relation to the brand loyalty. As per Assael (1992)
there are two approaches exist: a behavioural and an attitudinal. Besides those
two approaches, there is a cognitive loyalty (Bloemer et al., 1999; de Ruyter et
al., 1998; Oliver, 1999 cited in Rai and Srivastava, 2012) available as well.

Assael (1992) and Jones and Taylor (2007 cited in Rai and Srivastava) mention
that the behavioural approach is the main stimulator of the repeat purchase as
well as reinforcement and a healthy stimulus-to-response link (Assel, 1992, p.
87) between the customer and the brand. The brand loyalty, in a behavioural
approach, for Peter and Olson (1996) is simply the repeat purchase behaviour.
According to marketing expert, primarily relying on behavioural approach is
‘what people do does not say anything about why they do it. There is no
surrogate available for talking to the consumer’ (Assael, 1992, p. 88). Tucker
(1964 cited in Assael, 1992, p. 87) by showing clear behavioural approach
explains: ‘[n] o consideration should be given to what the subject thinks or what
goes in his central nervous system; his behaviour is the full statement of what
brand loyalty is.’ As per Rai and Srivastava (2012, p. 63), behavioural approach
has the following results on loyalty: 1) Repurchasing from the same service
provider (Assael, 1992; Jones et al., 2000; Zeithaml et al., 1996). 2) Lower
switching intentions (Bansal and Taylor, 1999; Dabholkar and Walls, 1999). 3)
Making all purchases in a particular category from a single service provider
(Reynolds and Arnold, 2000; Reynolds and Beatty, 1999)

Secondly, in contrast to the behavioural researchers, the attitudinal researchers


believe that repeat purchases of the brand occur in several attitudinal causes (Li
and Petrick, 2010 cited in Suhartanto and Noor, 2013). The researchers in the
brand loyalty field utilize the attitudinal approach to focus on beliefs, attitudes
and opinions in relation to the consumer buying behaviour (Back, 2005 cited in
Suhartanto and Noor, 2013). Jacoby (1971 cited in Assael, 1992, p. 87) by
taking a strongly attitudinal view explains: ‘[t] o exhibit brand loyalty implies
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repeat purchasing behaviour based on cognitive, affective, evaluative and
predispositional factors – the classical primary components of an attitude’.
Jones and Taylor (2007 cited in Rai and Srivastava, 2012, p. 63) describe
emotion based brand assessment (attitudinal approach) as follows: 1)
Recommending the service provider to others (Butcher et al., 2001; Javalgi and
Moberg, 1997). 2) Strong preference to the service provider (Mitra and Lynch,
1995). 3) Feeling a sense of affiliation with the product, service, or, organisation
(Fournier, 1998). 4) Altruistic behaviour which includes helping the service
provider or other customers for better service delivery (Patterson and Ward,
2000; Price et al., 1995).

Lastly, cognitive loyalty, as per Lee and Cunningham (2001 cited in Rai and
Srivastava, 2012), is a cognitive assessment of a brand and its attributes,
advantages and disadvantages of the repurchasing which makes the consumer
to choose one service provider over the others (Dwyer et al., 1987 cited in Rai
and Srivastava, 2012). Jones and Taylor (2007 cited in Rai and Srivastava,
2012, p. 64) explain the brand loyal customers from cognitive aspect as
following: 1) Occupying a prominent space in the mind of the customer (Dwyer
et al., 1987) 2) Being the first preference of the customer (Ostrowski et al.,
1993) 3) Lesser sensitivity towards price fluctuation (Anderson, 1996; de Rutyer
et al., 1998) 4) Granting a service provider exclusively for a particular service
(Gremler and Brown, 1996) 5) Identifying a service provider as an extension of
one’s self and accepting this by using terms such as my service provider, or by
including oneself with the service provider and referring collectively with us and
we (Butcher et al., 2001).

All above mentioned approaches could be culminated in figure 2. The outcomes


of these approaches can be effectively used in the customer segmentation by
marketers.

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Figure 2: Outcome of customer loyalty
Customer
Loyalty

Behavioural Attitudinal Cognitive


Outcomes Outcomes Outcomes

Repurchase Willingnes to pay


Relative Attitude
Intentions more

Switching Willingness to Exclusive


Intentions Recommend Consdieration

Exclusive Intentions Altruism Identification

Source: Rai and Srivastava, 2012, p. 65.

To sum up, the consumer brand loyalty plays a more imperative part in the
cutting edge worldwide marketing. To augment a benefit, the individuals attempt
diverse methodologies, among which, a loyalty is perceived by a lot of scholars
and companies. On the other hand, some may affirm that it is a test to
accomplish it. Above all, by discovering the right levels of loyalty and choosing
the proper approach can impact on the consumer loyalty Hence businesspeople
may better comprehend the buyer’s repeat visit and purchase over time.
Consequently, by performing the above mentioned actions the enterprises can
build long-lasting and reliable relationship with the customer and can bring profit
to the budget.

2.3 Service brand theory

2.3.1 Concept and characteristics of services


The concept of services appears to be a more interesting topic for the
researchers more than two centuries (Lovelock and Wirtz, 2011). In the most
contemporary dictionaries service is explained as ‘an act of helpful activity; help;
aid; the action of helping or doing work for someone; the act of dealing with a

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customer in a shop, restaurant, or hotel by taking their order, showing or selling
them goods, etc.’ (Dictionary, 2014; Cambridge University Press, 2014a; Oxford
University Press, 2014b). According to Zeithalm, Bitner and Gremler (2013, p.
3) services are ‘deeds, processes, and performances provided or coproduced
by one entity or person for another entity or person’. However, Lovelock and
Wirtz (2011, p. 37) describe the services as ‘economic activities offered by one
party to another. Often time-based, performances bring about desired results to
recipients, objects, or other assets for which purchasers have a responsibility’.

Table 3: Comparing goods and services


Goods Services Resulting Implications
Tangible Intangible Services cannot be inventoried.
Services cannot be easily patented.
Services cannot be readily displayed or communicated.
Pricing is difficult.
Standardized Heterogeneous Service delivery and customer satisfaction depend on
employee and customer actions.
Service quality depends on many uncontrollable factors.
There is no sure knowledge that the service delivered
matches what was planned and promoted.
Production separate Simultaneous Customers participate in and affect the transaction.
from consumption production and Customers affect each other.
consumption Employees affect the service outcome.
Decentralization may be essential.
Mass production is difficult.
Non-perishable Perishable It is difficult to synchronize supply and demand with
services.
Services cannot be returned or resold.
Source: Own illustration based on Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry, 1985, pp. 41-50
in Zeithaml, Bitner and Gremler, 2013, p. 20.

In fact, there is the unanimity in the differences between goods and services
among scholars (Lovelock and Gummesson, 2004; Zeithaml, Parasuraman and
Berry, 1985 cited in Zeithaml, Bitner and Gremler, 2013; Kotler, Bowen and
Makens, 2010) and it can easily be noticed in table 3. There are four distinct

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characteristics of services: intangibility, inseparability, heterogeneity and
perishability (see figure 3).

Intangibility – services can be distinguished by their unique nature of being


intangible. Services, different than objects, are based on the performances or
the actions. In that mean they cannot be seen, felt, tasted or touched as it is
possible in tangible goods (Kotler, Bowen and Makens, 2010; Zeithaml, Bitner
and Gremler, 2013). The services provided by the hotels can be sensed after a
guest experiences it, even though he / she cannot feel, taste or touch it. The
acquired experiences are saved in the subconscious part of the brain as a
remembrance. For example, hotels in order to etch the experiences into the
memory offer trips in the vicinity areas to create the memorable guest
experiences which turn to be a good motivation to return back to that hotel.

Inseparability – ‘simultaneous production and consumption’ (Zeithaml, Bitner


and Gremler, 2013, pp. 21-22) as well as ‘participation of both the service
provider and the customer at the present time’ (Kotler, Bowen and Makens,
2010, pp. 36-37) make the services to be inseparable. For instance, the quality
of food and employee professionalism should be thorough to provide an
unforgettable time for the customer, vice versa will lead to the customer
dissatisfaction. According to Kotler (2010), whether the customer should involve
in the realisation of service, then he / she is the part of product which is also
serviced inseparability. As an example, it is relevant to mention that the
restaurant administrators must be well educated to manage every type of
customers to fulfil their needs and farewell them in a satisfied mood.

Heterogeneity – it is, in fact, obvious that services are not alike. The services
provider and the customer are the main dependents of service heterogeneity.
Neither all the enterprises provide the same services, nor the customers
demand in the same manner as they interact with services (Zeithaml, Bitner and
Gremler, 2013). Service variability is the result of some factors. Firstly, the
quality issue of services spring while services are produced and consumed
synchronously. The distinct consumer demand makes the services providers to
face difficulties at the peak time of work. Other service heterogeneity appears
when miscommunication between the host and the guest present and diverse
guest expectations are hard to reckon. (Kotler, Bowen and Makens, 2010)
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Figure 3: Four services characteristics

Source: Kotler, Bowen and Makens, 2010, p. 35.

Perishability – as a matter of fact services cannot be saved, stored, resold or


returned, so the consistency of services is under question and that is why
scholars approve that services are perishable (Kotler, Bowen and Makens,
2010; Zeithaml, Bitner and Gremler, 2013). A hotel with 120 rooms divisions
cannot sell 70 rooms and save another 50 rooms for a next day and sell 170
rooms all together. The income from those unused rooms vanished forever
(Kotler, Bowen and Makens, 2010).

2.3.2 Service brand theory and characteristics

In fact, in the consumption of services the customer involvement is greater than


in the product consumption, then in the case of branding services it is more
based on intangibility rather than a tangible physical good in the product
branding. Grönroos (2000b, p. 290 cited in Pekka, 2006, p. 4) has proposed
that ‘a service brand is created in dynamic brand relationships—whereby the
customer forms a differentiating image of the service on the basis various brand
contacts to which the customer is exposed’. The service is the one of the nine
elements of ‘atomic model’ of the brand designed by de Chernatony and Riley
(1998). According Chen (2001 cited in Yi, Trigo and Shiming, 2012, pp. 28-29),
‘service brand is the name or other mark symbol of service institution or

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other service department, service post, service personnel, service
production line, service activity, service environment, service facility, service
tool and service object. It is a concept that covers a wide area’.

Effective branding services consist of the following steps, according to Dobree


and Page (1990 cited in Ozretić-Došen, 2007, p. 148), building a brand
proposition, overcoming internal barriers, measuring delivery against the
proposition, continual improvement and expansion. As stated in Pekka (2006, p.
29), ‘[s] ervice brand is externally manifested the personal logo, name or symbol
of the company service system, and internally, shows the sum of customers’
perception of the visible part and the experience of the service process’.
Kapferer (2008) argues that there is no distinction between external and
internal. Different than the product which is produced in one place and
consumed in another, the service is produced and consumed in the same
destination.

Kapferer (2008) states that branding in the service industry embraces two
recognitions. Firstly, it happens within the enterprise where the employees must
recognise the brand values as their own as well as stimulating the self-discover
how these values have an impact on them. Secondly, at the customer level,
those values should be recognised and accepted by the customer in the
process of purchase.

The service brand mainly has the following characteristics (de Chernatony et
al., 2003 cited in Yi, Trigo and Shiming, 2012, pp. 30-31).

a) Service enterprise takes the responsibility of ‘concretising the intangible


service’. Because of the intangibility of service, enterprise must use
brand proof or tangible service clue, including the core service, personal
service, brand name, cost performance, self-image and advertising
promotion to convey brand value, and influence customers’
attitude and behaviour toward service brand.
b) The basis of service brand is a brand name created by the enterprise.
The functional and emotional values of customer can be established by
unanimously accepted enterprise brand. The brand image is the
essential attribute to bond the customer to the enterprise.

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c) The customer plays an essential role in service brand building. In fact,
the customer experiences the service in the consumption process, then
the interaction between customer and service personnel, enterprise’s
tangible belongings is inevitable. As a matter of fact that the needs of
costumers are unique, that is why during participation in service brand
building different outcomes should be expected.
d) In the marketing literature, it is commonly accepted that employees are
the main source of marketing the product / service. It is, in fact, certain in
branding services as well. The employees are the service providers. The
customer’s experience is based on employees’ attitude and knowledge
about service. The good and bad memories last in the customer’s mind
are the results of the employees’ behaviour and the level of intensive
care of the customer. The enterprise should be very careful in the
selection process of service candidates and constantly train its staff and
teach them how to be prepared for the unexpected situations while
serving customers.

2.4 Social media defined

Throughout the most recent decade, the social media has changed
correspondences, moving the way we expend, deliver and cooperate with data,
taking into account touchy relocation to the web. Social media has changed our
view about the relationship between the companies, customers and other
stakeholders by shortening the time gap and allowing easy communication.
Safko (2010, p. 5) explains social media as ‘a fundamental shift in power’ which
means besides company generated and controlled content, customer generated
and controlled content is available indeed. Social media pushed companies first
to listen and understand what the customer says and demands, hence respond
them properly.

As a new epithet, the social media has several meanings, but not much that is
needed to be studied. Safko (2010) explains the deep meaning, by dividing the
social media into parts such as social and media. Cambridge University Online

31 | P a g e
Dictionary (2014b) defines social as ‘relating to activities in which you meet and
spend time with other people and that happen during the time when you are not
working.’ The people have a need to socialise and share their thoughts, ideas
and experiences. The second part of this term is media. The definition of the
media in Cambridge University Online Dictionary (2014c) is as follows: ‘the
internet, newspapers, magazines, television, etc., considered as a group.’ The
people are using the media as a communication tool among each other. Lastly,
he brings these two terminologies together (social media) and clarifies: ‘[s] ocial
media is an effective use of technologies to reach out and connect with other
humans, create a relationship, build trust, and be there when the people in
those relationships are ready to purchase our product offering’. (Safko, 2010, p.
4)

Handley (cited in Cohen, 2011) explains the social media as ‘an ever-growing
and evolving collection of online tools and toys, platforms and applications that
enable all of us to interact with and share information. Increasingly, it’s both the
connective tissue and neural net of the Web.’ As per Schottmuller (cited in
Cohen 2011), social media is ‘communication channels or tools used to store,
aggregate, share, discuss or deliver information within online communities. The
focus is on interaction and relationships, not the almighty dollar’. To arrive at a
result about the above mentioned social media definitions, it is highly possible
to highlight that the social media is a two-way communication tool which
consists of different platforms and tools which are the main components of
platforms to build strong relation between the company and the customer and to
lead for better comprehension of customer needs, demands and wishes and
respond them responsibly and sufficiently.

Table 4: Major differences between traditional and social media


Social Media Traditional Media

Two-way conversation One-way conversation


Open system Closed system
Transparent Opaque
One-on-one marketing Mass marketing
About you About me

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Brand and User-generated Content Professional content
Authentic content Polished content
FREE platform Paid platform
Metric: Engagement Metric: Reach / frequency
Actors: Users / Influencers Actors / Celebrities
Community decision-making Economic decision-making
Unstructured communication Controlled communication
Real time creation Pre-produced / scheduled
Bottom-up strategy Top-down strategy
Informal language Formal language
Active involvement Passive involvement

Source: Hausman, 2012.

It is obvious that the social media with its effective results has been a number
one choice of the marketers. To be frank, the social media marketing displays
the different approach to marketing the product / service rather than traditional
media does. The irreplaceable power of the social media has been detected by
Mexican grill chain restaurant Chipotle (Kotler et al., 2010) when they decided
to start an advertising campaign on the social media platforms. It is
unbelievable, but the result led them to cut advertising costs by reducing it to
one percent, whereas other restaurant chains were spending average four
percent. It could be erroneous not to mention the limited role of the traditional
media in marketing in this globalised world. However, the effects of both
marketing tools are incomparable. The difference between traditional and social
media marketing could be found in table 4.

In 2011, Ernst & Young (2012) conducted research in the United Kingdom (UK)
and as per result of the study the social media for 80 percent of the internet
users are a tool to connect with friends and family, read the reviews and ratings
as well as comment and share their opinion about a product / service with their
peers. The study shows that the social media has an impact on purchasing
decision of the people, indeed. The same study displays that the social media
shapes buying behaviour of consumer as well as intensifies the capacity,
repetitiveness and influence of word-of-mouth marketing.

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Since it has been in use until nowadays, the social media effect on the people is
boosting. This leads easy access to the consumer data as well as an effective
promotion of the product / service to specific buyer’s age groups. Referring to
figure 4, it can easily be noticed that the social media hugely penetrated into the
daily life of the people aged between 18 and 29. This statistic shows that day-
by-day more and more people are going to use the social media services and
from the marketing point of view more and more data will be stored in a virtual
world to analyse and target them.

Figure 4: Social media penetration

Source: Based on data from the Pew Research Centre’s Internet & American Life
Project surveys, September 2008 – May 2010. All surveys of adults 18 and over stated
in Ernst &Young, 2012, p. 3.

The social media, by going beyond the borders, makes the collective
communication possible rather than the individual. There are lots of
communities where internet users are contacting with each other, share their
thoughts, recommend and rate some product / service. The great challenges
are awaiting marketers to properly control and leverage those communities and
offer relevant contents to the selected masses to get an effective response from
users. (Weinberg, 2009)

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The effective social media strategy and governance are very important to gain
the specified objectives and goals of the enterprise. As per Ernst & Young
research paper (2012), the overall assessment of social media where the
company operates a clear, brief and concise social media strategy and
professional social media monitoring contains the effective social media
administration.

To perform all above mentioned activities the social media platforms and tools
should be defined. In the following chapter different types of social media
platforms and the tools which consist these platforms will be shortly described.

2.5 Social media platforms

Scoble (in Evans, 2008) in his Starfish model of social media describes
platforms as the channels and divides them into several parts such as blogs,
photo sharing, video sharing, personal social networks, events (face to face)
and event services, email, white label social networks, wikis, podcasting
(audio), microblogs, SMS (texting), collaborative tools. By sticking to the scope
of a thesis, in the following sub-chapters social networks, blogs, microblogs,
video and photo sharing platforms and their tools are going to be unveiled.

2.5.1 Social networks


The basic need of human being to connect to others did not change from the
earliest time of the human existence. What did change is only the technology to
use to build this relationship. In the earliest history of human being people used
cave paintings to communicate with their peers or the same interest groups,
later on the tools changed to rock drums, bells in towers, written words in
books, newspapers and letters and finally the social media networking sites.
(Safko, 2010)

The social networks are the sites which devised to establish communication
among the network users and help them to develop communities where they
can easily interact with each other. Weinberg (2009, pp. 149-150) designates
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the social networks as ‘profile-based sites that encourage users with relatively
comparable backgrounds to meet and initiate relationships with one another’
and ‘as well as connecting users who have shared interests, family
backgrounds, or political views, […] sexual orientation, religious beliefs or racial
identities […] and similar hobbies such as common favourite TV shows,
musicians and more’.

The essential concept behind the social networking sites is to create personal
profiles where everybody can share their information with each other. The
profile information does not consist of only name and birth date. Depending on
the site, it can be included religion, marital status, work information, hobbies,
interested songs and movies, interested jobs, interested companies and so on.
Everyone has an option to allow his / her profile information to be seen by other
users or to limit the visibility of the information. Each user has an opportunity to
write statuses, share videos, post valuable information in their own timeline. In
case if the shared information is interesting to other friends or followers then
they will like, comment or share those data with their friends or followers.

The social networking sites create marketer friendly environment where brand
managers can create their own brand profiles and communities and by posting
relevant information can attract the network users. On the other hand, in order
to penetrate to wider target groups, brand managers should pay money for
advertisements and other useful features.

There are two types of social networks: facetious and professional. Facetious
characterised social networks are more likely based on the daily activities and
routine proportion of the worthy information with the friends. As an example, it
could be relevant to mention Facebook and Myspace. On the other hand,
professional oriented social network sites stand on the business related
communication between experienced individuals in the same or relevant
industries. On these sites, both sides, employers and employees, use the
opportunities these social networking sites offer. LinkedIn and Xing are the
sample of the professional networking sites.

LinkedIn, Xing and other social networking sites with the same working
principles are characterised as business-to-business (B2B) marketing sites.

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Inasmuch as B2B is not fitting to the research scope, it would be relevant to skip
professional social networking sites and more importantly focus on the facetious
ones. Mainly, the idea behind all facetious types of social networking sites is to
provide a virtual space for building communication and relationship. However,
the design of these sites is based on the region and culture. For example,
Facebook is very popular all over the world, Myspace is well-known in the
United States, in Latin America people prefer Orkut, Asian countries use
Friendster and in the United Kingdom it is Bebo (Evans, 2008). The descriptions
of these social networking tools are going to be shortly displayed in the
following paragraphs.

The number of Bebo users in all over the world is around 40 million, according
to AOL in 2008 (BBC, 2008). Bebo is founded in 2005 by Michael and Xochi
Birch. The users in Bebo create their profiles to share photos, videos, contact
with their peers through direct messages and blog posts, take polls and
quizzes. With the help of Bebo Music, artists and musicians can create groups
and directly target their fans in order to sell their songs online. The same
principle applies to the Bebo Authors as well. AOL purchased Bebo for $850
million US dollars in 2008. (Safko, 2010)

The total Friendster users are 70 million, according to Indonesia Digest (2014).
It has been founded by Jonathan Abrams in 2002 years in California, United
States (Indonesia Digest, 2014; Safko, 2010). Friendster also as a tool is used
to connect people based on the commonalities. It has special features that keep
people to stick to the site and use these entertaining elements such as
Friendster Video, Reviews and Forums. It enables other online video
applications such as YouTube, Crackle, Metacafe, Break, Video Detective, and
SingingFool to be watched in Friendster. (Safko, 2010) It is a number one
visited social networking site in the Philippines and Indonesia, according to
Alexa (Indonesia Digest, 2014).

Another social networking site is Orkut, which is going to officially shut down in
September 2014 by Google (2014). Orkut is launched in 2004 by the Google’s
employee, a software engineer from Turkey, Orkut Büyükkökten. It is ‘an online
community designed to make your social life more active and stimulating’
(Safko, 2010, p. 466). As a matter of fact that Orkut is the part of the Google,
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without having a google account one cannot access to the website. It is also
highly possible that to connect google features such as Google Talk, Google
Video and YouTube to the Orkut. The main objective of the Orkut is to build
communities where the people with the same interest circuit join the group and
share the information, connect to each other and comment on the topics.
(Safko, 2010)

Myspace is another type of social networking tool that ‘[w] ith roots in music and
social, the platform is built to empower all artists-from musicians and designers
to writers and photographers-helping them connect with audiences,
collaborators, and partners to achieve their goals’ (MySpace, 2014). Myspace
gives an access to 53 million tracks and videos, the world's largest digital music
library, of musicians and artists (Myspace, 2014). In 2003, it has been started
by Brad Greenspan, Chris DeWolfe Josh Berman, Tom Anderson and
eUniverse team (Myspace, 2014; Safko, 2010).

One of the main features of Myspace is MyAds that provides the online
marketing campaign service to the users within their social network. With this
element anyone has an opportunity to design their own ads and target those
ads to the selected groups. (Safko, 2010)

One of the popular social networking sites in all over the world Facebook was
established by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 (Petersen, 2010;
Safko, 2010). Facebook defines its mission as ‘to give people the power to
share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to
stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world,
and to share and express what matters to them’ (Facebook Newsroom, 2014).
This mission gives a hint that Facebook is the social networking tool which
enables users easily connect with friends, family, acquaintances as well as
strangers. This site by itself is very practical and easy to utilize that around 829
million daily active users engaging in this platform. Certainly, to control all these
traffics and respond to the requests of the users Facebook recruited 7,185
employees (Facebook Newsroom, 2014).

In order to be a part of Facebook, several steps should be proceeded: Name,


Gender, Birthdate, Academic Major, Residence Hall, College Mailbox, High

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School; Email, Phone Number, Current Address; Political Views, Collegiate
Activities, Interests; Favourite Music, Favourite TV Shows, Favourite Movies,
Favourite Books, Favourite Quotations. However, one if wishes cannot fill all
details in or can follow the procedure but use the service which either hides all
your information from the public view or except friends no one allowed to see or
selected friends can see your profile info.

As a matter of fact that Facebook is intensely influential social networking site


all other sites permit Facebook users to utilize their own Facebook account to
have an access to websites without registration. The greatest impact of
Facebook on the people has been detected by marketers in the early stages
and until nowadays it is used as a tool to promote the product / service as well
as brand to the selected groups. Facebook Ads as a key element helps
marketers to fulfil their objectives.

In the following chapter 4, Facebook will be deeply analysed from a marketing


aspect to understand how it aids on building brand awareness and creating
brand loyalty.

2.5.2 Microblogging
Microblogs are another innovative and novel invention of the human being.
People are using them to shortly message, provide updates on their activities,
observations and interesting content directly or indirectly to others. Microblogs
allow users to post brisk, precise bursts of texts and videos. As shown in some
studies, microblogging is practical to share information, keeping update current
events, directing the sources and communicating with others (Honeycutt and
Herring 2009; Huberman, Romero and Wu 2009; Java et al. 2007; Naaman,
Boase and Lai 2010; Zhao and Rosson 2009 cited in Ehrlich and Shami, 2010).
Microblogging has grown into well-known tools among the groups of
companions and experts who much of the time overhaul content and take after
one another's posts, making a feeling of online group (Educause, 2009).

The instant publication feature of microblogging enables individuals quickly to


share information which they have witnessed or participated in contrary to some
traditional news sources. The microblogging sites are so important for
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marketers that they pursue posts to track trends and mine data about the
success of product / service and the brand development. (Educause, 2009)
Referring to Evans (2008, p. 220), microblogs can be utilized for ‘listening
(brand intelligence), talking (outreach), or both’. It is highly important to know
how, where and when to utilize the microblogging resources properly. According
to Mayfield (2009), the enterprises can reduce costs such as information
latency, search and coordination by boosting to share information.

There are several microblogging service providers, but Tumblr, Twitter, Plurk
and Twitxr are the main players in the market. In the following passages they
will be shortly described.

Plurk is ‘a really snazzy site that allows you to showcase the events that make
up your life, and follow the events of the people that matter to you, in deliciously
digestible short messages called plurks’ (Plurk, 2014). It is started in 2008 as a
tool to keep the balance between blogs and social networks and between e-mail
messaging and instant messaging (Safko, 2010). It is some sort of
communication tool between friends, family and co-workers which consists of
instant messaging, texting, and blogging mediums. The limit of messaging is
140 text characters.

Plurk is very useful in a special business environment to communicate between


the employees over special projects or even simple interoffice tasks. In an
academic field, perk makes brisk communications and conversations available
between the faculty and staff or the student and professors. (Safko, 2010)
According to Safko (2010), Plurk can also be used as a word-of-mouth
marketing element.

Twitxr is also microblogging tool but unlike to other microblogs it is mainly


based on the photo sharing feature. This photo blog enables user easily to
share the pictures and ideas as well as the location to friends and family. Twitxr
works almost with all major social media platforms. However, Facebook,
Twitter, Picasa and Flickr are mentioned specifically. FON Labs group and FON
founder Martin Varsavsky started this tool in 2008. (Safko, 2010)

Another microblogging tool which empowers to post texts, photos, quotes, links,
music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email is Tumblr. Being
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different than other microblogs Tumblr permits people post updates of any
length, although it’s best suited to short-format posts. It provides features such
as templates for text, photos, videos, audio, quotes, links and chat transcripts.
In the most social media platforms Tumblr also permits users to follow others
and view their posts. It has options such as re-blog and heart (like) other users’
blog posts. (Chapman, 2010) It is established by David Karp in 2007. Yahoo
purchased Tumblr in 2013 $990 million US dollar. It has around 50 million daily
user audiences. (Bercovici, 2014)

The most important microblogging website for business is Twitter. Launched in


2006, it has more than 271 million monthly active users who can express their
idea in 140 characters (Twitter, 2014). The main purpose of Twitter is to
communicate and keep connected friends, family and co-workers (Safko, 2010).
The importance of Twitter has been detected by thought leaders, business
people and marketers. They found out that the services Twitter provides are
worth to reach the mass, business partners and individuals. Twitter is an
irreplaceable tool for personal branding, reaching prospective customers, and
promoting businesses. Being a free marketing tool Twitter is used as a
marketing research service for feedback on products / services (Safko, 2010).

The main working principle of Twitter is to start following people or businesses


in order to get updates from them. One can also use Twitter to share their
thoughts, feelings and daily activities. The users who share valuable and
relevant information with their peers or followers will be retweeted and let the
shared content travel farther than planned. The hashtag symbol (#) can help
users to categorize posts around a particular topic. By clicking this symbol can
take users to a page containing all the posts that have been tagged with that
hashtag. It is useful when the particular topic is searched. (UKNetMonitor, 2013)

To sum up, microblogging enables to share valuable information, update rich


and regular context and ask / answer the questions of the users. (Mayfield,
2009)

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2.5.3 Photo sharing
The necessity of strongly emphasizing ideas led people to switch from posting
statuses and tweeting to photo sharing. Once Napoleon Bonaparte stated that
‘a picture is worth the thousand words’ (Safko, 2010, p. 497). Photo sharing
websites allow users to upload the digital pictures to the site where all the
pictures can be stored in an organised way and displayed to the friends and
followers. In spite of describing the whole situation observed in daily life, one
shoot can easily express the whole scene in one picture. The pictures are the
best tools for capturing the emotions to share with friends and followers (Safko,
2010). The business side of the photo sharing is that the companies can easily
share a picture of a new product / service to receive comments and reviews
about the design of a new launch.

In fact, internet users can face lots of different types of photo sharing websites.
However, the services Picasa, Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest provide, attract
more people to their platforms.

Obtained by Google in 2004 Picasa was being designed to organise and edit
digital photos and create movies, collages and slideshows from their photo to
place in theirs page to share with friends and family. Picasa derives from the
name of Pablo Picasso, the phrase mi casa for my house, and pic for picture
and created in 2001 by Idealab. Users can use the services of Picasa to create
albums, edit photos, create visual effects and resize the image while emailing to
other friends. This photo sharing tool is very useful for the enterprises where
professional photography services are not used. (Safko, 2010)

Flickr is a social media platform that specialises in a photo sharing between its
users. It has two main goals (Flickr, 2014): 1) help people make their photos
available to the people who matter to them and 2) enable new ways of
organizing photos and videos. Flickr was developed by Caterina Fake and
Steward Butterfield in 2004 and sold to Yahoo. Flickr provides some features
such as posting photos by email, making pictures available public and private,
tagging and commenting, printing and creating postcards. Flickr as a business
model can be a valuable tool for professional / freelance photographers, most
creative professions: artists, graphic designers, illustrators, designers and

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craftsmen, e-shops: to develop products that are of visual interest, travel
professionals and real estate professionals (Kioskea, 2014).

Pinterest is another photo sharing tool which grows faster and obtains more
users co-founded by Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra in 2010
(Pinterest, 2014). It is the fastest growing website in history, 10 million monthly
unique visitors in the United States of America (USA) (White Glove Social
Media, 2013). Pinterest is a great site where the people and companies can
display valuable things and products / services on the digital bulletin boards by
uploading photos and graphics directly from their computers and smartphones
and by pinning images and graphics from websites (Queens Library, n.d). The
longer lifespan and viral nature of Pinterest give an opportunity to the marketers
and people to take these features into consideration and utilize in marketing
campaigns (White Glove Social Media, 2013).

Another very popular free photo sharing platform Instagram allows users to take
or upload a picture, apply a digital filter, share it, tag friends, and add location
(Miah, Burd, and Platts, 2012). In 2010, Instagram launched by two Stanford
University students Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, which later on it is owned
by Facebook. ‘Instagram is a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends
through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your mobile phone then choose
a filter to transform the image into a memory to keep around forever. We're
building Instagram to allow you to experience moments in your friends' lives
through pictures as they happen. We imagine a world more connected through
photos’ (Instagram, 2014a). Instagram users can follow each other, tag other
users on photo, use hashtags, and like the pictures that are shared by people
they follow. Another feature of Instagram is video posting - a new way to share
your stories with the rest of the world (Instagram, 2014b). This feature enables
users to capture three to 15 seconds of the daily activities which are unique to
share with the followers.

This platform is highly effective for achieving branding goals such as: a) driving
awareness for your brand or products; b) shifting or reinforcing brand
perceptions; c) creating associations with celebrities and partners. (Instagram,
2013)

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As Safko (2010, p. 497) states ‘Seeing is believing!’, photo sharing platforms
are very effective to transmit the implicit information to the customer or the
prospective. Nowadays, marketing and brand managers include these tools into
their marketing campaign.

2.5.4 Video sharing


Whether in the era of Napoleon one picture was worth than thousand words,
today a power of the video is more valuable than the picture. Roughly to count
1,000 words can fit at 25 frames per second, which within one minute video can
transmit 1.5 million words. As per scholars, 55 percent of all communication
comes from body language, while 38 percent from voice, and only 7 percent of
the words themselves. (Safko, 2010) Since videotaping includes visual outlook
as well as echoes voices, then the operability of video sharing for marketers
and brand managers are immeasurable. Video sharing is a social media
platform where users can upload a video, store and share it with friends by
posting to a video hosting service on an internet website (Social Networking,
2012).

As video posting is gaining popularity among internet users there are a lot of
video sharing portals are popping up in the market. Brightcove, Vimeo,
Metacafe and YouTube are the main players in the market.

Brightcove is ‘a leading global provider of powerful cloud solutions for delivering


and monetizing video across connected devices’ (Brightcove, 2014). It has been
launched in 2004 by Jeremy Allaire. The corporation supplies a full suite
connected with products in which reduce the price tag and complexity
associated with publishing, distributing, measuring and monetizing video around
gadgets (Brightcove, 2014). This video sharing tool declares that the services
they provide is ‘flexible, yet comprehensive’ and professes to ‘maximize your
internet video presence by integrating Brightcove directly with your existing
media solutions such as content management systems, ads servers and
analytics platforms’ (Safko, 2010, p. 522). Brightcove provides services to two
basic groups of customers (Adobe Flash Platform, 2010; Safko, 2010). The
television broadcasters, newspapers, magazines, and new media sites that

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employ written content and promoting to drive followers and also monetize
components are the first type ad-supported media organizations. Secondly,
Brigtcove is designed to fulfil the needs of the marketers as well. Business-to-
consumer and business-to-business companies, government agencies and
non-profit organisations are using Brigtcove as a marketing strategy on their
own sites.

Another video sharing platform Vimeo founded in 2004 by Jake Lodwick and
Zach Kleina who wanted to share their creative work, but also the private
moments of their lives with others (Vimeo, 2014). Mainly, the network of users
on Vimeo is professionals who share their artistic views about the created video
and content and the comments on this site is very helpful to professionals
improve their work pieces and upload more favoured videos (Moreau, 2014).
This website can be a source of the data for marketing researchers to analyse
professional comments written under the videos and make a better advertising
videos to distribute to the targeted audiences.

‘We’re the first and only entertainment destination solely dedicated to


showcasing the best short-form videos from the world of Movies, Video Games,
TV, Music and Sports – programmed for today’s young male Entertainment
Drivers’ says on the website of other video sharing website Metacafe (Metacafe,
2014). It has been commenced in 2003 by Eyal Herzog, Ofer Adler and Arik
Czerniak. The main principle of Metacafe is to provide the opportunities for a
broad range of video producers to display their short-form master works on a
video entertainment platform (Safko, 2010). The videos uploaded to the
platform can be used as an advertising tool by creating an entertaining video
featuring a product or service.

The main and victorious opponent in the video sharing market is YouTube. It
has been established in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim
and has been owned by Google since late 2006. YouTube is a video sharing
platform where internet users, can share personal videos, tag videos, comment,
join communities, e-mail and post videos on the other social media platforms
such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIn and so on. The vast
amount of visits, every month one billion users, to the website makes YouTube

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a valuable source of promoting a product / service to the enterprises. (YouTube,
2014)

YouTube furnishes advertisers with multiple advantages, such as: 1) scale


across audiences and platforms (desktop, television, mobile); 2) increased
visibility and discoverability from SEO; 3) amplification through paid media.
These benefits enable brands to build strong relationships with consumers and
take further by designing relevant content which are both essential elements in
establishing a connected brand. (Huynh, Peters and Platts, 2013)

The biometrics methodology (see figure 5) shows that YouTube is more


effective than TV when the subject is about to be attentive (1.5 times more than
watching TV) and website users are more engaged (140 percent over TV) with
ads than TV viewers. It shows that YouTube is worth as a lean forward platform,
where the interesting contents can be selected by the YouTube users.
(YouTube, 2009)

Figure 5: Attention levels on TV and YouTube

Source: Google, 2009.

To sum up, video sharing platforms are very popular and up-to-date social
media tools for marketing a product / service and building brand recognition
among business owner, government and non-government organisations and
public figures. The properly prepared content and right video sharing website
can help the video travel far and get viral.

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2.5.5 Blogging
A blog is a derivative word from web log which is another name for online
journals. As per Safko (2010, p. 145) a blog is ‘a website that is maintained by
an individual with regular entries or posts that include commentary, thoughts,
and ideas, and may contain photos, graphics, audio, or video’. Blogs can be a
personal as well as a business use. Celebrities, public figures or bloggers
operate under personal blogging. Most often business related blogging is
utilized for internal communication, sales, marketing, branding, PR and
communicating with the customers and stakeholders (Safko, 2010). The right
approach and well-written content towards customers and stakeholders in
building healthy communication in a blog can be a tremendous asset in building
a brand empire (Weinberg, 2009).

Blogging makes the free exchange of viewpoints available between the


customer and brand. It is highly possible that they can share their insights about
current product / service and it could be a great source for understanding the
customer needs and respond it briskly. (Evans, 2008)

There are far too many and different types of companies who provide blogging
services. However, the author is getting to list some of them which are in use by
the general public: WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr. (The Blogger, 2014)

The most popular blogging platform is WordPress. It is both a free and priceless
source to start a blog and build a website in seconds without any technical
knowledge. The mission of WordPress is ‘to democratize publishing one
website at a time’. (WordPress, 2014a) It comes in two flavours (WordPress,
2014b): the fully hosted WordPress.com, and the self-hosted version available
at WordPress.org. The former provides premium hosting, security and backups
for the service users. However the latter allows the users to find a host and
perform backups and maintenance by themselves.

The WordPress.com network welcomes more than 409 million people viewing
more than 15.5 billion pages each month. The users publish about 41.7 million
new posts and leave 60.5 million new comments each month. (WordPress,
2014a)

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A WordPress site is a highly handful tool for just about anyone, like (iThemes
Media, 2011, p. 6): a) small businesses, large corporations; b) service-oriented
companies such as plumbers, real estate agents, car dealers; c) restaurants,
caterers, and designers; d) consultants, freelancers & coaches; e) schools, non-
profits and churches; f) bands, artists and creative professionals; g) scrapbook
enthusiasts and other hobbyists; h) professionals looking for a job; i) families
creating a family history to share.

Blogger is a Google product which offers free services to create blogs. It was
developed by Pyra Labs in 1999 then bought by Google in 2003. As it is a
product of Google, some features and products / services of Google can be
linked and applied to Blogger.com. The internet user can build up to 100 blogs
with one account and invite other bloggers to his or her owned blog. (Blogger,
2014)

WordPress and Blogger were the well-known place to write blogs for the new
users in the market. An alternative blogging platform to the above mentioned to
blogging website Tumblr emerged in the blogging market and served as a
blogging as well as a microblogging platform. Chapter 2.5.2 provides more
detailed information about Tumblr.

To conclude, blogging is a free social media tool where one can start a blog for
a personal as well as business use. It is the easiest and most effective tool for
communicating with the general public and stakeholders. Blogs can also create
an environment where the customer and brand share their viewpoints about
product / service. It is highly useful tool for marketers to understand the
customers’ needs and respond them properly.

To come to an end, social media platforms are unique by their nature. To point
out, all of them have special features which are effective in the social media
campaigns. Each platform performs the relevant function to communicate with
the targeted customers, promote the product, analyse the comments and
reviews, and generate brand awareness and loyalty. It is a matter of choice
which platforms and tools to choose to target the chosen customer groups.
While targeting customers, the written content is very important. Based on the
content, messages can be sent in a video, picture, text, word through YouTube,

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www.ebook3000.com
Instagram, WordPress and Twitter responsively. Or all above mentioned
formats could be transmitted over Facebook platform.

2.6 Brand awareness and social media

The AMA Marketing Watch (2013, p. 1) claims that the most influential trends in
brand awareness are: Experiential Marketing, Engagement Marketing, and
Content Marketing. Among these three trends in the engagement marketing and
content marketing have close connections with social media to create brand
awareness. The engagement marketing is a helpful tool in reviving forgotten
brand, re-launching it, and getting back to consumers’ mind. The chocolate
trade brand Green and Black’s effectively used this marketing campaign by
launching the taste quizzes on iPads. The company built a customized
chocolate horoscope to match consumers’ tastes and personalities. The results
of the quiz have been sent to the emails of quiz-takers along with coupons and
invitation to like Green and Black’s page on Facebook. The outcome of this
campaign was tremendous. The Facebook users boosted from 25,000 to
82,000 fans. (The AMA Marketing Watch, 2013)

According The AMA Marketing Watch (2013, p. 3) the content marketing is ‘a


marketing approach that incorporates information, education, and conversation
using various social media channels’. Marriott’s lifestyle brand Renaissance
Hotels has been designed two platforms to help guests ‘Live Life to Discover’.
The outside life of the hotel is provided to be discovered with the Navigators
platform and inside the hotel RLife LIVE program helps guests to discover the
new music, films, arts, food and drinks. Also the consumers can discover other
hotels of this brand through RenHotels.com website online. This campaign
contributed to the brand’s site to host record traffic and grew exponentially and
its Facebook community has risen to 270,000 likes. (Gutman, 2012)

The level of awareness is classified (Kelly, N. and Hootsuite, n.d.; Social Media
Stream, n.d.) into three core areas: exposure, influence and engagement. It is
necessary to build a community which spreads the company message by using
the exposure metrics such as followers / fans, impressions and subscribers.
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The farther the brand message travel, the more people will be aware of your
brand. (Social Media Stream, n.d)

Influence has a deeper impact on brand awareness than exposure. It is


important to share the content with the people who have more influence on
interactive world. For instance, surely it has a wider effect on people whose
followers are many than others who have less. (Social Media Stream, n.d.)

To understand the engagement level of the customer with brand the following
metrics should be taken into consideration depending on different social media
platforms: likes, web traffic from social, click-throughs, new fans and followers,
video clicks, direct messages and mentions, re-tweets, shares. (Social Media
Streams, n.d.)

To sum up, the social media is a contemporary trend to build the brand
awareness of the company through the well-known social media platforms. The
enterprises actively involve to the social web world to promote their brands.
Therefore, several metrics such as exposure, influence and engagement are
very helpful to gauge activities in the social sites to take effective actions and
build healthy relations with customer.

2.7 Brand loyalty and social media

Nowadays marketers forced to think differently to distribute a product / service.


The necessity of the consumer to feel related and connected with the product /
service drove brand managers and marketers to look for solutions not in an
offline but online world. The social media is more interactive way than the
traditional media and it is highly possible to build a very long relationship with
customers. The long-lasting relationship creates the brand loyal customers. The
customers feel loyal when they participate and experience the product / service
and when their perceptions are fulfilled. It is called the engagement marketing.
As per marketers, the effective way to build brand loyalty can happen when the
customer engaged with the brand product / service. (KPMG International, 2011)

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There are several steps to build brand loyalty through the social media (KPMG
International, 2011, pp. 3-6): to engage customers, to enhance consumer
experience, to emphasize core brand values, and to reward loyal customers.

Engage customers – obtain regular customer feedback and inquire about


customers’ preferences / choices. PepsiCo actively communicates and carries
continuous conversations over Twitter. As per the company, Twitter is the best
way to handle complaints and comments about the brand and product / service
it offers. (KPMG International, 2011)

Sticking to the social media marketing campaigns the companies can enhance
the customer’s experience and build brand loyalty (KPMG International, 2011).
As per The Best Western hotel group managing director of marketing and e-
commerce Karmela Gaffney, the company launched “Be a Travel Hero”
campaign on Facebook and with the help of this campaign fans created unique
travel groups when booking their next trip. This activity helped the brand page
to attract nearly 500,000 fans on Facebook. (Wharton, 2012)

The social media platforms enable the enterprises to emphasize core brand
values and brand image while promoting their products (KPMG International,
2012). For example, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts advertised its properties and
services while polling customers on Facebook. (Hitz, 2014)

Rewarding the loyal customers can stimulate more revisits to the social media
sites (KPMG International, 2011). Therefore, companies look for ways to
prepare strategies to attract the customers and fulfil their needs. Fairmont
Hotels and Resorts award the loyal guests with the Fairmont President’s Club
membership where members have an access to a wide variety of
complimentary perks, Hilton Hotels and Resorts can earn points at around
4,000 hotels in 91 different countries by signing in Hilton Honours program,
Hyatt Hotels and Resorts rewards Hyatt Gold Passport members with points at
over 500 participating hotels all over the world, Starwood Preferred Guest
program allows guests to access other Starwood hotels, Marriott Rewards
program offers some discounts and Choice Privileges program allows members
to earn points for every dollar spent. (The BigDoor Blog, 2014)

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In conclusion, the social media is very helpful platform for enterprises to engage
in customers, allow them to experience the brand product / service, raise the
brand values and image awareness through the brand product / service
promotion and work up online loyalty programs to reward the loyal guests.

To sum up, this chapter displayed the necessary clues to develop further
strategy to analyse the findings. In the literature, it has been noticed that the
social media is used in relation with brand awareness and loyalty, indeed. The
scholars have mentioned that brand awareness and brand loyalty are main
components of brand equity which the latter is the essential asset of brands.
The social media platforms are the contemporary and the most up-to-date
technological innovations to support the enterprises to design effective social
media marketing campaigns.

3. METHODOLOGY

The research in tourism as a service industry became to be important, because


it was an economic development tool in a national and international level and
had an incredible economic benefit to the region, in general to the country
(Jennings, 2010). The research in the tourism industry has become important
as follow (Jennings, 2010, p. 7):

x It provides information for planning and management at the local,


regional, state, national, and international levels;
x It provides information on the social, environmental and economic
impacts of tourism;
x It offers insights into the motivations, needs, expectations and
levels of satisfaction of tourist;
x It highlights educational needs for commercial operators and
service providers;
x It generates temporal views of the past, present and future;
x It offers information / data for use in the business sphere, such as
marketing and promotion;
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x It allows comparisons to be made and policies to be developed;
x It enables operators, tourism bodies and governments evaluate
tourism and its outcomes in a variety of contexts.

The research philosophy is the comprehensions of the researcher about how he


/ she sees the world and these assumptions allow the scientist to choose the
right research strategy and methods in the chosen topic (Saunders, Lewis and
Thornhill, 2009). As stated on Jennings (2010, p. 7) ‘[r] esearch is an activity
that gathers information on a phenomenon using scientific rigour and academic
acumen’. The research process, as it is described in Jennings (2010), consists
of three stages: core function, information needs and methodology.

The core functions of the research mainly base on pure and applied research
type, especially in the social sciences. The pure research or basic research is
the basis of building theories, frameworks and models. With the help of applied
research academics, scholars, research agencies, government agencies and
bodies at the local, regional, national and international level, tourism
organisations and associations, tourism operators, tourism industry sector
associations, and the community design a research problem to gather
information to fill the gaps applying to a problem, issue or planning needs.
(Jennings, 2010)

There are seven approaches to information needs required in the social


sciences research world: exploratory, descriptive, explanatory, causal,
comparative, evaluative and predictive. (Jennings, 2010)

There are three types of research methodology used in the research field:
qualitative, quantitative and mixed method. (Jennings, 2010)

By taking into consideration above mentioned research philosophy and


processes, this chapter is going to expose the research design – the research
approach, the research methodology and the data collection means.

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3.1 Research design

Aaker, Kumar and Day (2001, p. 70) describes a research design as ‘the
detailed blueprint used to guide a research study toward its objectives’. The
research design is all about how researcher is going to answer to his / her
question(s) and it contains clear objective, framed from the research
question(s), specifies the data collection sources and takes into granted the
difficulties the researcher faces (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009).

3.1.1 Research approach


The research approach varies from one researcher to another. The
classification of research approach has been described distinctively by the
researchers, although the main concept remains the same. Jennings (2010)
widely describes seven approaches in the social sciences – exploratory,
descriptive, explanatory, causal, comparative, evaluative, predictive, which
determine researcher’s intention to look for information. Furthermore, Saunders,
Lewis and Thornhill (2009) depict three approaches – exploratory, descriptive
and explanatory, in the business studies. Meanwhile, Aaker, Kumar and Day
(2001) outline three approaches as well, but different than the previous
researchers they add causal instead of explanatory approach and relate it to the
marketing studies. In fact, though the causal approach derives from either
exploratory or descriptive research and mainly relates to quantitative
methodology (Jennings, 2010), the author expels causal approach method. As
this study does not compare and evaluate different studies as well as does not
predict the future implications of the research topic (Jennings, 2010), the author
excludes them. The descriptive approach allows the researcher to describe and
portray the phenomenon under the chosen study (Aaker, Kumar and Day, 2001;
Jennings, 2010; Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009), that is why this
approach does not help to design this study. On the other hand, exploratory and
explanatory approaches perfectly suit to design the chosen topic.

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3.1.1.1 Exploratory approach
The researchers adopt an exploratory approach when there are very little or no
information / data exist, the deeper understanding of the problem is necessary
or the possible decision alternatives are searched (Aaker, Kumar and Day,
2001; Jennings, 2010; Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009). According to
Jennings (2010), this approach contributes to develop more extensive research
project and mainly based on the qualitative methodology, secondary sources,
expert opinions and observations as well as this method is relevantly flexible,
unstructured and adaptable to change (Aaker, Kumar and Day, 2001; Jennings,
2010; Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009). In accordance with Saunders,
Lewis and Thornhill (2009, p. 140), exploratory research is supervised by three
techniques: a search of the literature, interviewing experts in the subject,
conducting focus group interviews.

3.1.1.2 Explanatory approach


Essentially, explanatory approach focuses to clarify the how and why of the
specific phenomenon under the specific research (Jennings, 2010). A
researcher with the help of this method attempts to explain the relationship
between variables (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009). As the scientist
struggles to find the cause to describe specific pattern, it is highly possible there
is some similarity with causal approach (Jennings, 2010). To support this idea,
Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009, p. 140) highlights, ‘[s] tudies that establish
causal relationships between variables may be termed explanatory research’.
The only distinction between explanatory and causal approach, explains
Jennings (2010), is the latter mainly depends on the hypotheses. In addition,
researcher in the former approach can use quantitative or qualitative
methodologies or mixed method (Jennings, 2010).

3.1.2 Research methodology


In general, there are two different approaches to gather empirical materials /
data on any research project: qualitative and quantitative. According to
Jennings (2010, pp. 20-21), ‘[a] qualitative methodology gathers information as

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text-based units, which represents the social reality, context and attributes of
the [..] phenomenon under study’. On the other hand, quantitative methodology
presents the findings based on numerical results (Jennings, 2010). In
quantitative methodology a researcher initiates theories, builds hypotheses and
gather data from the real-world facts and tries to support or proof the
hypotheses (Jennings, 2010). The differences between qualitative and
quantitative methodologies clearly are depicted in table 5:

Table 5: The differences between qualitative and quantitative methodology


Quantitative Qualitative
Numbers Words
Point of view of researcher Point of views of participants
Researcher distant Researcher close
Theory testing Theory emergent
Static Process
Structured Unstructured
Generalisation Contextual understanding
Hard reliable data Rich deep data
Macro Micro
Behaviour Meaning
Artificial settings Natural settings
Source: Bryman and Bell, 2003, p. 302 cited in Greener, 2008, p. 80.

As a matter of fact that the chosen topic does not require any proof of
hypotheses, numerical data collection or any other variables listed in table 5,
the author easily can cross the quantitative methodology out and focus on the
qualitative one.

3.1.2.1 Qualitative
The qualitative research, stated in Nykiel (2007, p. 39), ‘is a set of research
techniques […] in which data are obtained from a relatively small group of
respondents and not analysed with statistical techniques’. To support this
definition, Jennings (2010) also highlights that qualitative research method is

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used in small groups to gain in-depth information from participants under the
specific study. As expressed in Nykiel (2007), from the market research aspect
qualitative methodology aids researcher to determine behaviours, favourable
circumstances and problems associated with target market and market
segment. Nykiel (2007) professes that qualitative methodology is the reason of
emergence several new products / services and concepts. He lists four
unanimously accepted criteria of qualitative methodology (2007, p. 40):

Credibility – researcher’s interpretations must be acceptable to other


researchers, managers of service organisations, etc.

Transferability – results must be relevant to other organisations and situations.

Dependability – findings must permit forecasting or exploration (e.g., to support


related theories).

Conformability – similar groups in similar organisations should also be able to


duplicate the research findings.

The credibility of qualitative methodology allows the author of this research topic
to get into contact with the related management department in the chosen case
company. The findings of this research study can be easily transferred to other
related studies and could be used in the relevant situations. The qualitative
methodology allows author to support his idea with the findings. The results of
this research can be used in the company’s strategy which is the proof of last
criteria of qualitative methodology.

3.1.3 Research strategy


To support above mentioned approaches (sub-chapters 3.1.1.1 and 3.1.1.2)
proper research strategy (methods) should be employed. Some researchers
(Jennings, 2010; Schmidt and Hollensen, 2006) call it as the methods, others
(Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009; Riy, 2003) name it like the research
strategies. However, in general all the aims are the one to determine the
research design. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009, p. 600) define research
strategy as ‘[t] he general plan of how the researcher will go about answering
the research question(s)’. To identify the right research strategy, as per Yin
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(2003, p. 1), three conditions must be taken into consideration: the type of
research question, the control an investigator has over actual behavioural
events and the focus on contemporary as opposed to historical phenomena.
Hence, the chosen research strategy should be able to answer the particular
question(s) and meet the objectives of researcher (Saunders, Lewis and
Thornhill, 2009). In order to choose the suitable research design researcher
must consider the following research strategies (methods) (Jennings, 2010;
Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009; Schmidt and Hollensen, 2006; Riy, 2003):
experiment, survey, case study, action search, grounded theory, ethnography
and archival research. Each of them has a specific role in answering the
questions of researcher, requires the special time to spend on the study and
differently fits with the philosophy of scientists (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill,
2009). Hereby, the author of this particular topic has already chosen the case
study as his research strategy indeed. In the following sub-chapter the case
study method is going to be depicted.

3.1.3.1 Case study method


As a matter of fact, the case studies are perfectly exploited while how and why
questions are raised by the researcher who has a little dominating over
investigated topic (Yi, 2003). In this case, the explanatory approach (see sub-
chapter 3.1.1.2) perfectly coincides with the case study method. On the other
hand, Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) argue that the case study method
is a useful tool to answer a question what as well. Thus, the case study
research strategy can be utilized in exploratory research indeed. Schramm
(1971 cited in Yin, 2003, p. 12) amplifies the essence of a case study as ‘the
central tendency among all types of case study, is that it tries to illuminate a
decision or set of decisions: why they were taken, how they were implemented,
and with what result’.

As stated on Yin (2003, p. 13): ’[a] case study is an empirical inquiry that (a)
investigates a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within its real-life
context, especially, when (b) the boundaries between phenomenon and context
are not clearly evident’. Yin’s above mentioned (a) part of explanation widely

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accepted by Robson (2002 cited in Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009) and
Stake (2006 in Jennings, 2010).

The case study strategy is the part of research design of some studies in the
field of anthropology, business, marketing, community studies, education,
ethnography, history, human resources, industrial relations, innovation and
technological studies, law enforcement, organisational research, planning and
development, political science, programme evaluation psychology, public
health, sociology and social work (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2002; Gilgun, 1994;
Yin, 1981b, 2003a cited in Smith, 2010; Cohen, Manion and Morrison, 2007;
Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009).

Obviously, the case study method came into use in the tourism field as well.
The deeper insights, comprehensions and perceptions of the investigated
phenomena (Smith, 2010) that the case study strategy provides enable this
method to design some tourism research strategies. Johns and Lee-Ross (1998
cited in Nykiel, 2007) highlight the importance of case study method as
germane research tool in service industry.

Smith (2010) argues that the case study method requires a wide variety of
sources such as empirical and subjective, primary and secondary more than the
other types of research strategies. In the following sub-chapter the data
collection methods relevant to the assigned research topic is going to be
exposed.

3.1.4 Data collection


The information or data collection is one of the essential parts of the research
design. The researcher must be careful while considering what data and in
which way to collect information to answer the research question(s). Jennings
(2010) identifies two types of data collection: primary data and empirical
material sources and secondary data and empirical material sources.

Jennings (2010) claims the primary data or empirical material collection is the
basis of all the research projects. Nykiel (2007) suggests starting with the
search of the secondary data collection prior to starting the whole project.

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In fact, the investigated research study is based on the case study, which
requires the primary data (see sub-chapter 3.1.3.1) and research questions
(see sub-chapter 1.1.2) demand secondary data sources.

3.1.4.1 Secondary data and empirical material sources


Secondary data are collected beforehand by some other researchers for other
purposes which can be used in other projects as a secondary source (Aaker,
Kumar and Day, 2001; Jennings, 2010; Nykiel, 2007; Saunders, Lewis and
Thornhill, 2009; Schmidt and Hollensen, 2006). The secondary data can be in
both raw data (statistical sources) and published summaries (documentary
sources) (Jennings, 2010; Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009). Aaker, Kumar
and Day (2001) classify secondary data into two parts: internal and external
(see figure 6).

Figure 6: Sources of secondary data

Source: Own illustration based on Aaker, Kumar and Day, 2001, p. 103.

Based on Bryman (1989), Dale et al. (1988), Hakim (1982, 2000) and Robson
(2002) studies stated in Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009), the latter ones
developed three main sub-groups of secondary data: documentary data,

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survey-based data and multiple sources. In comparison with Aaker and his
team’s classification (2001), Saunders with colleagues (2009) has not
separated the data search into internal and external ones. In point of fact, the
author uses both internal and external data, because the case company is a
part of this research topic.

The external source is derived from published data, in a printed or electronic


form, which can be found by having some simple searches, and they are useful
in exploratory research to gain a sufficient answer to many research questions
(Schmidt and Hollensen, 2006). Certainly, the author of this research exploited
the most of the source types listed in figure 6.

The researcher collects the internal data within the firm. Figure 6 clearly
exposes the information sources which can be searched within enterprises.
However, the confidentiality of the internal data of the case company’s did not
allow author of this study to inquest the data from the archive which could be
helpful in answering the formulated questions.

3.1.4.2 Primary data and empirical material sources


The primary data collection or empirical material collection, as per Jennings
(2010, p. 70), is ‘the term used to describe any data or empirical materials that
are collected by a researcher directly from subjects / participants or study / text
units associated with the [..] phenomenon being researched’. The researcher
can assemble the primary data with the help of the questionnaires, experiments,
observation and surveys (Nykiel, 2007).

The experiments are the primary data collection tool which conducted either
under laboratory conditions or in the field (Nykiel, 2007).

Observation is the primary data compilation method where the researcher, in


order to gain more accurate information, employs the systematic observation,
personal or electronic recording, description, analyses and interpretation of the
elected study element (Jennings, 2010; Nykiel, 2007; Saunders, Lewis and
Thornhill, 2009).

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Survey and questionnaire terms are used interchangeably by some scholars
(Jennings, 2010; Nykiel, 2007) in the research world. However, as per
Sarantakos (2005 cited in Jennings, 2010), the survey is conducted through the
oral interviewing where the questionnaire is obtained through written
questioning. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) acknowledge questionnaire
as a survey strategy tool.

The author of this research theme conducted information through a


questionnaire type of data collection. In the questionnaire, the researchers
mainly use personal interviews, telephone interviews, postal questionnaires,
structured interview, computer-based interviews or direct mail questionnaires
(Jennings, 2010; Nykiel, 2007; Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009). The
author has sent in advance prepared written questionnaire via email to PR and
marketing manager of the case company as per request. Questionnaire has
been designed by adopting the list questions tactics where ‘yes / no, agree /
disagree, applies / does not apply, don’t know/not sure, other’ and ‘please say /
please specify answer’ (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009, p. 375) are used.

4. DATA ANALYSIS

4.1 The impact of social media platforms on brand awareness

The Social media platforms, as a social media marketing strategy which


enables access to a large number of users in all over the world, have the
potential to increase site traffic, boost brand awareness and multiply product /
service sales of enterprises (Weinberg, 2009). The benefits of social media
platforms such as friends recommend links, websites, and products / services to
their peers provide practical strategies to raise positive first impression of the
diverse audience on a brand (Weinberg, 2009).

In chapter 2.6, the strategies to create brand awareness already has been
identified. Inasmuch as, driving engagement and perfectly written content can

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create brand awareness. Aaker (1991, 1996) highlights that advertising and
awareness messages are one of the ways to create brand awareness.
Advertising can inspire the consumer to engage and become part of a brand
community (The Ad Age Content Strategy Studio and Google, 2014). The
awareness message which nowadays relevantly is named content marketing
should be precise, attractive, well-written and memorable for the consumer
(Aaker, 1991). The chosen content requires the relevant social media platform
to focus on (The AMA Marketing Watch, 2013).

According to Cooperstein (cited in The Ad Age Content Strategy Studio and


Google, 2014, p. 2), ‘[i] n this age of the customer, the only sustainable
competitive advantage is knowledge of and engagement with customers’. The
engagement is ‘a spectrum of consumer advertising activities and experiences
– cognitive, emotional and physical – that will have a positive impact on a brand’
(The Ad Age Content Strategy Studio and Google, 2014, p. 2).

The content marketing, as stated in The AMA Marketing Watch (2013), is the
latest trend in marketing which interconnects information, education and
conversation by employing the diverse social media platforms relevant to the
content.

In general, one tool has been chosen from each of the platforms to analyse the
impact on brand awareness. For example, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,
YouTube and WordPress are from social networks, microblogging, photo
sharing, video sharing and blogging, respectively.

4.1.1 Facebook as a tool


Facebook is a necessary marketing tool for connecting users and engaging with
customers and prospects to a brand (Millstone Branding, 2012). This social
network tool allows the brand to engage with people who are most likely to be
interested in the brand and be part of the brand family (Facebook, n.d., a).
Marketers use Facebook to identify the target group and understand their needs
to initiate a new product / service (Facebook, n.d., b).

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Facebook (n.d., b) suggests an effective method of creating consumer
awareness of the brand. By employing this method the brand can leverage
Facebook’s immense reach and targeting capabilities with Facebook Ads and
Sponsored Stories. This method consists of five steps: a) create a Facebook
Ads campaign that encourages people to take an action that will be seen by
their friends; b) integrate Social Plugins and the Graph API, such as the Like
Button, into your website and mobile experiences; c) post interesting content
with clear calls to action that encourage interaction and sharing; d) run
Sponsored Stories to promote people’s actions from the News Feed to the right
column of their friends’ screen; e) use Facebook’s unique reach and targeting
capabilities to optimize and iterate on your campaigns. (Facebook, n.d., b)

Facebook Ads are paid messages which help marketers to better target
Facebook users with the interaction and engagement of their friends.
Sponsored stories, similar to Facebook Ads, are also paid messages displayed
on the side of Facebook users’ wall whose friends engaged in what activity.
(Facebook, 2012)

Social plugins are tools such as Like button, Share button, Embedded posts,
Comments box that users can use to share their experiences with their peer
(Facebook, 2014). Like button helps Facebook users to like the content, in case
if it is interesting, displayed in News Feed.

The Graph API is the primary way to query data, post new stories, upload
photos and a variety of other tasks on Facebook's social graph (Facebook,
2014).

Status updates, photos / videos shares, links, app activity and likes, contents
from the pages and groups Facebook user follow are displayed in the middle of
Facebook so far called News Feed. (Facebook, 2014)

Aaker (1991, 1996) divides brand awareness into two parts: brand recognition
and brand recall. To take this into consideration, it is possible to mention that to
run Facebook Ads to promote the campaign, as the first step strategy, plays a
crucial role in generating brand recognition and brand recall. Firstly, brand
recognition, because consumer selects a brand at the point of purchase (Aaker,

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1991). Secondly, effective advertising helps brand to be in consideration set to
be recalled (Aaker, 1991).

The main principle of a content marketing strategy is based on the healthy


conversation (The AMA Marketing Watch, 2013). Obviously, in the third step,
interestingly prepared contents encourage Facebook users as the part of an
ongoing conversation to share the content and be a part of a viral awareness
campaign (Facebook, n.d., b).

Overall, brand awareness is created by visibility. Meanwhile, visibility proceeds


from an excessive number of users who participate in the enterprise’s Facebook
page (Millstone Branding, 2012). The myriad number of people can be attracted
by the help of the effective content strategy. The well-prepared and targeted
content strategy can encourage Facebook users engage in the conversation,
share the content and make the brand product / service go viral.

4.1.2 Twitter as a tool


The digital marketing agency 360i claims that Twitter is designed for usage by
people rather than the corporations (2010). To support this idea, Millstone
consulting company (2013) suggests that 80 / 20 rule can shape a long-lasting
relationship between customer and brand. In this rule, 80 percent of effort
should create conversations with the customer and the rest 20 percent can be
spend for information about the brand.

Twitter is alike Facebook, people designate the visibility of the brand message
and a well-prepared content creates engagement, so engagement generates
more people and enables the brand to create the powerful content with the help
of the available features

The powerful content generates engagement. In fact, people prefer to re / tweet


the positive contents which are based on the form of links, photos, videos and
quotes. The properly deployed content attracts people to participate in the
conversations and re / tweet the brand product / service on Twitter. Tweets with
images are estimated to drive double the engagement. Additionally, the
appropriate content which answers questions, offers best practices, gives

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product insight and addresses frequently asked questions prevents negative
feedback and provide people with necessary information about the brand.
(Sprout Social, n.d.)

Twitting with images alongside with links (Simply Measured, 2014) boosts brand
visibility (see sub-chapter 4.1.1) and doubles the engagement (Sprout Social,
n.d.). A retweet feature of Twitter plays important role in the engagement
(Simply Measured, 2014).

Another more useful feature of Twitter is the hashtag (‘#’) symbol (see sub-
chapter 2.5.2). As it is mentioned in sub-chapter 4.1.1, advertising raises brand
recognition and brand recall, then hashtag function of Twitter is used in
advertisements to encourage people to talk about the brand (UKNetMonitor,
2013).

The hashtag feature of Twitter, similar to images and links effect, increases
engagement as well as visibility. The hashtags stimulate conversation around a
brand. By locating the hash symbol (#) before any words, one creates a new
hashtag, which other users can search and join the conversations under
particular hashtag. By providing the valuable hashtag content can cause more
engagement in the brand conversations. (UKNetMonitor, 2013) Statistically, two
times more engagement happens when the hash symbol tagged to tweets than
those untagged (Marketing cloud, 2012). The more engagement means the
more visibility and increase in visibility creates effective brand awareness.

Starbucks UK has used the hashtag function of Twitter to create brand


awareness by initiating #freestarbucks campaign. As a result of this campaign,
thousands of new customers showed up on store, thousands of internet users
followed the brand page and each and every person who took part in this
campaign has been contacted personally. (UKNetMonitor, 2013)

4.1.3 Instagram as a tool


The even concept to create brand awareness (create content – increase
engagement – extend visibility) on Facebook and Twitter applies on Instagram
as well. This photo sharing tool is highly effective in driving the brand

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awareness of a product / service (Instagram, 2013). Instagram suggests starting
to create brand awareness by designing relevant content. As Instagram is a
photo sharing platform, then the content is basically based on the photo.
However, the recent adjunction of video sharing content allows marketers to
heavily focus on two contents. Instagram (2013) advices three features such as
Hashtags, Add people and Name This Location, which will help the content to
be discoverable.

The Hashtags feature on Instagram is similar to the one on Facebook and


Twitter. Based on Instagram suggestion, hashtags are useful when
classification of images brand posts is necessary for marketers. By tagging the
hash symbol in front of any phrase can attract the new followers who search a
particular topic about brand. The hashtags are used in to support campaigns
and contests by asking people to post the brand related photos / videos with the
hashtags. (Instagram, 2013) As an example, Red Bull a beverage company
shows its brand spirit by #FLIYINGFRIDAY hashtag on the post (Oracle, 2012).

The Add people function on Instagram also is a powerful feature while working
on a content creation. Instagram recommends marketers to encourage people
to add official brand account on the photo / video they post on their own
accounts. Consequently, the posts where the brand official account has been
added to appear to be in brand’s Photos of You function. The big difference
between Hashtags and Add people features is that hashtags are mostly found
by searching, but the posts with Add people can be easily found under Photos
of You part of Instagram. (Instagram, 2013)

Brand marketers use Name This Location feature to add pictures from an event,
road show, retail location or company headquarters to Photo Map function on
Instagram profile. The former allows the followers to access to latter to explore
images / videos posted by a particular brand. (Instagram, 2013) For instance,
Starbucks provides in-store experience of the people who cannot travel to the
first Starbucks coffee shop in Seattle by using the Name This Location feature
to post photos / videos (Oracle, 2012)

Instagram community is essential for a brand, because the brand is a part of the
community (Instagram, 2013). Instagram community is based on the audience

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and contributors (Goudin, n.d.). The audience consists of people who follow the
official brand account. Contrary to the audience, the contributors do not
necessarily follow the official brand account, but are willing to show some
connection with the brand by posting photos / videos. These both groups help
the brand to increase visibility on Instagram (Goudin, n.d.). So then how to
engage with the community? Instagram answers this question that, except
posting powerful photos / videos brand should follow other accounts, comment
on and like posts by followers, and respond to the questions and comments on
its profile (Instagram, 2013). Announcing the contests boost engagement, too
(Oracle, 2012).

4.1.4 YouTube as a tool


YouTube is another tool for creating brand awareness. At the first glance it can
be reckoned that YouTube is not a powerful social media platform to raise
brand awareness, because it embraces just one content and it is all about
video. However, about the importance and power of YouTube and video sharing
tools are already mentioned in sub-chapter 2.5.4. In addition, a Millward Brown
study (cited in Miller, 2011) identified that 82 percent of people were aware of
the brand and 77 percent recalled the brand name by viewing videos online.
The people in the age group of between 18-34 years old prefer brands which
provide information, give choice and entertain them (Google: Think Insight,
2014).

YouTube (Google, YouTube, n.d., a) suggests that the content plan is important
to reach the desired audience. That is why the content strategy design is
necessary before jumping for video creation. YouTube (Google, YouTube, n.d.,
a) identified three ways to encourage people to care about brand’s content.
Firstly, the content should inspire people with interesting stories. Secondly, the
content should contain valuable information to drag people’s interest. Lastly, the
strategy should be designed in a way that people would feel entertained,
stunned, amazed, happy and joyful.

A brand engagement campaign is designed to establish an understanding and


awareness of product / service which is associated with the brand and customer

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relationships. As explained in sub-chapter 4.1.1, the ads are the main
determinants of engagement. In a YouTube study (2014), it is revealed that
YouTube’s TrueView Ads feature drags the attention of the audience and allows
them to choose and control the ads they wish and drives engagement with
advertised brands. Another study by YouTube (Google, YouTube, n.d., b)
exposes that attention level of people while broadcasting ads on YouTube is 1.5
times more than watching TV.

YouTube’s TrueView Ads is a click-to-pay function. The brand pays YouTube


while the user chooses to watch the advertisement. (Google, YouTube, 2012a)
This function has two ad formats: in-stream and in-display. In-display format
enables marketers to place an advertisement either on the recommended
videos list on the right side of the streaming video or in the search results. The
former gives an opportunity to the marketers to locate an advertisement before
another video on YouTube. The brand is charged in both formats. In-display
format it is charged on a cost-per-view. However, advertisers are charged when
the first 30 seconds of ad were watched. Even the advertisement is shorter than
30 seconds, then advertisers are charged as well. (Marvin, 2014) (see graph 1)

Graph 1: In-stream and in-display ads

Source: Own illustration from YouTube, 2014.

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The above mentioned tactics such as content building and engaging with the
audience are effective if those actions will be strategized in YouTube’s Brand
Channel. This customised option on YouTube allows enterprises to easily make
changes, design channel to give a brand experience, add videos, moderate
user comments, limit the demographic level of audience to preserve brand
environment and measure how people react to which videos. (Google,
YouTube, 2012b; Marketing Cloud, 2013)

4.1.5 WordPress as a tool


Alike in the previously mentioned social media tools, the well-prepared content
strategy and engagement actions are applied to WordPress as well. Beth
Monaghan (The AMA Marketing Watch, 2013), founder and principle of Ink
House, suggests all her clients to start their business with blogs. As per her, a
content creation is directly associated with conversation and blogs are all about
conversation then it is wise to start branding on blogs. Similar to other tools,
WordPress provides features that the brand can write a brand story or
enterprise related posts on the platform. While composing posts, WordPress
suggests Categories section where brand can choose appropriate categories to
help people to search and find a particular topic. With the help of Post Tags
function the brand can tag the key words which allow people to easily find the
searched content on the internet. (Ura, n.d.)

Theoretically and, in fact, practically, the other social media tools, websites can
be directed to WordPress’s platform which enables this tool to be functional and
great weapon to create healthy content and attract people to engage with the
brand experience. The Links function helps brands to manage links to outside
blogs and websites to attract people as well as limit the people who do not have
any relation with particular brands. WordPress enables brands to create blog
website and design it in a way that readers can feel the brand experience,
indeed. (Ura, n.d.)

According to Weinberg (2009), one of the successful ways to encourage


engagement is to run the series of interviews. He argues that to interview
experts and ask questions to the readers help bloggers (in that mean it can be

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brand blog as well) to attract more people to the blogging website. Then he
explains that users are prone to share the information which is about them and
this curiosity can generate a lot of traffics and links that can help to create
awareness.

To conclude, all above mentioned social media tools have specific strategic
objectives in the social media campaigns. In general, it totally depends on the
brand to use them or not in their plan to target consumer groups. In addition,
nowadays all the enterprises fathom the importance of social media’s
significance and the possibilities it provides. Therefore, they prefer to use more
engaged social media platforms to attract more customers and be effective in
selling their products / services.

4.2 The impact of social media platforms on brand loyalty

The social media activities awaken not only brand awareness, but also build
brand loyalty. McKee (2010 cited in Erdoğmuş and Çiçek, 2012) argues that
brand loyalty can be built through social media with the help of networking,
conversation, and community building. In chapter 2.7, the relationship between
the brand loyalty and social media has been discussed. Thus, in the literature
(KPMG International, 2011) it has been found that the social media as a
marketing campaign tool can build and raise a customer loyalty towards a
specific brand. KPMG International (2011), professional services company,
identified four different steps to build brand loyalty. In the first step, the brands
should target customers to be engaged in them in order to enhance customer
experience in the second step. The third phase helps the brands to enhance the
core brand values while engaging with the customers. It is suggested that in the
last phase the brands should reward the customers for their loyalty. In the
following sub-chapters the analyses of the chosen social media platforms’
impact on building brand loyalty will be described.

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4.2.1 Facebook as a tool
To take into consideration above mentioned steps (see chapter 4.2) to build
brand loyalty in social media platforms, Facebook (n.d., b, p. 11) also suggest
relevant steps to build brand loyalty such as 1) remind people that you are on
Facebook and there to communicate with them; 2) develop an authentic
personality and voice; 3) ask questions, listen and be responsive, take part in a
two-way conversation; 4) use the Graph API and Social Plugins to create more
personalised and relevant online experiences to build loyalty; 5) let your fans
know they are special and reward them for their relationship.

In fact, the engagement is all about to create a healthy environment to start


conversations and in the first and third steps to build brand loyalty on Facebook
which allow the brand to communicate and engage with customers. As it is
explained in chapter 4.1 that the engagement is created by advertisement and
the ways to raise brand engagement on Facebook are explained in sub-chapter
4.1.1. The same method is applied in building brand loyalty on Facebook. In
addition, Facebook (n.d., b) suggests integrate Facebook page into a brand
website with the help of Graph API (see sub-chapter 4.1.1) to get a clear map
who is already a member of the Facebook community.

The second phase is similar to ‘emphasizing core brand values’ mentioned in


KPMG International (2011 see chapters 2.7 and 4.2). Facebook (n.d., b)
recommends creating brand stories those customers care and are willing to
share with non-loyal customers. Certainly, the brand story should carry and
emphasize the core brand values, brand personality and brand voice.
Obviously, the brand story is the strategic tool of content marketing (Kissane,
2011). Consequently, it is applicable to mention that ‘emphasizing core brand
values’ step in building brand loyalty is similar to content marketing strategy
(see chapter 4.1) to create brand awareness.

The fourth stage enables brands to enliven people to feel brand experiences.
To bring it into practice Facebook advises the brands to adopt Graph API and
Social Plugins (see sub-chapter 4.1.1). For instance, the Accor hotel group
launched an online loyalty program ‘Le Club Accorhotels’ which allows
members to earn bonus points when they check-in on Facebook. Over 240,000

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fans engaged in the ‘Le Club Accorhotels’ Facebook page, indeed. (Accor,
2014)

In the last phase, according to Facebook (n.d., b), the brands should grant
customers with the sense of speciality and reward them for their engagement in
the brand page. For example, the brands organise Facebook contests and post
the picture or give a gift to the winner (Cavoto, n.d.).

4.2.2 Twitter as a tool


The engagement marketing is so important in the social media that it is used not
only in creating brand awareness, but also in building brand loyalty. In sub-
chapter 4.1.2, the ways to engage with customers is clarified. Inasmuch as the
same tactics are also used in building brand loyalty. To engage with customers
and let them feel special by answering their questions and comments. Sprung
(2013) highlights to be extremely responsive in replying to the questions is the
way to engage with happy customers.

In the previous sub-chapter 4.2.1, it has been found out that emphasizing core
brand values are based on the effective content strategy. Twitter content tactics
in creating brand awareness are explained in sub-chapter 4.1.2. The similar
strategy is also applied in creating customer loyalty. The well-prepared content
strategy can lead unforgettable brand experience. This tactic is used by Coca-
Cola – the beverage company in the 2014 World Cup Tournament. The brand
created the Coca-Cola Twitter header image where the brand was inviting
people to take their selfie picture in Brazil and send them to HappinessFlag.com
website to build world’s largest photo mosaic flag. (Gunelius, 2014)

Twitter helps the brands to acquire the loyal customers by providing them some
initiatives. For instance, guests can earn 25 points in case they follow the
Marriott’s Twitter account or re / tweet the content provided by Marriott Rewards
Twitter account under the hashtag #MRPoints. (Trejos, 2014)

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4.2.3 Instagram as a tool
The content strategy and the tactics used in the customer engagement to build
brand building on Instagram is similar in the same way brand awareness is
created. To keep loyalty high the brands should continually ask questions and
respond them to know the satisfaction level of customers (KMPG, 2011). The
hashtag symbol helps brands to create the content where the core brand values
are obvious and informative to keep the customer to be loyal to the brand and
visit the brand’s Instagram page. The customers’ revisit and likes of content
boost engagement level high. The higher engagement means the more loyal
customers. In fact, Instagram functions in both the web-based and mobile
application platforms. However, the mobile app is more functional and easy to
customise. This easy customisation allows the brands to access app anywhere
in the world and followers can get up-to-dated every single event and post
which are created by the brand. For example, a watch brand Linde Werdelin
(LW) (see graph 2) posts the new released watches displayed in exhibitions in
different parts of the world. On one hand, by adding location (see sub-chapter
4.1.3) the brand shows that the products / services are welcomed by other parts
of the world. On the other hand, by tagging (see sub-chapter 4.1.3) celebrities
enables loyal customer realise that the brand you like is accepted by popular
people.

Graph 2: Linde Werdelin on Instagram

Source: Own capture based on Linde Werdelin Instagram page.

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Instagram’s unique feature Name This Location creates a special experience
while the customer does not have a chance to visit the exhibition where the new
products are released. In Linde Werdelin case (see graph 2), the followers can
feel themselves in the exhibition and see the brand new products on Instagram
exclusively.

The Napa Valley winery Whitehall Lane started the standard social media
campaigns such as contests and giveaways on Instagram. The brand was
inviting followers to use Add people feature to tag @whitehalllane on their post
and win the wine glasses and cookbooks. (Julig, 2013)

4.2.4 YouTube as a tool


The happy consumers are more likely to be a loyal to the brand (Oracle, 2011).
How to make consumer feel happy? The well-chosen content strategy attracts
people to engage with the brand product / service. In case the consumer gains
the valuable information and receives the vibe, to be more concise, bonds
emotionally to the brand, then the hearty connections are ignited between the
consumer and brand. The two tactics such as the content strategy and
customer engagement are used in creating brand awareness (sub-chapter
4.1.4) have the same effect in building brand loyalty on YouTube.

In fact, loyal consumers can be acquired by enhancing their experience about


the brand (KPMG International, 2011). Mr. Lenderman clarifies that ‘experiential
marketing lessens the distance between the consumer and the brand’ (Lawler,
2013, p. C1). Inasmuch as YouTube’s Brand Channel service creates a unique
brand experience by adding relevant, inspiring, educative and entertaining
content to keep consumers up-to-dated, ease the boundaries between the
consumer and brand relations and turn them from non-subscribed viewers to
subscribed loyal fans (Google, YouTube, n.d., a). The UndercoverTourist.com
website is a great example about how to use this strategy on the absolute
circumstances. To sell an authorised Disney Parks USA and other Florida area
attractions tickets, founder and CEO of Undercover Tourist, Ian Ford benefited
from YouTube services to build up a unique customer experience. Remarkably,
Ian shot some simple and authentic videos (in this case he used relevant

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content strategy) to share his personal experiences with consumer (in this case
he let consumer to engage). Certainly, those videos took place on YouTube
channel not only to offer great ticket deals, but also to allot valuable information
about attractions and which one of them is designed to which age group,
educate people how to use attractions and invoke previous memories related to
attraction. (Google, YouTube, 2012c)

The loyalty programs allow the brands to reward the consumers for their
engagement with the brand product / service. To keep the customer re /
purchasing the brand product / service, deeply engaging with the brand
community and providing a strong value proposition to the customer the brands
design the rewards programs. (Capgemini, 2012) For example, Procter and
Gamble (P&G) retail company rewards customers in case they like it on
Facebook or follow it on Twitter (KPMG International, 2011). The similar actions
can be applied to YouTube when the customers gain some points or gifts while
subscribing the specific brand channel. In addition, the high quality videos can
be created where the benefits of specific loyalty programs are brought into the
light and uploaded in a particular brand channel to educate and inform the
people how they can be rewarded as being loyal to the particular brand.

4.2.5 WordPress as a tool


According to Weinberg (2009), nowadays blogs play as a powerful tool to
establish sincere and authentic relationship between the brand and customer.
The proper usage of visual elements such as video, images, icons, graphs,
charts and other visual augmentations creates a visual presence of blogs which
captures attention (Weinberg, 2009). If a brand blog drew attention of the
reader, then it means people are willing to engage with the brand product /
service. The tactics of content building and customer engagement by using the
WordPress blog website in sub-chapter 4.1.5 can be applied to initiating brand
loyalty with the help of WordPress.

Previously, the different social media tools have been analysed from the aspect
of building brand loyalty by enhancing the customer experience. WordPress as
a blogging tool helps brand to customise its brand web page in a way that

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readers can feel the brand spirit. The simple blogs offer only text content,
however, it is highly possible the brand can use other features of blogging and
add more extensions such as art (an artblog), photographs (a photoblog), music
(a musicblog), video (a vlog), audio (and audioblog) and so on (Safko, 2010). All
an all, WordPress offers Appearance sidebar where brand can choose themes,
customize, widgets, menus, header, background, custom design and mobile
categories to personalise and customise the brand website and stimulate the
customer to feel the brand experience (see graph 3).

Graph 3: WordPress Appearance sidebar

Source: Own illustration based on wordpress.com.

Graph 4: WordPress Media and Links sidebar

Source: Own illustration based on Wordpress.com.

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In order to enhance customer experiences, brand can include brand related
videos, audios or images under Media sidebar or add different social media
websites where the brand has accounts by using the help of Links sidebar (see
graph 4).

The loyalty programs consist of in the different forms of redemption such as


points, rebates and discounts (Capgemini, 2012). Weinberg (2009) suggests
that to satisfy the loyal customers several contests should be held where people
can earn some prizes. These prizes should not necessarily be some goods they
can also be gift cards, online redeemable points or discount cards and so on.
For instance, a particular restaurant can announce the contest for ‘best
storytelling blog post’ on the brand’s WordPress blog website and reward the
winner with gift or discount cards which later on can be consumed in the
restaurant itself. Certainly, the more people will be rewarded for their deed, the
more loyal consumer array will appear.

5. CASE COMPANY

The case company of this research project is Canadian-based operator of


luxury hotels and resorts, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. From the beaches of
Hawaii and Bermuda to the heart of New York City, from Europe through the
Middle East to Asia and Africa, the luxury brand offers a unique experience in
all properties.

Digital Luxury Group with the partnership Luxury Society and Ecole hôtelière de
Lausanne has exposed The World Luxury Index, which consists of three levels:
luxury major, luxury exclusive and upper upscale. (STR Global Chain Scales
cited in Digital Luxury Group, 2013, p. 6)

The Fairmont brand with the services it provides is listed in a luxury major level.
The most searched hotels worldwide in the same category with Fairmont brand
is following Ritz-Carlton, InterContinental and is in ahead of JW Marriott, Sofitel,
Hyatt hotels and others. (Digital Luxury Group, 2013)

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www.ebook3000.com
In fact, Fairmont brand has many properties and to be more precise the author
is going to analyse the branch which is situated in-between Europe and Asia
continents in Baku the capital city of Azerbaijan which is called Fairmont Baku.
It embraces 318 superbly appointed guest rooms, ESPA, seven restaurants and
lounges, 2,500 square meters of function place for weddings, meetings and
social events. (FRHI, 2014) This hotel has been nominated as a ‘Best Luxury
New Hotel’ and ‘Best Luxury Business Hotel’ categories by World Luxury Hotel
Awards 2014 and it won ‘Best Hotel & Tourism Resort’ award from Le marché
international des professionnels de l’immobilier (MIPIM) in Cannes, France in
2013. (Traveller Made, 2014)

5.1 The moments to the memories

5.1.1 Philosophy
The brand promise of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts ‘[t] urning moments into
memories for our guests’ is simple, memorable and inspirational and applies to
all properties Fairmont brand owns. This brand promise stands for three
different pillars: authentically local, unrivalled presence and engaging service.
(FRHI, n.d., p. 7)

Fairmont property differs with distinct locale through décor, food and beverage,
uniforms and other details. The knowledgeable employees are ready to give a
sense of having experienced the location with their trained advices about the
region. (FRHI, n.d.)

The unique location and both historical and modern designs of Fairmont
properties allow the organisers to choose those destinations for business
meetings, elegant social galas, weddings, anniversaries and many more life’s
special moments. (FRHI, n.d.)

The service which Fairmont offers is thoughtful, proactive and personalized and
designed to form a memorable experience and built a long-lasting relationship
with the guests and mediators. Each single guest, no matter their social status,
is warmly welcomed and made to feel appreciated. (FRHI, n.d.)

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5.1.2 History
Fairmont brand’s first connection with world happened in 1907 when Fairmont
San Francisco opened its doors to its guests. As soon as it opened it turned to
be the main place in the city for ball parties, presidential visits and political
gatherings. The most times Fairmont brand was a choice of some leaders and
celebrities such as Winston Churchill, artist Claude Monet, playwright Noël
Coward, photographer Yousuf Karsh, Katharine Graham, Frank Sinatra, John
Lennon, Yoko Ono and others. Fairmont's properties have destined home away
from home of the British Royal family. The Fairmont brand decided to merge the
forces with Canadian Pacific Hotels in 1999. This joined forces established a
leading luxury hotel company with 60 properties worldwide. (Fairmont, 2014)
Fairmont sold off part of its share in Legacy Hotels Real Estate Investment
Trust in 2004 (Advameg, 2014). Today, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts operate
under parent company Fairmont Raffles Hotels International (FRHI) which owns
Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands. (FRHI, 2014)

Graph 5: Panoramic view of Fairmont Baku and Baku city

Source: FrenchiesinBaku, 2013.

In 2013, Fairmont brand added a new branch to its properties in Europe,


especially in Baku the capital city of Baku. Fairmont Baku is situated in the
Flame Tower complex and has an outstanding view of the old Inner City which
holds UNESCO World Heritage Site status and sky-blue Caspian Sea (see
graphs 5, 6 and 7). (Fairmont, 2014)
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Graph 6: Fairmont Baku and old Inner City

Source: Wilde and Partner, 2013

Graph 7: Fairmont Baku and Caspian Sea

Source: Fairmont Baku, 2014

5.1.3 Corporate responsibility


As a matter of fact Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is operating in a socially and
environmentally sustainable fashion and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
prides Fairmont brand with staying at the "heart of their communities" and, thus,
possesses extended histories regarding a social engagement along with a
charitable contribution. Brand awareness can be achieved by CSR with the help
of advertising and promotion (Cornwell et al., 2001 cited in Chen, Moore,
Renaud and Dube, 2010) and social media as a great tool spreads the content
all over the internet and makes it to go viral. Fairmont properties mainly
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concentrate in the following areas of responsibilities: responsible tourism,
hospitality training and education and the impact on communities at a local
level. (FRHI, 2014)

A Fairmont brand name also comes together with environmentally friendly


companies. Within Green Partnership Program this brand has been showing
deep dedication to its communities as well as commitment to the environment
and those has been a core value of the enterprise. In fact, the most Fairmont
properties are situated in a nature, historical buildings or closer to the preserved
areas, then it is obvious that Fairmont brand is closely associated with
Responsible Tourism. (FHRI, 2014)

Hospitality training and education programs are also prior committed area of
Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. These programs encompass secondary and post-
secondary hospitality education projects to acquire talented workforces. (FHRI,
2014)

Furthermore, the Fairmont brand appears to show a supportive approach to


numerous organisations in its community by donating. Further than just
contributing financially, many branches are also being definitely engaged by
means of colleague volunteerism and fundraising. (FHRI, 2014)

5.2 Social media activities

It is obvious fact that social media marketing is inevitable campaign to target the
consumer, acquire the research materials, position and promote a product /
service in any business level. Nowadays every single enterprise, from small and
medium enterprises (SME) to international corporations, uses social media
platforms as a marketing tool in their strategy. As per Vollmer and Premo
(2012), those who do not value the importance of the social media are ignoring
the developments in media, marketing and technology nowadays. Certainly, the
luxury hospitality industry giant Fairmont Hotels and Resorts could not stand
aside from those developments. Therefore, to engage with the customers and
provide more welcoming product / service the brand is actively represented in

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several well-known and marketer-friendly platforms such as Facebook,
YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and ‘Everyone’s an original’ website
where guests can share their stories, photos and videos (FRHI, 2014).

Moreover, each Fairmont branch operates separately in above mentioned social


media platforms (except ‘Everyone’s an original’ website). For example, the
research case company Fairmont Baku actively engages under the same name
on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. The brand Public
Relations (PR) and Marketing manager declares that the social media tools,
especially, Facebook and Instagram have been in use from 2011 years (see
appendix 3).

6. THE CASE COMPANY ANALYSIS

A Fairmont Baku hotel PR and Marketing manager believes that the effect of
social media on brands is not very or intensely important (see appendix 3).
Thus, the Fairmont brand Baku branch is focused mainly on two platforms:
Facebook and Instagram (see appendix 3). Nevertheless, the social media
strategy is quite necessary not only to raise awareness and loyalty level of
customer, but also to be identified properly in the destination and hospitality
market. Remarkably, the eccentric location, marvellous design of Fairmont Baku
and outstanding view to downtown and Caspian Sea cause this hotel to be a
hub not only for the local people as well as for foreign tourists. However, the
one and only difficulty for this brand to be recognized among city visitors is that
Fairmont Baku is located in ‘Flame Towers’ complex (see graph 5, 6, 7). This
complex consists of three different but identical buildings which are designed to
function as a residence, hotel and business centre (HOK, 2014). The great
challenge is to utilize social media platforms wisely to differentiate those three
various purposed properties.

The result of the questionnaire revealed that the marketing department of this
luxury hotel in Baku employs these social media tools to promote brand and
attract new customers (see appendix 3). It is obvious that social media different
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than traditional media (see figure 4) have more impact on the increase in sales
(see chapter 2.4) and creates awareness among the consumers (see chapter
2.6). It is important to mention that the results Fairmont Baku administration
were expecting after opening accounts on Facebook and Instagram are similar
to previously mentioned facts (appendix 3). In the questionnaire, particular
question was designed to fathom whether Fairmont Baku is interested in
operating in social media platforms to raise brand awareness and brand loyalty.
As a matter of fact that brand awareness allows the brand to initiate an
enterprise’s presence in the consumers’ consideration set (Aaker, 1996) then
the reaction from management side is quite understandable (appendix 3). In
fact, Fairmont Baku is a young hotel and the firm officials are mainly focusing on
setting up and boosting awareness of consumer on debuted a brand in
Azerbaijan hospitality market. In the following chapters the results of analyses
of Fairmont Baku’s social media adoption to raise brand awareness and brand
loyalty will be displayed.

6.1 Usage of social media platforms in creating brand awareness

It has been already highlighted that the Fairmont Baku hotel is mainly operating
in two chosen social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram (see
appendix 3). Despite the fact that Fairmont brand officially announced its Baku,
Azerbaijan branch opening ceremony on 24th of July in 2013 (APA news, 2013),
brand’s Facebook page was already activated on 15th of September in 2011
(Facebook, 2014). Certainly, Facebook is a well-known social networking
website which hosts almost 864 million daily active users all over the world
(Facebook Newsroom, 2014) is quite popular in Azerbaijan as well. The PR and
Marketing department of Fairmont Baku hotel realised the power of Facebook
and started to build a brand presence on this platform. The first post was a
welcome letter from General Manager of Fairmont Baku on 8th of December of
2011 (Facebook, 2014). However, the following posts mostly were designed to
recruit skilful workers and awaken awareness of employees to the brand
existence. In most marketing studies, especially in the hospitality industry the
importance of employees as a marketing mix is outlined (Kotler, Bowen and
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Makens, 2010) as an internal marketing or internal branding which equally
significant to external brand building as well (O’Callaghan, 2009; Witt and Rode
2005 cited in Conradie, Roberts-Lombard and Klopper, 2014).

In the later steps, the employee(s) who is / are in charge of hotel’s social media
strategy posted mostly the brand related contents which are essential in
boosting brand awareness and attracting other users to like the brand page
(see sub-chapter 4.1.1). The luxury hotel brand keeps the audience up-to-dated
with the brand related facts, images and videos (see appendix 3) which in itself
helps to design the relevant content strategy towards Facebook users (see sub-
chapter 4.1.1). The shared content such as the brand facilities’ image, high
quality videos, interviews, stories and so on allowed Fairmont Baku to attract
around 15,000 Facebook users (Facebook, 2014).

Another social media platform where Fairmont Baku actively performs is


Instagram. The brand opened an Instagram account around November in 2012
years (Instagram, 2014c). Starting from this year the brand willingly engages
with followers and shares the brand related facts and figures. The interesting
fact is that Fairmont Baku employs the tactics which are analysed in sub-
chapter 4.1.3 to raise awareness. The brand shares images of brand facilities
such as restaurants, bars, rooms and so on with followers on Instagram shot by
the marketing department or guests.

The hashtag option in Instagram is used properly to promote special offers and
brand facilities. The pictures taken by the guests are also placed on Instagram
account and tagged with their names. Unfortunately, the brand cannot fully
exploit the opportunities Instagram offers. The minute analyses of Instagram
account of Fairmont Baku have revealed that the account used Add people
option which slightly helps to raise awareness of the brand, indeed (see sub-
chapter 4.1.3). Name this location option offered by Instagram cannot be used
as the Fairmont Baku hotel is a real property which has one known address for
the community which can be found on website, Facebook page as well as on
Instagram account. Therefore, this option has no effective impact on pulling
awareness of people as explained in sub-chapter 4.1.3. On the other hand, the
brand employs this option to promote its facilities such as spa centres,
restaurants and other facilities and amenities (see graph 8).
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The tactics are used to influence the consumer’s consideration set to accept
Fairmont Baku brand by inspiring followers as well as non-followers to post
pictures from the event they attended inside the hotel or add them to the photo
map and share the photos taken in front of a hotel or as a background with
friends. There are around 5,700 followers who are waiting updates from
Fairmont Baku’s Instagram account (Instagram, 2014c).

The company has Twitter account as well. However, the brand does not actively
participate on this microblogging platform. The low engagement level and
longer interval between posts attracted around 450 followers starting from 2012
years, which is the lowest number in comparison to Instagram (around 5,700
followers) which is launched in the same year.

Graph 8: Name this location option on Fairmont Baku Instagram account

Source: Fairmont Baku Instagram account, 2014.

Overall, the Fairmont Baku hotel strategically operates on Facebook and


Instagram to raise brand awareness. The services those social media platforms
offer are intentionally utilised by brand to promote the brand belongings and
share related facts about Fairmont Baku.

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6.2 Usage of social media platforms in building brand loyalty

The brand loyalty, previously explained (see sub-chapter 2.2.2), is the purchase
and repurchase of a particular brand and effective tool to retain the customer
loyal to the specific brand product / service. Lovelock and Wirtz (2011) argue
that companies must create a value for consumers and offer some incentives to
become and remain loyal to the brand, even though, as the matter of fact that
the customer is not inherently loyal to any enterprise by nature. It is a tough
challenge for companies to attract and keep the customer loyal to their brand,
especially in the market full of identical products / services. However, the
appearance of the new digital era in the market place allowed some enterprises
to use social media campaign to cause people to be and stay loyal to the
particular brand. Fairmont Baku is also adopted some social media practices to
keep its guests loyal to the brand by offering some incentives, benefits,
treatments for them as well as welcoming them as a main part of brand culture.
The ways to build brand loyalty with the help of social media in literature (see
chapter 2.7) has been analysed and the results (see chapter 4.2) will be
compared with the Fairmont Baku hotel’s social media activity to gain and retain
loyal customers.

It is obvious that the Fairmont Baku hotel is engaged on Facebook and


Instagram (see chapter 6.2). The social media as a communication channel
contributes to establish connections between customer and firm. As stated in
chapter 4.2, KPMG International identified four different important stages to
build brand loyalty in the digital age. The content strategy which Fairmont Baku
is embracing to build brand loyalty by using both social media platforms
(Facebook and Instagram) is similar to the result of analyses in chapters 4.2.1
and 4.2.3. Fairmont Baku mostly uses the image content and rarely invokes for
video content to engage with community on Instagram and Facebook. The
brand fastens the engagement level between followers by offering various
promotions and contests (see appendix 3). Fairmont Baku focuses on offering
and building values for customers instead of intensifying the number of
customers (Lovelock and Wirtz, 2011). The values are the ones those are
attached to the brand philosophy (see sub-chapter 5.1.1). The response to the

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questionnaire revealed that Fairmont Baku generates loyalty by providing extra
benefits to the guests (see appendix 3). In order to make followers feel special
and keep them updated about brand’s current state Fairmont Baku marketing
department posts images of hotel or other facilities, share the valuable
information about the brand and apprises the people about the prizes they won
or contributions in magazines and newspapers (Facebook, 2014; Instagram,
2014c).

According to Schmitt (1999, p. 54), ‘[I] n a world in which brands rule, products
are no longer bundles of functional characteristics but rather are means to
provide and enhance customer experiences’. Later he argues that experiences
occur while the customer faces, undergoes and lives through the things (1999)
or services, especially in the service industry. In order to satisfy the followers’
needs and allow them to experience the hotel atmosphere through the social
media means such as Facebook and Instagram Fairmont Baku posts some
exclusive photos from special events to provide privilege to the loyal customers
to see the pictures before other people can spot those pictures in any other
mass or social media. The cooperative project ‘Celebrity on Duty’ with Friday.az
website permits celebrities to work in each facilities in the Fairmont Baku hotel
and in this way the brand creates an opportunity for followers to pursue the
project and momentarily feel and experience the brand philosophy and spirit
(Facebook, 2014; Instagram, 2014c). Fairmont Baku is operating on Twitter as
well. In fact, the effectiveness level is already explained in chapter 6.1. For this
reason, Twitter does not show a study priority in the chosen company.

Lovelock and Wirtz (2011) consider loyalty rewards as a strategy to deepen the
relationship with the customers. Several researchers discuss that the perfectly
designed loyalty programs can boost share-of-wallet and reward-based
relations (Lewis, 2004; Wirtz, Mattila and Lwin, 2007 cited in Lovelock and
Wirtz, 2011). The rewards can be returned in two ways: financial and non-
financial.

Financial rewards which are also called ‘hard benefits’ is worth of fiscal values
such as discounts, points and rebates (Lovelock and Wirtz, 2011). Fairmont
Baku provides incentives to its guests in the form of discounts. It is highly
possible to find a special discount promotion to the various facilities in the
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particular days on both Facebook and Instagram social media tools. The
specific contests which are designed to enhance the loyalty level permit the
customer to win prizes and enjoy the prize in the form of dinner in the
restaurant, free cocktails for two people or special discount for ESPA and so on.

Nonfinancial rewards, also called ‘soft benefits’, can be noticed by name do not
contain any financial values, instead this program offers more intangible
incentive such as priority in reservations waitlist, brisk check-in and -out, higher
baggage allowance, access to airport business lounges and so on (Lovelock
and Wirtz, 2011). In fact, Fairmont Baku is a branch of Fairmont Hotels and
Resorts in Azerbaijan, it benefits some possibilities which headquarter is
offering. All over the world, Fairmont brand has a loyalty program which is
called ‘Fairmont President’s Club’. The membership allows the loyal guests to
own some privileges such as access to many special events, experiences and
opportunities. However, after minute examination of both social media
platforms, unfortunately, even single information has not been detected about
‘Fairmont President’s Club’ membership opportunity.

Overall, the Fairmont Baku hotel operates favourably in both social media.
Although the interval between posts can vary between one to four days, the
content which designed to inform, educate and attract followers to engage with
the brand are effective and successful. The brand loyalty depends also on
customer experience and Fairmont Baku enhance this experience by posting
the pictures of various exclusive events and joins cooperative projects to keep
customer spirit high and enliven their expectations. In fact, the brand owns
some financial rewards systems where the winners of particular contests can
receive the equivalent of the prize in various forms in the different facilities the
brand owns. Fairmont Baku provides nonfinancial rewards such as ‘Fairmont
President’s Club’ which is promoted neither on Facebook, nor on Instagram.

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7. CONCLUSION

7.1 Study findings

This article was designed to find the answers to the questions that are raised in
sub-chapter 1.1.2. Fortunately, the analyses of data permit the author of this
research study to formulate the findings in the following models to answer the
questions (see figures 7 and 8). It has been discovered that it is mostly possible
to create brand awareness in the social media platforms by constructing
relevant content strategy to drive people to be engaged in brand conversations
to widen brand visibility all over the World Wide Web (WWW) (see figure 7).
Secondly, the social media platforms are the potential tool of marketing
campaign to build brand loyalty (see figure 8). The tactics which are used in
creating brand awareness in the social media are the first steps in building
brand loyalty. Meanwhile, the following tactics, such as customer experience
and loyalty programs help the brands to attract the brand loyal customers to the
enterprise.

Figure 7: Brand awareness and social media relations

Source: Own illustration based on Millstone Branding, 2012, pp. 10-11; The AMA
Marketing Watch, 2013, pp. 1-4.

The social media platforms, as they are already identified in this research paper
(see chapter 2.5), are studied from the point of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,

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YouTube and WordPress view. That is why while studying these models
(figures 7 and 8) the above mentioned social media tools should be taken into
consideration.

Figure 8: Brand loyalty and social media relations

Source: Own illustration based on KPMG International, 2011, pp. 3-6.

The case company analyses revealed that Fairmont Baku is actively engaging
in the social web and strategically operates on Facebook and Instagram. The
developed models are applied to the case company and the results were
predictable. Luckily, the brand operates in the following way the models are
suggesting. The following models (figures 9 and 10) are the sample of the
results.

Figure 9: Brand awareness and social media relations, Fairmont Baku

Source: Own illustration based on figure 7.


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Figure 10: Brand loyalty and social media relations, Fairmont Baku

Source: Own illustration based on figure 8.

The response to the designed questionnaire (appendix 3) which was sent by


email to the PR and Marketing manager of the Fairmont Baku hotel was
answered adequately and helped to affirm several related facts.

7.2 Conclusion

The main purpose of this chapter is to present the final conclusions of the study
in terms of the three research questions (one main and two sub-questions) and
the main contributions to the studied topic.

It has been discovered that the social media platforms have a great impact on
brand management, especially in the area of brand equity. This research
focused on brand equity assets (see chapter 2.2) such as brand awareness and
brand loyalty. The social media platforms were analysed in terms of these
assets.

The social media platforms are examined from the social networks, blogs,
microblogs, photo and video sharing point of view. In fact, social web is full of
social media website providers. Thus, the author has chosen one website / tool
from each of these platforms based on the popularity in social media market.
Meanwhile, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and WordPress have been
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picked up from the social networks, microblogging, video sharing, photo sharing
and blogging platforms, respectively. The results of analyses presented that
each of those social media tools has relations in generating brand awareness
and brand loyalty (see chapter 4.1 and 4.2).

It has been discovered that the awareness level of people about a brand can be
raised with the help of social media with the following tactics. It is suggested
that the particular brand should design relevant content strategy which will help
to inspire customers to engage with the brand product / service. Additionally,
the engagement will widen the visibility of the brand in the online market. The
designed model can be examined in figure 7.

It has been also identified that the social media can be an intensely convenient
tool to build loyalty bonds between customers. The several steps have been
figured out after the social media and brand loyalty connections minutely
examined. In the model (see figure 8) it can be observed that the first step is to
establish healthy content strategy which will draw attention of people who later
on will engage with the brand product / service. The followers who are engaged
in brand possibly would like experience brand spirit and culture either online, or
offline. Certainly, the loyal customers expect more from the brand and loyalty
programs are the means to satisfy the needs of loyal guests.

The results of analyses exposed that the social media tools have an inevitable
influence on initiating drag the attention of potential customers and stimulate
them to be a part of brand family. For example, Facebook as a popular and
unanimous social network website which provides several features (Facebook
Ads, Sponsored Stories, Social Plugins, Graph API and so on) and tactics to
create brand awareness and loyalty (see sub-chapters 4.1.1 and 4.2.1). The
well-known microblogging site Twitter offers several components (tweet, re /
tweet, hashtag and so on) which help bands to start conversations with
followers and post relevant content to keep the followers updated to drag the
attention of customer and stimulate to join the conversations (see sub-chapters
4.1.2 and 4.2.2). Sub-chapters 4.1.3 and 4.2.3 highlights that Instagram drags
the attention of followers and non-followers by suggesting strategic options
(Hashtags, Add people, Name This Location and so on) to build brand
awareness and loyalty. YouTube allows the brands to create Brand channel and
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use Trueview Adds feature to make people aware about the particular brand
and to satisfy the loyal customers’ needs (see sub-chapters 4.1.4 and 4.2.4). As
stated in sub-chapters 4.1.5 and 4.2.5, WordPress as a blogging website allows
the brands to use practical tools (Categories, Links, Appearance, Media and so
on) to fully customise the brand page based on the brand culture and spirit to
raise an interest of internet users in the shared content.

The outcomes of case company analyses verified that the Fairmont Baku hotel
relevant to the previous findings (see figures 9 and 10) actively engages on
Facebook and Instagram to raise the awareness level of a brand’s presence in
people’s mind and to influence followers’ brain by providing incentives to keep
them to be loyal to the brand. Fairmont Baku almost utilizes all feature and tools
offered by Facebook and Instagram and shares relevant information to keep
followers educated, informed and updated about brand product / service. In
addition, it has been detected that the ‘Fairmont President’s Club’ nonfinancial
reward program designed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts are not promoted by
Fairmont Baku neither on Facebook, nor on Instagram.

In conclusion, the formulated models (see figures 7 and 8) can be applied to


any enterprises which have a connection to the service industry. Certainly, the
models are designed with some limitations (see chapter 1.3). To be sure about
the effectiveness of these models the future research steps should be taken into
consideration by other researchers or scholars.

7.3 Future research suggestions

The brand awareness and brand loyalty are the assets of brand equity (Aaker,
1991, 1996) and two developed theoretical models (see figures 7 and 8) are
studied based on these assets. The author has two future research suggestions
to develop these models further.

First of all, the established theoretical models should be examined deeply and
tested. The best way to examine these models is to build hypothesises and
proof the availability in the practice. In order to test, the best practice would be

94 | P a g e
to apply the models in the field and the results must be considered to weigh the
effectiveness of the models.

Lastly, the relations between social media platforms and the other brand equity
assets (Aaker, 1991, 1996) should be analysed and added to the existing
models to construct the broader theories to see the complete picture of
customer and enterprise interactions.

7.4 Recommendations

This chapter is going to display the recommendations to the case company how
to raise awareness and build loyalty with the help of social media platforms. It
has been found out that the social media platforms have an inevitable impact on
generating brand awareness and loyalty. It is suggested to use the following
tactics which contain the relevant contents to attract followers to boost visibility
(in brand awareness) and create an irreplaceable customer experience (in
brand loyalty) in the social web.

First of all, it is suggested to create the social media project based on the video
content. The essential idea of this project will be filming the procedure of
preparing either exclusive dishes or cocktails which belong especially to the
Fairmont brand. The filmed clips which naturally will be longer based on the
preparation time of food or drink should be uploaded to YouTube account of
Fairmont Baku. Simultaneously, the shorter version of the clips by sticking to 15
seconds feature of Instagram must be formed and uploaded. It is also advisable
to add a YouTube link to Instagram. At the same time the Facebook campaign
should be initiated to raise the awareness of this program. Later on, it is highly
recommendable to create the Fairmont Baku blog website to post relevant
stories about this project and update it before the new videotape will be
recorded. Twitter will be aimed tool to promote the project by explaining the
intent of the project within 140 characters and to link all previously mentioned
websites to the Fairmont Baku twitter account. All in all, considering the
sharable nature of social media platforms, it is possible to say that all above
mentioned social media tools are interrelated. All of them can be used to link to
95 | P a g e
each other. For this reason, Fairmont Baku should take other platforms
intensely serious and spare efforts on appearing in the mentioned websites. To
conclude this project, the interval between the video contents must be mediocre
to raise people’s interest and drive them to engage with this project.

The second project focuses mainly on the facilities the brand owns. It would be
advisable to establish a campaign to introduce the amenities the hotel
possesses. Similar tactics and similar content will be used in this project as well.
For instance, the first session can be initiated by introducing some fragments of
working procedures of the Front Office (FO) department to please the needs of
the customer and allow them to experience the brand in an online. In the same
manner, each week particular departments should be introduced to the
community by using the power of social media.

Although Fairmont Baku performs perfectly on Facebook and Instagram to raise


awareness and build loyalty, it is imperative to mention that the brand still lacks
to promote the products they own. For example, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
offers ‘Fairmont President’s Club’ loyalty program which is designed to please
the customers’ needs and enhance the customers’ experiences to make them
loyal to the brand. This loyalty program by definition is listed as nonfinancial
rewards and is more effective and directly related to enterprise’s core service
and enhances the customer’s value proposition and experience rather than
financial rewards (Lovelock and Wirtz, 2011). Therefore, special attentions and
efforts are essential to create a guest’s appreciation about service Fairmont
Baku offers. It is suggested that the advantages of using this program should be
promoted on social media platforms by using the technics which are mentioned
in sub-chapters 4.2.1-4.2.5.

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V. APPENDIX

Appendix 1: Questionnaire request sent to the Fairmont Baku hotel

From: Shahriyar Humbatov <shahriyarhumbatov@gmail.com>

To: sayad.ibrahimli@fairmont.com

Date: 1 September 2014 at 07:57

Subject: Partner Master Student

Mailed-by: gmail.com

Eziz Sayad Xanim,

Siz attach olunmus faylda cavablandirmali olacaginiz suallari tapa bilersiniz. Bir de sizden xahisim,
Fairmont brandine aid elinizde olan melumatlari menimle bolusesiniz.

Mene komeklik gosterdiyiniz ucun size derin minnetdaram.

--

Hormetle,

Shahriyar Humbatov

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Appendix 2: Response received from the Fairmont Baku hotel

From: Ibrahimli, Sayad (AZE) <Sayad.Ibrahimli@fairmont.com>

To: Shahriyar Humbatov <shahriyarhumbatov@gmail.com>

Date: 5 September 2014 at 12:58

Subject: RE: Partner Master Student

Mailed-by: gmail.com

Dear Shahriyar,

Please find the filled in questionnaire in attached.

I have already sent an email to our Corporate Office regarding the access to the brand materials. I will let
you know as soon as I get a reply from them

Have a nice day.

Thank you,

Sayad Ibrahimli

PR&Marketing Manager

1A, Mehdi Huseyn

AZ 1006 Baku, Azerbaijan

Tel.: +994 12 565 48 48 ext. 4845

Mob.: +994 70 217 77 00

www.fairmont.com/baku

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Appendix 3: A filled questionnaire by the Fairmont Baku hotel

1) What kind of social media platforms Fairmont Baku Hotel is using? – This
question is aimed to give an entrance to the interview.

A) Facebook;

B) Twitter;

C) Instagram

D) YouTube;

E) WordPress

2) When did you launch these social media tools?

Please specify your answer In 2011

3) What is the purpose of using these platforms?

A) Brand promotion

B) To attract new customers

C) To retain existing customers

D) To gain customer feedbacks

E) Others (please specify) To promote different offers and packages


(Le Bistro, Alov, Nur Lounge ESPA, Room promotions)

Please specify your answer

4) Why did you choose these platforms and tools?

A) For better communication with customers

B) To reduce promotion costs

C) To use customer feedback to improve service

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D) To inform users about enterprise updates

E) Others (please specify)

Please specify your answer

5) How do you consider the effects of social media on brands?

A) Very important

B) Somewhat important

C) Important

D) Not very important

E) Not at all important

Please specify your answer

6) After starting Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media tools what was
your expectation of the result of this action?

Please specify your answer Increase in sales and brand awareness

7) Did you take into account brand awareness and brand loyalty while initiating
a social media campaign?

A) Yes, specify your answer People are using social media channels very
extensively and constant exposure should lead to the increase in brand
awareness

B) No, specify your answer

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8) How do you build and maintain brand awareness of your company in social
media?

A) By providing reasonable and memorable messages

B) By providing brand related facts

C) By posting brand related photos and videos

D) By blogging brand involved activities

E) Others (please specify)

Please specify your answer

9) How do you create loyalty between your brand and consumer in social
media?

A) By contentedly responding customer comments

B) By arranging online-rendezvous with top management to answer customer questions

C) By awarding loyal customers

D) By providing extra benefits

E) Others (please specify)

Please specify your answer

10) How do you handle all consumer engagements in your built social media
platforms?

Please specify your answer Creating different promotions and contests to


attract the attention of the followers

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