Tag Archives: Social media

How Brand’s User Base Visibility in Social Media Platforms Effect Consumer’s Brand Evaluation


Social media is a widely used channel for companies to connect with consumers. Approximately 83% of Fortune 500 companies have used some form of social media by 2011 (Naylor et al., 2012), which have increased even more by now. Many consumers use these social media platforms to get deeper knowledge about a brand and who affiliates with it. This is useful because consumers reaction to a brand may be affected if they know who other users are (Bearden, Netemeyer, and Teel, 1989; Berger and Heath, 2007). Via these platforms, consumers have the possibility to see other people who affiliated with the brand. This passive exposure to a brand’s supporters is identified as ‘mere virtual presence’ (MVP). This research tries to answer what the effect are of the different types of MVP on brand evaluation and purchase intentions, as there is still little know about the subject.

Consumers find more affinity with a certain brand if they see that similar others support the brand (Berger and Heath, 2007; Escales and Bettman, 2003). Because of this, it is expected that individuals who deal with similar MVP with the brand’s user base will experience high levels of inferred commonality. Therefore, they positively evaluate the brand. On the contrary, if the consumer experience a dissimilar MVP, they will evaluate the brand downwards. Another research suggests that when there is no information available about others, consumers anchor on the self and assume that those others are like them (Naylor, Lamberton, and Norton, 2011). Thus, probably a more safe decision is not displaying pictures of others at all, which is called ambiguous MVP. This ambiguous MVP results in that consumers will project their own characteristics on the brand’s user base, hence higher affinity with the brand. However, a brand’s user base cannot be completely similar to a consumer and is more heterogeneous. Therefore, the last form of MVP this research investigate is that consumers evaluate a brand more positively if they are confronted with a small proportion of similar individuals in a large heterogeneous group.

Findings from this study have the following implications for positive brand evaluations: (1) If the brand’s user base is homogeneous and similar to the target audience, reveal their identity. (2) Second, if the brand’s user base is heterogeneous, but includes users who are similar to the target audience, also reveal their identity. (3) However, maintain ambiguous MVP if the brand’s user base is dissimilar from the target audience. This will result in that consumers evaluate the brand the same as in the similar MVP context. (4) Lastly, results indicate that when brands are jointly evaluated with other brands similar MVP yields better performance than ambiguous MVP. This positive brand evaluation consequently results in higher purchase intentions.

This study contributes to the literature how firms can best manage their social networks in meeting strategic objectives and enhance their brand evaluation. Moreover, this research help to guide brand managers when it is useful to reveal the identity of their online supporters or to remain an ambiguous MVP. Thus, managers are informed which social media platform they should choose because some control over specific fan base is necessary (similar consumers in heterogeneous population). These results are furthermore most useful for new brands to establish a larger supporter’s base. And to manipulate MVP and find similar consumers, firms can target consumers based on demographics. For example, Facebook displays advertisements mostly to certain demographic groups, thus emerging tracking and targeting tools can be used to do this.  Because of this tracking marketers know where their new supporters came from so that they can adjust their MVP and target consumers that fit this demographic profile. This will help brand managers to decide whether to display the brand’s user base or remain ambiguous.

MVP

Bearden, W.O., Netemeyer, R.G. and Teel, J.E. (1989) ‘Measurement of Consumer Susceptibility to Interpersonal Influence’, Journal of Consumer Research, 15: pp. 473-481.

Berger, J. and Heath, C. (2007) ‘Where Consumers Diverge from Others: Identity Signalling and Product Domains’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95: pp. 593-607.

Escales, J.E. and Bettman, J.R. (2003) ‘You Are What They Eat: The Influence of Reference Groups on Consumers’ Connection to Brands’, Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13, 3: pp. 339-348.

Naylor, R.W., Lamberton, C.P. and Norton, D.A. (2011) ‘Seeing Ourselves in Others: Reviewer Ambiguity, Egocentric Anchoring, and Persuasion’, Journal of Marketing Research, 48, 6: pp. 617-631.

Naylor, R.W. Lamberton, C.P. and Norton, D.A. (2012) ‘Beyond the “Like” Button: The Impact of Mere Virtual Presence on Brand Evaluations and Purchase Intentions in Social Media Settings’, Journal of Marketing, 76, 11: pp. 105-120.

 

Mapping the Impact of Social Media for Innovation


Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Wikis, Twitter – Social media (SM) are everywhere. Those websites and applications allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content in a community setting (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). The users are not only private people, but also companies are exploring SM as a tool for commercial success. Next to outbound marketing, SM are also applied to enhance business interactions as part of the innovation and product development process (Kenly & Poston, 2011). However, so far new product development (NPD) through social media channels can only be observed anecdotally. Specialized consultancies also jump on the train and offer their services to get a piece of the pie (Accenture Interactive, 2017). But how nourishing is this pie?

The impact of SM on innovation performance was investigated in a study by Roberts, Piller and Lüttgens (2016). The analysis of 186 companies contributed to a better understanding of the dynamics between SM activities and NPD performance. The idea to use SM for innovation and NPD purposes is not novel. However, their study reveals some surprising results:

  • Gathering information from SM channels can lead to higher performance, but only when embedded in complementary, formalized processes. A defined structure and sequence for the flow of activities provides control, helps to reduce uncertainty and mitigates risk.
  • The relationship between SM usage and innovation performance is not entirely positive. An extremely broad application of SM results in a negative performance effect for all kind of innovation projects.
  • The relationship between seeking market-related and technology-related information in the open innovation context is complementary. Leveraging this dependency has a significant positive effect on NPD performance.
  • SM is better suited for gathering need information than for accessing solution information. Depending on the information needed, the explicit SM channels (forums, social networks, blogs, wikis etc.) differ.

These findings imply the positivity of SM for a firm’s innovation performance. But I personally doubt its large-scale effectiveness. After having screened the literature for mentioned best-practice examples, there are enormous differences between companies in how they leverage and exploit benefits of SM usage for innovative efforts. The involvement of customers into new product creations for consumer goods rather resembles the characteristics of a marketing or market research tools. Haribo asked its fan base to vote on new flavors for a special edition during the 2014 soccer world cup. Home-appliances manufacturer Liebherr invited its customers to participate in a fridge-design competition. In contrast to that, I found technology-oriented companies, like NASA, or IBM in collaboration with Topcoder, to give their followers far more influential power by posting demanding challenges. This is surprising, because the study stated SM to be more suitable for gathering needs than (technical) solutions. So, is there a difference between industries concerning the successful integration of SM in NPD? Are technology companies simply more knowledgeable in utilizing SM? Or are their users simply identifying more with the product and thus engaging in NPD processes? The multitude of questions call for a further investigation of the results in relation to different industries and specific firm capabilities in dealing with SM. Hence, up to now how nourishing and likely this cake for businesses and consultancies is, might still be questionable and has to be answered for individual initiatives specifically.

 


References

Accenture Interactive (2017). Social Media: Optimization to Harness Innovation. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-social-media-optimization-harness-innovation-summary

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business horizons53(1), 59-68.

Kenly, A., & Poston, B. (2011). Social Media and Product Innovation: Early Adopters Reaping Benefits amidst Challenge and Uncertainty. In A Kalypso White Paper. Kalypso.

Roberts, D. L., Piller, F. T., & Lüttgens, D. (2016). Mapping the Impact of Social Media for Innovation: The Role of Social Media in Explaining Innovation Performance in the PDMA Comparative Performance Assessment Study. Journal of Product Innovation Management33(S1), 117-135.

“Drink Socially!”


Let’s face it, most of us like to share our positive experiences with our friends, and we like to use social media to reach as much of them as possible. Companies try to help us fulfill these needs with social media plugins or applications. The subject of this blog is a social media application. It is a combination of sharing your experience, rating the product and recommending (or not!) it to other users of the application. The best thing about it is however the subject: BEER! I am talking about the application Untappd, a social media app that enables its users to share and explore the world of beers (Mather & Crunchbase Staff, 2016).

Continue reading “Drink Socially!”

Social media is just like high school… How popular are you?


Were you popular in high school? If yes, do you still experience the perks you had back then? Can you still sit at the best table, and receive higher grades because you’re the teacher’s pet?

Probably not, because as you’re thinking, we’re living in the real world now. However, in the digital world the high school popularity contest is still relevant. A social media analytics company called Klout tells you exactly how popular you are based on a score ranging from one to a hundred. I thought it would be fun to check my Klout score but the ‘fun’ ended soon – I’m down to a score of 10. Of course I only have myself to blame, as I haven’t tweeted anything in four years and my Facebook profile only exists out of tags and a couple birthday congratulatory posts. Linking my WordPress account surprisingly also didn’t do the trick for at least moving my score more to the average.

Continue reading Social media is just like high school… How popular are you?

What makes you do it?: Incentives for social media contributions


Over the recent years, social media has conquered its position as the most powerful and popular source of information, created by and for consumers that want to learn more about products, persons, brands, and basically everything. Social media has transformed the way we do business and the success of social media websites is highly dependent on their users. Some users may now also say that they owe their success to social media, as they have become well known celebrities due to their contributions on social media websites. Beside this highly unlikely carrier prospect, it is still debatable what people exactly benefit from social media and for what reason they would contribute.

Continue reading What makes you do it?: Incentives for social media contributions

M-Commerce – Creating new opportunities?


Introduction

Mobile commerce is growing rapidly and at a faster pace than e-commerce (Brohan, 2016). Currently, mobile commerce accounts for one third of total e-commerce sales. This percentage is expected to exceed the 50% mark soon. In other words, mobile commerce optimization is not a competitive advantage anymore, but a competitive imperative for companies (Roggio, 2016). Due to mobile commerce, you can buy everything you want, whenever you want. What would you buy via your mobile device? Do you have any wishes on your shopping list?

Continue reading M-Commerce – Creating new opportunities?

You’re saying it wrong! It’s community relationship management, not social customer relationship management!


The use of social media has exploded over the last decade. As an example, Facebook has over 1 billion users worldwide, of which more than 800 million use the platform on a daily basis (Rademaker, 2014). According to the article from Ang (2010), as a reaction many organizations have dived into social media platforms hoping to enhance organizational performance. These organizational efforts to benefit from social media platforms (especially within the functional areas of sales, marketing and service) have been filed under the term social customer relationship management (social CRM). However, for many managers it is unclear how social media platforms can be leveraged to benefit their organization. The author of the article suggests this is partly due to the fact that customers are confused with online community members. The popularized tem social CRM is there for incorrect. He suggests the term community relationship management (CoRM), as it better reflects the characteristics of what people do on social media platforms.

Continue reading You’re saying it wrong! It’s community relationship management, not social customer relationship management!

Oreo’s success in Social Media Marketing


In 2013, Oreo transformed not only its image and but it had also changed the advertising landscape with a real-time marketing coup. Their social media accomplishment was the outcome of a renovated company’s marketing philosophy and processes. The marketing team that is behind the success of Oreo helped with making the shift from a self-involved advertiser to a creator of lively content that generated a lot of buzz. They are now famous for being creative, tweeting on culturally relevant topics, posting fun Facebook posts. They hit more than a couple social media home runs and have shown true mastery of social media usage for Brands, from their Super Bowl tweets, the 100-day “Daily Twist” Facebook campaign, the “Cookie Vs. Cream” videos on YouTube, to their Twitter mockery with their competitor Kit Kat.

Oreo_Daily_Twist_Ad_Campaign

Though this famous brand of cookie is notorious for its black-and-white striped exterior, the brand Oreo is a social media powerhouse, as they have millions of followers on various social media platforms. Oreo frequently monitors the return on investment (evaluation of the sales ratio spent on ads and promotional endeavors). The campaigns that are a combination of traditional advertising and digital and social media efforts are analyzed to be twice as effective. The predominant key to Oreo’s success in social strategy is planning and channel synergy. The brand skillfully administers popular accounts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest to form an network of channels that participate and cooperate with one another not only online but also in offline print, media, marketing and PR.

Important lessons that can be used by any other brand regarding how to run a successful social media strategy are listed below:

  1. Be timely & topical with you social media messages

The term Newsjacking is the notion of placing a brand’s marketing message or opinions into a present news story. This is done to get extra notice from both consumers and the media. The term Culture-jacking has a comparable classification, but focuses on specific trendy events that are happening in a country. Brands can apply this lesson by beforehand creating a schedule of upcoming holidays and events, and posting on subject related to them on these dates. Speak on current real-time events while updating your status or tweeting, and thus be timely and topical.

  1. Promote regularly and with consistency

Oreo was very consistent with their campaign messages and updated their statuses or tweets frequently. They have reached the form of viral marketing by having millions of fans online. These campaigns would not have gone viral, if they did not have millions of followers, but previous these big successes they were posting 5,000 simple tweets, at a rate of three to four tweets a day, engaging with fans and constructing a continuing dialogue. Brands can copy this idea by having a plan on frequently engaging on social media with their followers build up a social community.

  1. Use graphics in your updates & make use of simple concepts

Oreo has posted social media campaigns with relatively high production quality. They do not only tweet or update their statuses regarding a current event, because they know that producing a well designed image while sharing a tweet or update can be more effective. The images of Oreo posted on social media are effectively designed and have a strong tagline. Brands can apply this lesson to by making use of more high quality illustrations, and simplifying their shared message.

  1. Above all: focus on having fun

The true intend of Social media is to be social. So consumers online love to be entertained by fun-loving engagements. All of Oreo’s social media campaigns are intended to make followers smile. Oreo speed while tweeting is amazing to watch, their shared images makes users smile and even some are hilarious. Oreo is not afraid to be playful, seen in their Twitter battle with competitor Kit Kat. Companies must above all realize that when interacting with a social community it’s essential to have fun with it.

Every company anticipating to increase brand awareness via social media platforms should pay attention to commitment, consistency and creativity, in a similar way that Oreo applies to their social communications.

References:

Bullock, L. (August 19, 2013)  “Social Media for Brands, What You Can Learn From Oreo.” <http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/social-media-brands-what-you-can-learn-oreo&gt;

Hayes, C. (April 16, 2014) “In the spotlight: Oreo’s social media team.” <http://www.socialbro.com/blog/spotlight-oreo&gt;

Sacks, D. (2014) “The Story Of Oreo: How An Old Cookie Became A Modern Marketing Personality.” <http://www.fastcocreate.com/3037068/the-story-of-oreo-how-an-old-cookie-became-a-modern-marketing-personality&gt;

Hayes, M. (2013) “The Secret Behind Oreo’s Social Media Marketing” http://www.shopify.com/blog/7589919-the-secret-behind-oreos-social-media-marketing

Photo Credit: <http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0070/7032/files/Oreo_Daily_Twist_Ad_Campaign.jpeg?817&gt;

<http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0070/7032/files/Oreo_Cookie_Social_Media_Marketing_Advertising.png?815&gt;

Get smarter when procrastinating.


There is this assignment to complete before Sunday midnight. You write, and you write, until you want to take a “ 5-minute ” break. Which website are you going to procrastinate on right now ? Facebook ? 9gag ? Unilad ?
You keep on scrolling down, and down, and down. After 40 minutes of not being productive whatsoever, you realise how much time you have just wasted. Now, let’s draw up a report of what you have learnt through this activity :
1. Cats are still very cute.
2. Everybody is watching Game of Thrones.
3. Oh wow, how drunk was I on that night ?

Well, you have not spent your time efficiently. Since you are going to spend another half hour browsing through the internet, why not doing it in a much more effective way ?
What if I told you that, on a website, you could learn many things quickly about any topic ? There might be a solution to your problem.

Quora was created in 2008 by two former Facebook employees Charlie Cheever and Adam D’Angelo. The idea of this website was based on the fact that on the internet there is a big consumer demand for knowledge, but existing solutions were missing. Thus, they created a social network where deep questions could be answered.

If you sign up on Quora, you will realize how similar it is to Facebook – what a coincidence, isn’t it ? First, you will have to create a profile with a photo, but also with your past experience. Indeed, unlike YahooAnswers, Quora wants the answers to be reliable. Thus, the website asks its users to display their expertise – in order to allow other users to know more about the sources that used.
Also, readers can upvote or downvote questions, in order to highlight the best answer. Furthermore, Quora encourages thoughtful discussions which means that users can not answer with a simple “yes or no”.

Quora could be called an online user-generated source of knowledge. How does that differ from Wikipedia then ? Well, the platform enhances interactions between users. Indeed, individuals tend to Google everything, and not ask their family members, or acquaintances anymore. As opposed to this process, users can now share their knowledge with each other, rather than relying on the technology only. Also, when posting a question, you can ask one user directly. Indeed, according to the topic the question is related to, Quora recommends you users, based on their past experience.
Thus, knowledge is now accessible in a fun way, as it is built as a social network. Therefore, Quora has its own community. However, it does not restrain its target audience and is therefore not a niche. Indeed, unlike MySpace, Dogster – or even Catster – , the platform allows any topic to be discussed. For instance, you can follow some interesting subjects such as Tips and Hacks for Everyday Life, Chemistry, Marketing, or Cats.

To sum up, Quora is an accessible platform where knowledge is shared by numerous people who – in most cases – have expertise in the field. It is a community where users help and respect each other ; thus users create the value to allow the website to function properly.

In case you want to have a break, and procrastinate a little bit, get on Quora, and find out why your cat put a dead mouse in your shoe, or how to get over your habit of procrastinating.

Loyalty through Social Networks


Due to the drastic transformation in the media landscape Social Media has surfaced and has become widespread as it is growing rapidly in the last couple of years, totaling the number of active social media as of January 2015 to account for 2.08 billion worldwide according to Statista.com. Businesses’ accelerating investments in Social Media, especially in in Facebook, is the status quo right now. Yet, a lot of firms still do not perceive social networks to be a vehicle for gaining customer loyalty. These companies perceive social networks to be a source for generating brand awareness.

A different view was added to this discussion of Social Media by researchers Gamboa & Goncalves (2014), who did a case study on Zara and their use of Social Media as a source towards building and enhancing customer relations. On the social network site Facebook, Zara classes in their respective category of fashion brands, as having one of the largest number and most valuable fans. This study showed that companies could increase customer loyalty through building upon important factors such as trust, customer satisfaction, perceived value, and commitment. Fans as well as non-fans of brand on Facebook were used in this research and it showed that relations are more improved for Facebook fans of the brand compared to the non-Facebook fans, showing that the most important cause of loyalty is customer satisfaction, as seen in Table 1 below.

Untitled

(Table 1: Gamboa & Goncalves , 2012, p.714)

Personal Relationship Focus

For businesses, the greatest task is forming a personal relationship with the consumer, similar to the interaction of them with their friends on Facebook. A company’s Facebook brand page must be a “place” where consumers can dialogue with the brand as well as be part of a community. The old-school era of only focusing on commercial goals has ended, as the important of a relational context is a definite requisite for companies to survive in Web 2.0.

Customer satisfaction is crucial

Businesses that desire to attain customer loyalty must have a priority in seeking customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is the most important driver with the most positive (direct and indirect) effect on fans’ loyalty. The social network site, Facebook is a communication channel that can increase consumers being more satisfied, and as a result of this, can create deeper client-brand relationships. However, as customer satisfaction is an outcome of the consumer being fulfilled of created expectations, brands on the social networking site should be quick and transparant in answering their Facebook fans’ questions. The most crucial element is frequent interaction as well as maintaining an active and dynamic presence on this platform.

Tools and practices

Being dynamic and interactive with fans are essentials in making consumers come back, trust a brand, and be satisfied. Creating content (such as quizzes or poll questions) that encourages fans’ active behavior is also essential, and it can also serve as a mean to gaining knowledge about customers’ opinions regarding the brand.

  • Facebook to serve as a stand-alone tool. Customer questions or critiques should receive answers very quickly. When consumers are forced to use other methods to come in contact with the company, it will increase customer dissatisfaction.
  • Content relevance of the brand page is important. Only sharing brand advertisements or internal information not be effective. Content sharing such as news, funny updates, suggestions suggestions for the weekend or holidays are great ways to achieve engagement.
  • Identify target group and their interests. Specifically targeting consumers while sharing content will increase customer satisfaction, trust, and commitment.
  • Create exclusive content. Such as games or applications for Facebook fans. Consumers love campaigns that propose advantages to them and posting exclusive content via Facebook will create alertness of the Facebook Fans to the brand page and as a result they will become loyal.
  • Always be professional, yet never boring. Brans will lose fans if they consistently post advertisements, post too much, too few or post irrelevant information.

Brands can communicate with consumers by by integrating Facebook into their marketing strategy. The expectancy is that Facebook will maintain and even increase its effect by 26%. In this current landscape of web 2.0 and social media with substantial growth margins, businesses should start being very active on Facebook by maximizing the benefits of it and by captivating brand loyalty in the online world.

Reference: Gamboa, A. M., & Gonçalves, H. M. (2014). Customer loyalty through social networks: Lessons from Zara on Facebook. Business Horizons57(6), 709-717.

Increasing sales? Focus on word of mouth marketing is not enough!


Coolblue is an online retailer in the Netherlands and Belgium. They started in 1999 and now have 332 specialized webshops and 7 physical shops in the Benelux. This makes Coolblue one of Netherlands biggest webshops. And they are doing quite good when looking at their awards: Best webshop in the Netherlands in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and second place in 2014. Looking at their social media platforms they are performing well with an online fan base of more than 204.000 fans. In 2013, Coolblue was the highest entering company in the Best Social Media Award with a 3th place. In 2014 they even came closer with becoming NL’s best social media with a second place. On social media they perform outstanding, having great word of mouth marketing and looking at their growth in revenue with last year growth of 45% a TV campaign is an interesting step. In January 2015, Coolblue launched their first TV campaign. But why does Coolblue need a TV campaign while they have such good functioning social media platforms and became huge with word of mouth marketing?

In today’s world it is almost impossible to think about living without social media. Everybody knows or at least has some vague idea about what social media are, and at the same time almost everybody is involved in it daily. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on are examples that will most likely ring a bell for practically everybody. If we look at Coolblue, they use their Facebook page in such a way that we can all watch and follow the company. Mostly it is used at keeping customers up to date and informed about new product, but they also use it to amuse their audience with entertaining content. With people who liked Coolblue’s social media content they want to use e-Word of mouth marketing to create more brand recognition. Brand recognition is a problem for Coolblue, which they can’t solve with word of mouth behavior only. Coolblue’s CEO Pieter said:’’ Untill now we have been growing for years with word of mouth marketing, but now it’s time to grow even faster with our new tv campaign. Then they can experience our service and products, and most of the time our customers are so impressed word of mouth behavior will follow automatically.’’ Also when we take a look at Google trend with Coolblue (blue) and their biggest competitors, Bol.com (red) & Wehkamp (yellow), we see that Coolblue is still way less popular.

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If we look at their social media strategy nowadays their focus on social media platforms are on (professional) fans, and sometimes even a focus group within this fan base (Example: People who love cats). These fans are people who know Coolblue, already bought a product at Coolblue and experienced their service & delivery propositions. These fans show word of mouth behavior, but clearly it is not enough to become as big as their competitors if we look at brand recognition. Looking at this Coolblue case, word of mouth marketing (online & offline combined) can grow a company with cheap marketing. But if you want to become de biggest, you still have to invest in old fashioned marketing to increase brand recognition at the mass.

References
http://www.coolblue.nl
http://nieuws.coolblue.nl/coolblue-start-tv-campagne
http://www.facebook.com/coolblue- http://www.google.nl/trends/explore#q=coolblue

Marketingfacts, watch out, the students are coming


We’ve got the content, we can create visibility, let’s go make this blog big!

If you are reading this blog post, great chances are that you are a student at the Erasmus University. If you are not, welcome to the CCDC website, where content is created by students and mostly written by students as well. The idea behind this website is to make long and extensive articles accessible and to highlight the USP’s of consumer driven companies and online networks, like Created on Friday and Skillshare. It is meant to be a learning tool, but if you scroll down the homepage, the generated content could also be compared to that of an online marketing platform, like the Dutch website Marketingfacts.

If you compare the CCDC website to Marketingfacts, two big differences appear. First, the content is created differently. In the case of Marketingfacts, the content generated by a team of professional bloggers (Marketingfacts, 2015), and in the case of the CCDC website, this content is generated by students. Second, the incentive of the content creators differ. Were the professional blogger may want to share his or her knowledge online, the student blogger will be obliged to create content, since they will be graded for the blog posts. That said, traditionally articles created by students will not have a purpose after the articles were graded. Now, their created content will live on as blog posts, what can cause for online visibility, next to serving the student’s graduation.

So why is this proposition, the student driven online marketing and C2C platform, currently so interesting? Why am I dedicating my blog post to a online platform which nowadays only can attract 1000 up to 2000 views a month? Because there are two things which make this platform unique compared to a more traditional online (blog) platform: secured content delivery and worldwide university connections. Since students currently are obliged to create articles, the amount and subject area of content can be determined by the professor, an advantage which is hard for a normal platform to copy. Besides, in-between universities and professor’s alliances are easily made. Professors from multiple disciplines and universities could join, and hereby add students to the creation group, which makes increasing the amount and diversity of the content easily done. These unique advantages make a quite interesting case for becoming a large online platform.

So, if the professor of this CCDC course decides to make this blog to go big, what should he do to control content quality and to create online visibility? Again, let your students do the work. Visibility can be created by individual sharing of the content on social media. Of course a platform account can start sharing the posts, but a large group of students together can cause for even a greater amount of views (LinkedIn, 2015). High quality can be maintained by letting the students rate the newest articles (Hu et al., 2009; Tsekouras, 2015). The ones with high rates stay on the home page for a certain time, making sure they are written, and the silly ones die in silence, so that they will not harm the platforms reputation. All-in-all, the ingredients are there, now we have to execute it right. Marketingfacts, watch out, the students are coming..

Click here to read the former post of this author: “Can we all start drinking beers all day long?”

  • Hu, N., J. Zhang and P. A. Pavlou (2009). “Overcoming the J-shaped distribution of product reviews.” Communications of the ACM 52(10), 144-147.
  • Tsekouras, D. (2015). VARIATIONS ON A RATING SCALE: THE EFFECT ON EX-TREME RESPONSE TENDENCY IN PRODUCT RATINGS.
  • Marketingfacts, (2015). Colofon | Marketingfacts. [online] Available at: http://www.marketingfacts.nl/colofon [Accessed 26 Apr. 2015].
  • Business.linkedin.com, (2015). Employee Activation | LinkedIn Elevate. [online] Available at: https://business.linkedin.com/elevate [Accessed 26 Apr. 2015].

Be famous and (dramatically) increase your number of followers!


Only then you are credible…

I almost wanted to start with: “You cannot trust product tweets of celebrities…” But if that would be a surprise to you, I have some other shocking news to you: Santa doesn’t exist. However, if everyone knows the tweets are set up by the brands themselves, and the celebrities are paid for such tweets, why would brands still spent million dollars to celebrity social media product endorsement?

Opendorse did research to those product endorsement tweets: a tweet from Cristiano Ronaldo is valued $304.000(!) (See source beneath for more numbers). Note that this is the actual value of the tweet for the brand itself, so it does not say celebrities are really paid that amount.

As we know that those tweets are valuable and that it does not matter that we, actually, all know that those tweets are not “real”, what makes the “fake opinion/tweet credible to us, the consumer. That is what Jin and Phua investigated in 2014: “ Explicate the conditions under which celebrities can be leveraged as effective catalysts for brand-related E-WoM on Twitter.” They created semi-fictious celebrity twitter pages, where after they let students (east coast of US) fill in a questionnaire based on these profiles (which off course included a product endorsement tweet).

Jin and Phau found that high numbers of followers results in higher credibility of the celebrity (more physical attractive, trustworthy and competent). On top of that, positive brand tweets of a celebrity with a high number of followers results in higher product involvement/buying intention. This effect is strengthened in case of a prosocial celebrity. In contrast, a celebrity with a low number of followers does not effect product involvement.

(In order to differentiate between types of celebrity (prosocial/antisocial), participants read an article of the celebrity either engaged in charity work or involved in drug abuse and/or adultery scandal.)

On top of that, it is interesting that “we” are more willing to share a tweet if it is coming from a celebrity with a low number of users and if it is negative about a specific brand/product. Probably because we think that a tweet from someone with a high number of followers will be not new to our own followers.

Concluding, celebrities are more credible than ordinary users towards twitter users. If a brand wants to start with twitter celebrity marketing, they need to focus on the number of followers (not only because of the reach, but also because of the credibility) and the behavior of the celebrity. Maybe it would be even better to contact a not that well-know celebrity and let him upload a negative tweet about a competitor. It will be shared more often by other twitter-users, and then it will maybe get more attention.

However, we must not forget that a celebrity, who will promote a lot of products using twitter, will be less credible in the end. Besides, I doubt if everyone knows how much followers his or her followers have.

Then I got one last question to you: if you had to set up one celebrity tweet for Microsoft surface tablet, who would tweet what text, and tell me why? Besides, tell me why this tweet didn’t worked out well:

121120025009-oprah-surface-tweet-story-top

In turn I got one tip for Santa to be credible for old and young again: Open a twitter account and dramatically increase your number of followers… You are already famous!

Note: If you didn’t see Oprah’s mistake, take a look with what device she uploaded the tweet.


Seung-A Annie Jin & Joe Phua (2014) Following Celebrities’ Tweets About Brands: The Impact of Twitter- Based Electronic Word-of-Mouth on Consumers’ Source Credibility Perception, Buying Intention, and Social Identification With Celebrities, Journal of Advertising, 43:2, 181-195.

http://opendorse.com/blog/top-75-highest-paid-athlete-endorsers-2014/

Which one do you think I should pick ?


Today is Saturday, it is sunny and warm outside. Perfect day to go shopping ! You are obviously going to spend this afternoon with your favorite side-kick. Your mission is to find the perfect outfit that will fit your shape, your personality, and evidently match your preferences.

You finally find these really cool jeans, but you are still hesitant about the top : the blue and black, or the white and gold one ? The retailer comes to you and says that the jeans and the blue and black top would be the perfect match. On the other hand, your friend who has similar tastes as you – so similar you have a couple of clothes in common – votes for the second option.

What would you do ? Who would you trust ? How to make sure which one is the right choice ?

As a matter of fact, when you are browsing the internet, you might encounter the same problem-resolving process.

When a Youtube user surfs on Youtube, they first type the title of the video. On the right side of the video, a section displays other videos. In this section, two types of recommendations are presented :

  • Featured / Related videos :

They are based on the Youtube’s product network ; that is to say that they are based on the site recommendation algorithm only.

  • “Recommended for you” :

These are based on the Youtube’s social network. In fact, another user marked the video you just watched as favoriteas well as another one. Therefore, the second video will be “recommended for you”.

Thus, which of these videos matches users’ preferences the best ?

In a study, participants were asked to watch videos on Youtube, and rate each of them from one star – Poor – to 5 stars – Awesome. One group had access to the product network only – Related-Featured videos – the second group to both product network and the social network – Dual Network – and the third group to user-generated links only – Recommended for you.

What emerges from the study is illustrated in the graph below :

The fact that the second group curve is the lowest shows that finding a liked video takes less time when using the dual network than any of the other networks. Thus, rather than proposing either one or the other, offering both at the same time gives the user more possibilities, more choice, and therefore, more opportunities to reach the right video.

Therefore, the most efficient way for Youtube to satisfy its users, is to offer them as many choices as possible using different methods : the product network as well as the social network.

So, next time you will go shopping and do not know what choice to make, try the clothes on in the fitting rooms ! – or buy both.


References :

Jacob Goldenberg, Gal Oestreicher-Singer, Shachar Reichman, The Quest for Content : How User-Generated Links Can Facilitate Online Exploration, Journal of Marketing Research, August 2012, 462-468, 17p.

Yang Sok Kim, Ashesh Mahidadia, Paul Compton, Alfred Krzywicki, Wayne Wobcke, Xiongcai Cai, Michael Bain,People-to-People Recommendation Using Multiple Compatible Subgroups, AI 2012 : Advances in Artificial Intelligence, 2012.

Thank god it’s Friday!


A creative gateway to the festival Extrema Outdoor, the design and inspiration for a new buddha to buddha bracelet or the design for a new tattoo for Dré Hazes. These requests or so called Calls for Creation have already been answered, co-created and fulfilled using the Created on Friday platform.

Created on Friday is a video-based platform in which clients, creative minds and followers are connected in Creation Stories. With already 12 co-created final products and 16.000+ creative minds and followers, they are experiencing a promising start. What makes this platform different related to others and how does the consummation look like ?

Creating a Creation story process

1st FridayCall for creation

On the 1st Friday at midnight, the client submit a Call for Creation video. With uploading this video based Call on the online platform, a client opens the request for action towards creative minds. As already presented above, the topic of call for creation can be anything of choice based on the client request for a unique concept e.g. design, art or a new marketing campaign.

During the first week, anyone with a creative mind can respond on a specific Call for Creation by uploading their creative solution. Again this response will be delivered in the format of a video-pitch. The video pitch will be shown to online crowd, to give them a proper feeling and understanding of the solution proposed by the creative mind (person, company). The online public or followers, in turn, will vote for their favorite videos resulting in a dynamic top 5 ranking on the basis of video views and votes during this week.

2nd Friday – Winner gets chosen,  nr 2,3,4,5 announced

On the 2nd Friday the top-5 will be frozen and the client decides which pitch will be awarded as the number one. Interesting fact is that the client still can decide to choose a winner outside of the top 5. Having said that the client’s favorites are presented in a frame on the client’s Call for Creation page. This way the client can influence indirectly followers’ voting behavior. The nr 2,3,4,5 of the video-based pitching contest will be awarded with money. Besides the financial rewarding, the top-5 creative minds and their solutions will be announced on the platform making use of a video. In this way the creative mind talents will be shown to all the followers. On top of that, the winning creative minds will be part of the Created on Friday wall of fame.

During the second week, in a Meet & Making of, the client and winning creative mind co-create, further develop and fine-tune the winning idea into a final creation. Taking into account that the client is responsible for all the resources needed to come up with the final creation.

3th  Friday – Final creation

After 14 days of pitching, voting and co-creating the final product will be presented. Not surprisingly, this will be done using a video message on the Created on Friday platform.

 Success

Using online video content during the creation story, allows both clients, a creative mind and followers to share their findings and ideas towards a large crowd. In my opinion, the use of different social media channels ( YouTube, Facebook, Instagram ), makes Created on Friday a unique marketing “machine”.

Secondly I am really curious about the impact Created on Friday could have on nowadays marketing/design agencies. Noticing that these agencies mostly of the time charge a lot of money and consume more than 2 weeks to come up with a final product.

Since it’s founding by the end of 2014 , already 12 Creation Stories have been created. In my opinion, many more will follow. Top priority will be the supply of new Calls for Creation by clients.

Created by: Luut Willen

References :

Reviews & Ratings: Consumer online-posting behavior


“Unfiltered feedback from customers is a positive even when it’s negative. A bad or so-so online review can actually help you because it gives customers certainty that the opinion is unbiased.” 

– Source: Gail Goodman, Entrepreneur, 2011

Social media delivers an ultimate platform for customers to broadcast their personal opinions regarding purchased products and services and therefore accelerate word-of-mouth (WOM) or consumer reviews to travel fast. Nearly 63% of consumers are more prone to buy products on a website that has online consumer reviews (iPerceptions, 2011). Online consumers reviews are trusted 12 times more, in comparison with descriptions of the product stated by the manufacturers themselves (eMarketer, February 2010). Companies who provide space for reviews on their websites, have an increase in company sales of nearly 18% (Reevoo). This video below defines how customers can assess online consumer reviews and recommendations while researching and shopping online.

Youtube: “Online Reviews and Recommendations”

Chen et. Al (2011) examined the interactions amongst consumer posting behavior and marketing variables such as product price and quality. An important part of the research was about how such interactions progress as the Internet and consumer review websites draw widespread approval where people use it more often. The study’s new automobile models data comprised of two samples that were gathered from 2001 and from 2008. As an automobile involves thorough searching before making a significant financial decision, these years were seen appropriate. Also more consumers made use of the Internet between 2001 and 2008 when considering purchasing an automobile. A total of 54% of new-automobile consumers made use of the Internet in when buying a car in 2001, reported by Morton, Zettelmeyer and Silva-Risso. According to a report by eMarketer, in 2008 this percentage was increased to nearly 80%. This study included prominent automobile review websites that covered the distinctive sections of the market— leading car enthusiasts (experts) as well as amateur consumers.

91-review-sites-e1415383495712

Motivations for Posting Online Consumer Reviews.

Gaining social approval – self-approval – indicating a level of expertise or social ranking – by demonstrating their superb purchase decisions, are all psychological reasons why consumers post online reviews. It can also be used to state satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Diverse types of customers are driven by distinctive motivations for posting reviews online. The earlier group of Internet users (in the study – year 2001) differs from the second group of Internet users (year 2008) when it comes to the reasoning as to why they post online. The consumers categorized as early group of users (a.k.a. experts – early adaptors of innovation) have high levels of product expertise, making them more likely to be psychologically seeking status and engaging in noticeable consumption. They are seeking to representing know-how and social ranking is particularly significant in the Internet’s early years (2001), as they tend to have high incomes and are more so price insensitive.

Conversely, the Internet has advanced and developed over this period, and it has appealed to a bigger population of types of consumers. Where, in 2001 it used to be a select group of Internet users who would post reviews, the Internet usage and online consumer review sites of today have become more mainstream. The Late adopters (2008) cultivate to be more no-nonsense and price focused compared to early adopters.

Marketing variables – effect on consumer online-posting behavior

Marketing variables indeed have an influence on consumer online-posting behavior. In the early stages of the Internet (2001) the price of products had negative relationship but premium- brand image has a positive relationship with the number of online consumer postings; differently, product quality has a U-shaped relationship with the number of online consumer postings. These different relationships are likely to be driven by early adopters of Internet usage.

The Internet infiltrates to mass consumers online, who are more inclined to be price sensitive as well as value driven.

Though certain marketing variables can lead to a big number of consumers engaging in online posting activities, these consumers do not automatically give higher ratings. The study shows that mass consumers lean towards posting online consumer reviews at higher as well as lower purchase price levels. In contrast to posting online consumer reviews primarily at lower price levels, which happened frequently during the early stages of Internet usage. The Internet has been accepted more by mass consumers online, where they express (dis)liking a product or service. This motivation of sharing reviews has become more important compared to sharing expertise of social status.

In conclusion, this research showed that the connections between marketing variables and consumer online-posting behavior are distinctive at the early phases compared to mature phases when it comes to Internet usage. High prices increase the overall consumer review ratings, which may be good news for a firm’s pricing decision. They found that the search for status is a core driver behind consumer-review behavior, predominantly in the early Internet stage. In market where it is difficult to assess quality, costly to assess quality, and where heterogeneous tastes are important factors when choosing a purchase, customers are occupied in all-encompassing decision-making. These conditions make it more likely for consumers to request external opinions online, before they make a decision on what they will be purchasing.

References:

Chen, Y., Fay, S., & Wang, Q. (2011). The role of marketing in social media: How online consumer reviews evolve. Journal of Interactive Marketing25(2), 85-94.

Charlton, G. (2012) “Ecommerce Consumer Reviews: Why You Need Them and How to Use Them.” Econsultancy.com

Featured image: http://splumber.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Plumbing-Online-reviews-1030×574.jpg

Flattr: A ‘Like’ with Real Value


The development of the Internet brought us several  online platforms on which we can exchange information, share pictures, listen to music, watch videos and so on. The use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud is incorporated in our daily lives and nowadays we can’t image living without these services. One of the most interesting aspects of our online behavior is the fact that people share and contribute information for free on a massive scale. So what explains this behavior that we observe in the online environment? Although the urge to earn some money, a rather intrinsic motivation, can definitely play a role in people’s considerations to share or contribute to information online, extrinsic motivations such positive emotions, social rewards and connections, seem to be strong motivators which explain people’s online behavior (Mingarelli, 2013).

So how can we reward the millions of people who share and contribute information which we can use for our own benefit? Thanks to Facebook, we are able to ‘like’ others’ shares and contributions, but the familiar like button provides a more ‘social reward’ to the contributors or creators of certain information. Is this type of social reward enough for creators to keep sharing their information and contributions online for free? According to Flattr, a service enabling micro donations,  this is not the case. This European initiative beliefs that monetary support is the way to enable more content to be free and open. Flattring creators means that a supporter gives both a micro donation and social support, which provides a means of motivation which hopefully leads to more and better content to use and benefit from.  Furthermore, Flattr argues that paying for content gives a warm and fuzzy feeling and moreover, the feeling of being part of the creation of great content.Flattr Blog post

So how does Flattring work?  Continue reading Flattr: A ‘Like’ with Real Value

Social media needs strategy


Just the use of social media because a competitor is also using the such channel to spread easier information into the world is history. Before the use of social media companies really needs to think about a realistic strategy. “It is also about realising that you don’t have to try everything, and, more to the point, that you can’t do everything, as that brings with it another set of problems.” 

Social media isn’t one size fits all. Not every platform is going to be right for every brand, and working out those questions in advance could save time and valuable resources and even avoid some costly mistakes.”

To be a succes on the internet by using social media channels like Twitter and Facebook Continue reading Social media needs strategy