The dynamic and real time interaction which social media has presented has brought about the required changes in brand management. Understanding the manner in which it impacts brand performance is critical for social media. Different studies pertaining to the impact of social media on brand awareness is being identified but lacks clear identification of the challenges that the evolving environment presents. This paper will look at analyzing the manner in which social media have an impact on brand management and the strategies which has to be adopted to deal with it. The paper looks at presenting the manner in which consumers are becoming pivotal of brand awareness and the manner in which brand experience is being generated through brand management. Organizations thereby have to look at generating consumer brand stories so that the success and manner in which social media is impacting brand can be identified. This has to be matched with the difficulties associated with consumer and firm brand management strategies and the overall role social media plays in brand development.
Brands hold importance in the eye of firms as it creates value for them. Organizations thereby look to create brand value through different process so a clear knowledge and understanding of the product can be developed in the mind of consumers. Generally creating brand stories help to bring the persuasive impact through which people look at purchasing the product (Colin, Pitt, Parent and Berthon, 2011). The use of social media and creating stories which people are able to remember has impacted the manner in which brands were managed. Using both organization generated brand stories and consumer generated brand stories have through social media is at a evolving stage and looks to provide consumers with a plethora of ways to remember a brand.
The characteristics which the different social media channel presents results in different brand meaning for the consumer which is not consistent and thereby results in creating a false image of the product. This creates doubt on the mind of the consumer whether the whether the meaning of brand which has been communicated is trustworthy and authentic. The complexities maximizes as consumer generated brand stories help to add additional meaning to the brand which are different from one consumer to another thereby not helping consumers to interpret the brand in the same manner (Gensler, Volckner, Thompkins & Wiertz, 2013). Since firm generated brand stories are consistent and coherent and provides similar meaning to the brand consumer generated brand stories give different meaning to the brand and makes each consumer perceive the brands differently.
Organizations are not restricted to just following consumer brand generated stories as they try to use and influence the stories differently so that the impact brand has on brand performance can be understood. Organizations use the consumer generated brand stories to communicate different meaning to different consumers which thereby creates different impression on the mind of consumers as they perceive the product differently (Aggarwal and McGill, 2012). This creates doubt about the product brand and makes people doubt about the products as the actual construct and meaning of the product is different from one consumer to another.
It is true that using consumer generated brand stories if used positively will have a positive impact on the brand. Even the negative consumer generated brand stories can be used in social media to generate positivity about the brand. Organization uses their own organization generated brand stories to compliment the consumer generated brand stories so that new perception about the product can be generated. The risk at the point is that using and communicating the brand through social media might be perceived differently by different consumer which might complicate the consumer (Gensler, Volckner, Thompkins & Wiertz, 2013). The consumer might not actually be clear regarding the brand communication which would have a negative impact on brand performance. Using the same in a positive manner will help to bring about the required changes as product communication with the consumer can thereby improve which will help to ensure positive brand awareness stories which guide people to remember the product or services.
In addition to it consumer generated brand stories can help organization as spreading the stories through social media will provide an opportunity to develop better social networks. Organizations can benefit from it as consumer exchange their brand stories which is read by different people and picked up, alterations are made to the stories and new brand meaning is passed on (Gensler, Volckner, Thompkins & Wiertz, 2013). This helps to attract new consumers but also risk the old consumer as they might start to perceive the brand in the same way. This creates doubt about the product and makes consumer doubt whether the product is trustworthy or not. Organizations have to be careful in this regard and have to look at ways through which correct brand meaning is communicated so that consumers perceive the brand in the same manner. The process can help organizations as multiple brand stories can be communicated together which would help to create different meaning about the product. This will help to ensure that more and more brand awareness can be created and brand performance can be improved through it. The only important thing is that the real meaning of the product or service is communicated so that people perceive the brand as trustworthy and becomes loyal towards the product.
In addition to it the impact social media has on brand performance is also dependent on market characteristics and brand consumer relationship for example brand architecture and brand attachment (Sung & Kim, 2010). The degree to which the different characteristics influences consumer will determine the manner in which brand performance will be affected. For example, products which are more visible in the public arena and have a high consumption pattern are more susceptible to social media and can influence consumer purchase decisions. This can both be guided in the positive and negative way depending on the manner in which consumer perceive the product and services. In a similar manner brands which are more associated with private consumption are less likely to be impacted by social media as few characteristics of brand is demonstrated which thereby results in little influence over consumer. This also helps to ensure that the products can be authentically brought forward against consumer as there are no brand generated stories which would make a change in the perception that consumer has regarding the brand. Similarly if organizations uses brand architecture and advertise all products under the same umbrella the impact could be higher. Using the social media under brand architecture could result in spill over effect and the brand performance could be impacted due to negative consumer generated brand stories. This could create doubt over authenticity of the entire range of product which would lead towards negative brand performance and would have an impact on brand value.
Brand performance also gets impacted by participation in brand communities. Having a strong brand community where consumers are able to associate with the product in the social media has an impact on brand performance. Linking brand community with the brand value which consumer will get over a longer period of time ensures better loyalty towards the product. The risk with such mechanism is that organizations try to resort to ways through which different perception of the product can be generated through product communities (Berger, Sorensen and Rasmussen, 2010). This raises doubt about the authenticity of the product as organization through the use of social media makes changes in the perception that consumer has about the product. This creates doubt whether the product provides the same benefits and gains which have been provided in the product. This thereby impacts brand value in a negative way as people are unable to generate the same value which was expected from the product or services.
Another reason which creates doubt on fact that brand doesn’t provide the value which they preach is because of different brand related stories which are developed around a brand. Consumers tend to generate stories about brand which they perceive because of different factors like entertainment, empowerment and personal identity. This thereby doesn’t help other prospective consumer to garner the same brand performance which they are looking as stories and brand related issues are discussed in social media based on consumer wants. Even organizations react to it positively as it helps the organization to ensure that people discuss their product and services. Instead of generating positive impact it at times results in creating negative brand value. This impacts brand performance in a negative way as negative stories are generated. Even consumers become confused about the actual gain that the product provides. This thereby results in creating doubts and the authenticity which the product or service has is unclear.
Social media has also provided an opportunity for consumers where they can discuss the stories about brand which organizations have generated. People can come together and raise issues, provide opinion and discuss the different issues at length. This complicates the issue for organization as not being able to communicate the real meaning of the brand and the value which the consumer will generate out of the brand results in negative publicity (Parikka, 2015). It makes people doubt the actual value which the product will provide and made consumers doubt regarding the authenticity of the advertisement which the organizations provide. Organizations also tend to manipulate things from time to time so that new perception can be created but is done with the objective to attract new people. This impacts the already loyal customers in a negative manner which has an impact on brand performance leading towards negative publicity and creating doubt about the product.
It is also true that not all organizations which uses social media can be doubted as there are players who look to use social media in a similar manner to generate positive stories related to the brand. They look to ensure that they provide consumer with the actual characteristics of the product or services. This would thereby help to ensure that people association with the brand is improved as the real characteristics are brought forward. It helps consumers to understand the manner in which brand value will increase and the dimensions through which overall productivity is bound to grow. The overall dimensions helps to project organization and the product in a positive light which thereby improves the authenticity of the product.
Similarly consumer generated brand stories can have a positive impact on brand performance and brand value as it helps to bring forward the actual characteristics about the product. If the trait is used in a positive manner it would reflect on improved brand performance as consumers would know the real story about the product (Verhoef, Lemon, Parasuraman, Roggeveen, Tsiros & Schlesinger, 2009). People would know the actual value which they were able to garner. Not manipulating the things and bringing forward the actual matter will help to create positive attitude towards the product. This will help to improve brand performance and value and would thereby lead towards creating more faith about the product or services.
Using consumer and organization generated stories about brand together can help to improve brand performance. Linking the same and highlighting the manner in which consumers were able to drive brand value as the organization stated would have a positive impact on brand. This will help people to ensure that the different mechanism which has been used by organizations on social media is correct and is aimed towards improving customer satisfaction. Having true information about the product and communicating the same would result in having a positive impact as brand value will increase and would thereby ensure better brand performance.
Thus, social media has an impact on brand management and organizations have to look at using it in a positive manner so that brand performance can be improved. The paper presents the manner in which consumers are becoming pivotal of brand awareness and the manner in which brand experience is being generated through brand management. Organizations thereby have to look at generating consumer brand stories so that the success and manner in which social media is impacting brand can be identified. This has to be matched with the difficulties associated with consumer and firm brand management strategies and the overall role social media plays in brand development. The process would require bringing forward real stories and creating a positive impact about the brand so that consumers look at being loyal and brand performance is improved.
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