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Social Media: Changing Brands and Consumers

Social Media: Changing Brands and Consumers

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Claire Walsh. Originally submitted for Marketing Policy and Strategy at National University of Ireland Galway, with lecturer Dr. Ann Torres in the category of Business & Economics
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Claire Walsh. Originally submitted for Marketing Policy and Strategy at National University of Ireland Galway, with lecturer Dr. Ann Torres in the category of Business & Economics

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 29, 2012
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10/27/2013

 
 
Social Media
 
Changing Brands andConsumers
 
By Claire Walsh
 
Social Media: A Platform to Connect
Dahlen, M., et al. (2010, p. 354) states that
Social Media has shaken up the way we communicateand send messages to each other; there have been almost 100 million videos on
YouTube
; 200 millionblogs have been set up with 73% of active users having read a blog- 45% starting their own; fourmillion articles have been published on
Wikipedia
; there are 1.5 million
Second Life
residents; 39%subscribe to an RSS feed; 57% have joined a social network; 55% have uploaded photographs; and83% have watched video clips. Media has become the catch-all label for various activities thatintegrate technology, facilitate social interaction and provides channels to connect conversations toconsumers.
 
This summary highlights the vastness of social media, an arena which has been growing fast and iscontinuing to grow today. With hundreds of daily Twitter updates, Blogs, Facebook pages, LinkedInaccounts and YouTube clips being created the global connections available for firms with consumersare increasing rapidly, as is the creativity that needs to come with it. As one article from the businesspost entitled
“Get on the Social Ladder” (2009) states “for some companies, sites like Twitter and
LinkedIn are proving to be invaluable tools in their attempts to increase brand awareness, productivityand customer satisfaction. Effective social networking and marketing takes effort, as well as a little
creative thinking.”
 
However there are also negative aspects of social media on a company, in the word of Best Buys CEOBrian Dunn (2010 pp43-48)
“You can‟t just dabble in social media. You can‟t use them only whenthings are good. You have to deal with the rain as well as shine”
.
Using the Guinness Brand as anexample throughout, this article will evaluate the benefits and disadvantages social media can havewhen promoting a brand. It will analyse the changing uses of social media for promotion and discusshow customers react to these, specifically in regards to whether or not they evoke a reaction; that ispurchase.
Changing Brand Promotion
Before the digital age, promotion took the form of traditional media; communication of brand valuesto their customers was done through newspaper, radio, television, billboards etc. However all that haschanged and there now a vast and varied supply of media forms available to firms to communicatetheir message. It is common knowledge that when the internet first became available to the public, themain form of internet advertising took the form of banner ads. But how times have changed, and nowthe banner ad is so outdated that it is a topic for online discussion: Will advertisers finally sour on thead format that no one clicks on but everyone thinks is necessary? Clever brands are warming up to thesocial Web, and realizing that they can do more with less. It's what R&M calls "promotion," asopposed to traditional (and paid) "advertising." Kenneth Corbin blogs on internetnews.com (2008).
 
 
And he‟s right, firms are now moving
away from banner ads and pop-ups and forward into interactivesocial media advertising. No firm will dare go without a Facebook page or a Twitter account; they
can‟t because without it they wi
ll be left out of the loop, will miss out on key trends and becomeoblivious to consumer reaction. The on-line presences is not just being used to keep up with the timeseither, instead it is being embraced in order to connect with the target audience, create consumerbonds with brands and build customer relationships.Guinness is one brand where the shift inpromotion is particularly obvious. As they areknown for having very iconic advertisements itis amazing to see how they have moved fromprint advertisements to a new range of interactive on-line approaches. Their old adswere always simple pictures with short catchyslogans and although these ads are still iconictoday Guinness have moved on to a morecomplex and modern approach. They co-ordinate all aspects of their business in one large communications effort, consisting of The GuinnessStorehouse, Guinness rugby, The Arthur Guinness Fund, Arthurs Day and a number of othersponsored events which are promoted online. All of these are now promoted through social media;Guinness has a Facebook page for the product in general, this page has photos, events, info and a wall
where fans who “Like” the page can interact with the product b
y writing comments. It also hasFacebook pages for Guinness Rugby Supporters and Guinness Hurling Supporters, which allows forfurther inaction and communication which consumers and potential consumers.These Facebook pages promote the brand discreetly, p
eople who “Like” these pages may just want tofind out about rugby events or may have been recommended it by a friend but often they won‟t think 
about the fact that they are actively participating in brand promotion as well as giving the companymore feedback. Facebook is often a great source of consumer feedback as wall posts are often longand detailed not to mention honest. Facebook was also used to promote Arthurs Day sometimes noteven by the company but by individuals or pubs. Hundreds of 
Arthur‟s
day event pages were set upamong groups who wanted to know where the
must be
 
 place was on the day. It‟s not just Facebook 
that promotes Guinness as a brand on-line, there are hundreds of YouTube clips of Guinness ads andpouring techniques, there are articles and blogs about the brand,
Arthur‟s
day events and even recipesfor beer battered fish.Another positive factor that still influences the on-line Guinness brand is the existence of theGuinness world records, despite the fact that it was sold by
Guinness‟s owner 
Diageo in 2001 it still

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