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New marketing communication approaches towards luxury brand building via social media.
«The Web, for luxury brands, is not future, but the present.»
Dolce & Gabbana, 2010.
This Final Year Project is submitted as part of the requirements for the award of the BSc Business Studies. Presented by: Vasilisa Solovyeva ID number: 080022356 Supervised by: Caroline Wiertz Marketing & Consumer Behaviour Cass Business School, City University London 24 March 2011.
“I certify that I have complied with the guidelines on plagiarism outlined in the course handbook in the production of this dissertation and that it is my own, unaided work.” Signature:
I would like to thank Caroline Wiertz for her guidance and great advice, Vangelis Kassotakis, the marketing director of Cartier, for inspiration, my friends and family, especially my father, for help, support and proof-reading.
Abstract The aim of this study is to identify the main marketing approaches in communicating a luxury brand through social media. Employing a framework by Philip Kotler (2008), a quantitative content analysis of the social media platform Facebook of six major luxury companies presented findings that were evaluated by case study analysis. Specifically, the brand resonance pyramid, developed by Kevin Lane Keller (1993), is reviewed as a means to track how the marketing communications environment can affect luxury brand equity. The findings indicate that all types of marketing communications are performed on the social media platform, highlighting the differences that exist when product types are compared. Further cases studies present the extent to which marketing communications affect luxury branding strategy. This study contributes to marketing academic research on the use of social media as part of brand building. However, there appears to be room for further research.
Table of content
1. Introduction ………………………………………………………..............6
1.1. Background……………………………………………………………………………...6 1.2 Problem formulation……………………………………………………………………6 1.3 Purpose…………………………………………………………………………………...7
2. Literature review ………………………………………………………….8
2.1 Luxury industry…………………………………………………………………………8 2.2 Social media……………………………………………………………………………..9 2.3 Marketing communications……………………………………………………………9 2.3.1 Advertising……………………………………………………………………10 2.3.2 Sales Promotion ………………………………………………………………11 2.3.3 Events & Experience ………………………………………………………….12 2.3.4 Public Relations and Publicity………………………………………………..12 2.3.5 Direct Marketing……………………………………………………………...13 2.3.6 Personal Selling……………………………………………………………….13 2.3.7 Word-of-mouth………………………………………………………………..14 2.3.8 Interactive marketing…………………………………………………………15 2.4 IMC across markets……………………………………………………………………15 2.5 Luxury branding………………………………………………………………………. 16 2.6 Choice of literature…………………………………………………………………….17
3.1 Sample…………………………………………………………………………………..18 3.2 Coding…………………………………………………………………………………..20 3.3 Limitations……………………………………………………………………………..20 3.4 Reliability………………………………………………………………………………20
4. Results …………………………………………………………………….21
4.1 Overview…………………………………………………………………….………….21 4.1.1 Implications………………………………………………………………..….22 4.2 Product type analysis…………………………………………………………………24 4.2.1 Fashion luxury companies……………………………………………………24 4.2.2 Jewellery luxury companies …………………………………………………..25 4.2.3 Car luxury companies ………………………………………………………..26 4.2.4 Cross-sectional analysis and implications ……………………………………27
4.3 Case study analysis……………………………………………………………………28 4.3.1 Case 1: Louis Vuitton…………………………………………………………28 4.3.2 Case 2: Dior……………………………………………………………………30 4.3.3 Case 3: Cartier…………………………………………………………………32 4.3.4 Case 4: Tiffany & Co…………………………………………………………..34 4.3.5 Case 5: BMW………………………………………………………………….35 4.3.6 Case 6: Porsche ………………………………………………………………..37 4.3.7 Implications…………………………………………………………………....38
5. Conclusion and Suggestions for Future research…………………....40 6. Appendices………………………………………………………………..41
Appendix 1: Code Book……………………………………………………………………………….41 Appendix 2: Code Sheet………………………………………………………………………………43 Appendix 3: Spreadsheet of the results……………………………………………………………….46 Appendix 4: LV data …………………………………………………………………………………52 Appendix 5: Dior data ………………………………………………………………………………..54 Appendix 6: Cartier data……………………………………………………………………………...55 Appendix 7: Tiffany & Co data……………………………………………………………………….56 Appendix 8: BMW data………………………………………………………………………………57 Appendix 9: Porsche data……………………………………………………………………………..58
What are the communication approaches to social media by luxury companies?
Today we see an explosion of new information and a fast development of communication technologies that have become an integral part of our society. Social networks have become an integral part of people’s lives, and something that presents a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. 96% of the world’s population have joined social networks (Qualman, 2010). Facebook alone added over 200 millions users in less then a year (Facebook, 2011). “Social media” is a new communication platform that appeared with the spread of new social-networking websites. The phenomenon of social media has changed the way we do business forever (FT, 2009). Interestingly, social media has also become a powerful tool for marketers. The issue today “is not whether to deploy Internet technology companies have no choice if they want to stay competitive but how to deploy it.” (Porter, 2008).
1.2 Problem formulation
Social media is a relatively new concept and the current buzzword for many company managers. Companies that employ this new channel of communications perform very successfully. For example, Dell uses social media for building relationships with customers and finding new employees (FT, 2009). There seems to be a lot of opportunities for companies in social media: but how should they use these opportunities? Are there any opportunities that are suitable for a particular company? How do they affect customers?
Unfortunately, academic literature offers marketing managers very little theoretical instruction on adopting social media in marketing communication strategies. The purpose of this research is to analyze and explore how luxury companies embrace social media in their marketing communication strategies. The choice of the industry for the examination was driven by personal interest as well as by the industry’s specific issues with respect to social media, like exclusivity and expensiveness of products, to challenge the work. As mentioned earlier, social media is a new concept for the academic world, thus there are very few works published on this topic. Therefore, the research question is based on traditional theory of marketing and is applied to the subject of interest:
Which methods of marketing communication are used by luxury companies on the social media platform Facebook?
Based on the problems discussed, this study answers the following sub questions: Do fashion luxury brands in brand profile pages of Facebook use communicational mix more than car luxury brands in brand profile pages of Facebook? Do car luxury brands in brand profile pages of Facebook use communicational mix more than jewellery luxury brands in brand profile pages of Facebook? Do fashion luxury brands in brand profile pages of Facebook use communicational mix more than jewellery luxury brands in brand profile pages of Facebook? Does marketing communication on the social media platform Facebook allow luxury companies to build strong brands? This study is divided into four main parts: literature review, methodology, results and conclusion. The first part reviews the theoretical foundation of luxury industry, social media, marketing communication and branding. Then the perspective of this study is presented. The second chapter presents research methodology and outlines variability and reliability of this study. The result chapter has three sections: overview, product type analysis and six case studies analysis. Each sections is concluded, giving the future recommendations for academics and practitioners. The last part presents the conclusion of this study. The explanation of the research questions and fulfilled objectives is given. Finally, suggestions for future researches and implications for managers are underlined. The aim of this study is hopefully to contribute to theory by providing a benchmark on how luxury brands should use social media. This study could be seen as practical advice for marketing practitioners and a framework for future research for academics.
2. Literature review 2.1 Luxury industry
Nueno and Quelch (1998) defined the luxury industry as a sector providing very good quality products. The aim of luxury companies is to sell products in limited quantities, in order to maintain the exclusivity to its customers (Dubois and Paternault, 1995). Berthon et al (2009) explained the managerial implications of luxury brands. They stated that managerial approaches towards luxury brands differ from brand to brand, since consumers’ motivations towards consumption of luxury brands are very different. In addition, building strong brands is crucial for luxury companies. Keller (2009) outlined 10 defining characteristics of luxury brands, suggesting strategic and tactical guidelines. These include importance of controlling brand image, creation of brand associations, integrated marketing communication to ensure quality products, importance of brand elements (logos, symbols, etc.) aside from brand names, importance of secondary associations (events, spokespersons etc), careful control of distribution channels, premium pricing strategy with strong quality cues and few discounts and markdowns, careful management of brand architecture, attention towards defining competitors and legal protection. In addition, a superb level of service is considered in luxury branding (Reppa and Hirsh, 2006). Globalisation, new technologies, shifting consumer cultures ands other forces challenge marketing management of luxury brands. Traditionally, luxury is associated with inaccessibility and uniqueness. In addition, communication efforts are usually directed towards profitable customers. Especially the growing popularity of online experiences is challenged for luxury, since these brands usually have a strong inter-personal component (Keller, 2009). A few years ago, luxury companies were afraid to leverage social media. The Internet, in general, was considered as a mass and incontrollable media that could destroy brand images (FT, 2009). However, nowadays, the Internet is no longer ignored by luxury companies. Indeed, some companies successfully exploit the power of social media (Mashable, 2009). In fact, luxury consumers are very interested in both engaging with and talking about brands online. Marketing strategies that combine the online experience with offline experience of the brand are emerged to be the most successful. However, these strategies are based on perceived value of the Internet, in general, rather then carefully tailored approaches (Microsoft Advertising, 2008).
2.2 Social media
Social media has been developed through Web 2.0. The concept of “Web 2.0” was introduced by O’Reilly Media in 2004. With the increasing emergence of web platforms that enable users to create content, Web 2.0 implies the stage of the Internet’s evolution when the website content became predominately user-generated. The whole world realised the huge potential of the new opportunities that come from these technologies, hence creating the term “social media”. This form of media ‘‘describes a variety of new sources of online information that are created, initiated, circulated and used by consumers intent on educating each other about products, brands, services, personalities, and issues’’ (Blackshaw and Nazzaro, 2004). The most eminent social media websites are considered to be: Facebook, Twitter and Youtube (Eley and Tilley, 2009). Blackshaw and Nazzaro (2004) argue that social media could become a powerful weapon of marketers. Social media enables companies “to communicate directly with consumers — not with the companies or marketers who are trying to capture their attention”. More importantly, social media increasingly plays a vital role in shaping consumer purchase behaviour, due to the fact that consumers can now influence the buying power and trust of other consumers. Subsequently, the degree of influence that social media can possess in its application to marketing communication should not be underestimated.
2.3 Marketing communications
Marketing communications are the means by which firms attempt to inform, persuade and remind consumers, directly or indirectly, about the products and brands that they sell. It is also called promotional mix, which was described by Kotler and Keller (2009) as a “voice” of the brand and the means by which it can establish a dialogue and build a relationship with consumers. Marketing communication mix and promotional mix are interchangeable (ibid). Marketing communication and promotion have been discussed in a various marketing books and articles by many famous authors. Philip Kotler, one of the most respectable author of marketing works, is the founder of the promotional mix concept. Kotler, et al (2007) introduced promotional mix, which comprises of tools that companies employ to influentially communicate customer value and build customer relationships. The promotional mix consists of advertising, sales promotion, events and experiences, PR and
publicity, direct marketing, personal selling, world-of-mouth, interactive marketing (Kotler and Keller, 2009). However, the media environment has changed dramatically in recent years. The internet environment has opened an enormous number of opportunities for new ways of marketing communication, while some forms of media are passing away. Many authors argue that the most effective marketing communication strategies combine different communication channels. This concept was introduced by Schultz, Tannenbaum and Lauterborn (1993) and was named integrated marketing communication (IMC). IMC approaches to promotion are rapidly substituting traditional advertising in the marketing world (Schultz and Kitchen, 1997). Traditional advertising focuses on a broad target audience through a hierarchy of communication effects (e.g. awareness, knowledge, preference, conviction) toward consumer behaviour distributed between purchased media and time (Schultz and Wang, 1994). On the other hand, IMC attempts to coordinate and control various elements of the promotional mix - advertising, personal selling, public relations, publicity, direct marketing and sales promotion - to produce a unified customer-focused message and, therefore, achieve various organisational objectives (Boone and Kurtz, 2007). Companies that use the IMC approach, rather than start with preordinated communication solutions, have the potential for better performance results (Schultz, Tannenbaum and Lauterborn, 1994). Until recently, marketing communication was as rather simple managerial task that was controlled by marketers, as mentioned earlier in the definition. The internet environment driven by advances in technology along with digitalisation changed the way marketers manage IMC it became no longer fully controlled, because consumers became active communication generators themselves (Kerr, Waller and Patti, 2009). This phenomenon was described by Berthon, Pitt and Campbell (2008) as user-generated content (UGC). The development of digital media allowed the audience to manage and select their own exposure to marketing messages. It is important to mention, however, that various researches (Internet Usage Report, 2008) recommend monitoring consumers’ activity online, since consumer-toconsumer communications affect the majority of all purchase decisions. The following sections describe each mode of marketing communications.
Advertising is the most widespread aspect of the promotional mix. The main goal of advertising is to spread information about companies’ products or services and brand names (Kotler and Keller, 2009). Advertising differs from other promotional mix aspects, since the communication occurs in an impersonal way and covers a larger population than
others. Advertising is usually costly and traditionally performs on TV, radio and newspapers. Common techniques for traditional advertising include: print ads, broadcast ads, packaging, packaging inserts, motion picture, brochures and booklets, posters and leaflets, directories, reprint of ads, billboards, display signs, point-of-purchase displays, audiovisual material, symbols and logos, and videotapes (ibid). Despite reaching a wider audience, advertising has been largely criticised due to lack of effectiveness. Doyle and Stern (2006) argued that advertising does not push customers to make a final purchasing decision.
Application to social media
Principally, many types of advertising that is perceived in traditional way, could also be performed in the Internet, thus in social media. Technology allows digitalizing any paper and video recorded material and, then, publishing it on the Internet (Markus and Markus, 2010). This includes picture ads, video ads, booklets and brochures, audio-visual materials, logos and symbols. Though, some techniques are not possible to be performed on social media due to its’ nature, like broadcast ads, packaging, etc.
2.3.2 Sales promotion
Sales promotions can be identified as short-term incentives to encourage trial or usage of a product or service (Keller, et al., 2008). The main goal of sales promotion is to receive a higher and faster buyer response. Despite similarities between the previous mode (advertising) and sales promotions, the latter aims at communication, incentives and invitation (Kotler, et al., 2007). Major consumer - promotion techniques of sales promotions are contests, lotteries, premiums, gifts, sampling, fairs and trade shows, exhibitions, demonstrations, coupons, entrainments, continuity programs, tie-ins (Kotller and Keller, 2008).
Application to social media
Samples of physical products cannot be issued, though as in the case of advertising, other techniques sales promotions can be employed on social media. Companies usually design continuity programmes, contests, lotteries and other any sales promotional entertainment with accordance to the objectives they pursue, thus there should not be any restrictions in designing such promotional incentives on social media. Coupons and other premiums do have an online form and are proved to be beneficial for marketing uses (Rajneesh, et al., 2004). Therefore, a potential for social media application exists for these two forms of Sales promotion. Events that stimulate greater purchases, like fairs and trade shows, can be promoted on social media (Shapiro, 2010), probably even more effectively then offline, since the greater audience is reached, not only specialists in the industry.
2.3.3 Events and Experiences
Event marketing refers to public sponsorship of events or activities related to sports, art, entertainment or social causes. Such programmes are intended to broaden and deepen companies’ relationships with customers. Events are considered to be a less direct, less aggressive kind of marketing (Keller, Aperia and Georgson, 2008). Most common examples of this particular type of communication are: sports, entertainment, festivals, arts, causes, factory tours, company museums and street activities. (Kotler and Keller, 2009).
Application to social media
Events on the social media platform Facebook exist in form of sections on the profile page, where it is possible to post information and receive invitation to upcoming offline and online events. Thus, companies can promote any event they organise to the targeted audience, whether it is an art event, sport event or social cause event. Also Taylor (2010) discussed advantages of event webcasting. This is popular form of an event promotion. Basically, companies can now place a recoded of life-streaming event webcast on social media networks, like YouTube and Facebook. Greater profitability and financial success are the benefits of webcasting. In addition, it is argued that a great potential has been emerged for event management companies with webcasting.
2.3.4 Public Relations (PR) and publicity
Public relations and publicity can be viewed as a variety of programmes designed to promote or protect a company’s image or its individual products. The key objective of this mode is to generate an effective and understandable communicational flow between a company and all other interested groups. Major tools in PR include: publications, events,
sponsorship, news, speeches, public service activities, corporate values communication, and identity media. This type of communication contributes to product awareness, which is
especially effective for new product launches. In addition, PR enhances corporate image, developing trustworthiness when designed accordingly (Kotler and Keller, 2009).
Application to social media
PR can be performed successfully on social media as in the offline world. The ability to make speeches and post information for free makes PR even more attractive and effective. The ability to make speeches and post news for free makes PR even more attractive and effective (Conrad and APR, 2010). Social media made access to the company’s information, like news publications, promotion of sponsorship, etc., more easily. In addition, corporate values
could be communicated more effectively through social media. However, the caution is that technological innovations can affect confidentiality and validity of the company’s statement, thus, PR messages that focus on the company’s values should be meaningful and memorable, proactive and value-driven, customer-based and properly timed (Johnston, 2008).
2.3.5 Direct marketing
Direct marketing is the use of consumer-direct channels to reach and deliver goods and services to customers without using marketing middlemen. This mode can be viewed as an integrated form of advertising, sales promotion and personal selling, since it has a lot in common with listed modes. There are a variety of channels to reach customers directly: direct mail, catalogue marketing, telemarketing, interactive TV, kiosks, websites and mobile devices. These examples suggest that this mode can potentially benefit from customisation and personalisation. Direct marketing has been proved to be an effective tool for building long-term relationships with customers through various loyalty programmes (Kotler and Keller, 2009).
Application to social media
Direct Marketing can be applied to social media. Digitalised product catalogues could be effectively posted on the company’s profile page on social media platform. Also Facebook has an option for subscription on the news delivered directly to email or mobile phones. More advanced technological options allow to have very interactive and extraordinary navigation on Facebook, that can link the profile page with external online shopping websites. However, this is not the case with kiosks, telemarketing and interactive TV.
2.3.6 Personal selling
Personal selling involves face-to-face interaction between the sales force of a company and prospective purchasers for the purpose of making sales (Keller, et al, 2008). Sales presentations, sales meetings, incentive programmes, samples, fairs and trade shows are examples of personal selling initiatives. The advantage of this mode is the ability to communicate detailed, personalised messages to the customer and the benefit of the potential feedback. According to Power (1992), personal selling requires the focus of the entire company in order to empower employees. In addition, this channel of communication can be timeconsuming, as well as a complicated process to implement (Kotler, et al 2007).
Application to social media
Although the definition states that personal selling requires face-to-face interaction, it is possible to conduct some forms of it on the Internet. Social media permits people to interact directly to each other in the form of typing conversations and sharing photos and files. Thus, theoretically, sales presentations and promotion of sales meetings can be applied as personal selling methods on social media platforms. Also, fairs and trade shows is a medium for personal selling, because it allows having a conversation with a customer in person. As previously discussed, fairs and trade shows are type of events that can be promoted on social media.
2.3.7 Word-of-mouth (WOM)
WOM marketing is the intentional influencing of consumer-to-consumer communications by professional marketing techniques (Kozinets, et al., 2010). Traditional theories of WOM marketing (Brooks 1957; Dichter 1966) were constructed in a time before the Internet. It can be broadly described as any strategy that encourages individuals to propagate a message, thus creating the potential for exponential growth in the messages’ exposure and influence. Today, with the wider scope of interactivity and accessibility thanks to the Internet, WOM communications have become a major part of online social communities (Brown, Broderick and Lee, 2007). Examples of WOM techniques are buzz marketing and viral marketing. Buzz marketing conveys new relevant brand-related information through unexpected or even outrageous means, thus generating excitement and creating publicity (Rosen, 2000). The viral marketing platform is referred as “world of mouse” and can be viewed as spreading the message online ensuring that the receivers have the interest to pass along the message to their acquaintances (Kaikati and Kaikati, 2004). The importance of this mode was supported by a study by Trusov et al (2009) where consumers were found to be 16% more likely to be influenced by online word-of-mouth communications than traditional advertising (broadcasting and print). He also claimed that exchange of information online between consumers has changed how consumers perceive brands.
2.3.8 Interactive marketing
Interactive marketing is the newest mode in the communicational model. This mode includes communicating and selling directly to consumers via the Internet. Opportunities for greater interaction and individualisation that are offered by the Internet are key advantages of interactive marketing (Kotler and Keller, 2009). Tailored messages can be sent
online and engage different segments of consumers by reflecting their special interests and behaviour. In addition, the advantage of contextual placement available on the Web, for example advertising based on keywords from search engines, is shown when a consumer is searching for a particular product (Keller, 2009). With respect to the interaction aspect of this mode, online communities and co-creation experience have a positive impact on communications with customers (Prahald and Ramaswamy, 2004). There are some implications of interactive marketing. Due to the customer’s ability to screen out most messages, marketers lose some control over what consumers will do with their online messages and an activity (Keller, 2009).
Application to social media
A study published by Voorveld, Neijens and Smit (2010) examined the interactivity of the Website of brand. They described various interactive functions linked directly to the theory of interactivity. Despite assessing the interactivity of the companies’ websites, results show that the instrument can be used in different context. Thus, interactive techniques have a place to be on social media. An overview of the Websites’ interactive techniques suggests that the greater potential for the social media application have conventional devices, podcasts, virtual reality and software. An evolution in the conventional devices, like Blackberry, iPhone and iPad, has led to the emergence of mobile applications. Nowadays companies develop branded mobile applications and other software, that used to be only entertaining and/or informative by its nature in the beginning. One of the best practice examples, BarclayCard brand launched an application has been downloaded 9,800,000 times (Shah, 2011). There seem no restrictions for promoting a branded mobile app on social media platform, where the audience is more likely to be interested in it. As for podcasts, an example of webcasting discussed in the previous section suggests that this interactive tool could be found on social media platform too. Finally, advanced technologies have developed virtual reality that becomes very popular interactive marketing tool. It allows customers to experience product online, for example in 3D or HD videos, and could be integrated on social media platform (Ryan, 2001).
2.4 IMC across markets
Most studies on IMC have examined the perceived value and beliefs of IMC regarding its effectiveness when applied to the marketing of packaged or durable goods. IMC is perceived to be valuable in practice (Duncan and Everett, 1993). For instance, 95% of Fortune 500 executives reported that their company used IMC (Roznowski, Reece, and
Daugherty, 2002 cited in Grove, Carlson & Dorsch, 2007). However, there are few academic studies on the actual application of IMC in different product markets (Nowak, Cameron and Delorme, 1996 cited in Grove, Carlson and Dorsch, 2007). A recent study published by Grove, Carlson and Dorsch (2007) found that IMC incidence has not changed significantly over the past 20 years, while an actual application of IMC differs between product types. Despite authors providing insights regarding IMC in theory and in practice, future research on the utilisation of IMC at finer levels of analysis, such as by type of good or type of product, has been suggested.
2.5 Luxury branding
Luxury companies are dependent on brand management. Luxury brands are one of the purest examples of branding, as the brand and its image are key competitive advantages in this industry and sources of value and wealth for companies (Keller, 2009). According to Keller (2007), marketing communication activities contribute to brand equity and drive sales by: -‐ creating awareness of the brand (brand awareness) -‐ linking the right associations to the brand image in consumers’ memory (brand image) -‐ eliciting positive brand judgments of feelings (brand responses) -‐ facilitating a stronger consumer-brand connection (brand relations) Keller (1993) introduced a brand equity pyramid (Figure 1). This pyramid is a model of brand building, known as the customer-based brand equity model. This model maps out what brand equity is and how it should be best built, measured and managed. The essence of this model is that creating brand resonance requires carefully sequenced brand-building efforts. The CBBE model is claimed to be comprehensive, cohesive, well-grounded, up-todate and actionable. According to this model, brand building is an ascending series of steps, from the bottom to up: 1. Ensuring identification of brand with customers and an association of the brand in the customers’ minds with a specific product class or customer need. 2. Firmly establishing the totality of brand meaning in the minds of customers by strategically linking a host of tangible and intangible brand associations. 3. Eliciting the proper customer responses in terms of brand-related judgment and feelings. 4. Converting brand response to create an intense, active relationship of loyalty between customers and the brand.
Marketing communications contribute to the dimensions of resonance (Kotler and Keller, 2009). As an application example, Keller (2009) described the power of interactive marketing communications as a brand building tool, and concluded by mentoring its positive impact on brand equity.
2. 6 Choice of literature
Since the aim of this study is to observe how companies promote themselves using social media, an integrated approach to marketing communications theory was chosen for developing model for research (Q1). This choice was made due to the fact that the promotional mix, is one of the oldest traditional marketing theories and it would be interesting to see how the theory could be applied in modern marketing communication channels, like social media in this case. The research into academic literature suggested that there appears to be room for further research on IMC. Thus, the sample of the brands investigated in this study considered different types of product (Q2). The results were analyzed based on four classification criteria that corresponded to fundamental brand equity pyramid, in order assess the contribution of each type of mode to luxury brands’ equity (Q3).
This study examines the actual brand communication initiatives via social media that have been applied by leading multinational luxury companies. Methodologically, there are two processes in this study – conceptual content analysis of a social media platform (Facebook) and theoretical case study analysis (brand equity pyramid). The conceptual content analysis provides evidence of a possible application of traditional marketing communication tools to social media platform (Facebook) by luxury companies. The case study analysis goes deep inside the purposes of the communicational messages used by six luxury companies with respect to brand equity pyramid. A sample of companies whose social media platform (Facebook) would be used for content analysis was randomly chosen. However, strong brand presence in the Web 2.0 environment was observed in each case before the actual analysis. In order to satisfy the variability requirement, all the companies chosen produce different types of luxury products. Content analysis is defined as the systematic, objective, quantitative analysis of communications content (Kassarjian, 1977). It is also a systematic research method for analysing textual information in a standardised way to allow evaluators to make inferences about that information (Weber, 1990). Such a methodology for research allows new insights to be provided, increases understanding of the phenomenon studied, and provides meaningful information for practical actions (Krippendorff, 2004). This method has been successfully used by various researchers (Humphreys, 2010, Thompson, 2004). Content analysis has also been employed in the investigation of the incidence and nature of integrated marketing communications (IMC) evident in the advertising of products, which is a topic related to this particular study (Grove, Carlson and Dorsch, 2007). Although analysing content of these previous studies have usually been advertisement or magazines, the research method proved to be useful in analysing social media platforms (unknown author, 2010, Zhang, et al., 2010). These works suggest that the content analysis methodology could be effectively applied for this study.
Branded profile page on Facebook was chosen as the medium to study. The content analysis was performed during the period from January to March 2011. The sample was randomly chosen; however, a strong performance was noticed prior to the research period. In the data
collection phase, for each company, the entire “text” developed on social media platform (Facebook) was considered for the quantitative content analysis (Kassarjian, 1977; Krippendorff, 2004). Table 1 presents brands, whose profile page on Facebook was analysed. Brand Name Brand overview
Louis Vuitton is a leading fashion and leather goods brand. According to Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH group, successful branding is the result of a combination of ads with famous spokespeople, artist collaborations, corporate sponsorship, high-class events and an effective PR. (Brand Channel, 2006).
Dior is a French company, which produces top-quality, highly creative products that appeal to a youthful, refined clientele. Dior is undoubtedly one of the most successful brands in today’s fashion world (Global Data, 2011).
Cartier is a French luxury jewellery and watches manufacturer. It uses marketing to promote its image of exclusivity and tradition since 1847. CEO Bernard Fornas says that “Cartier is the most beautiful brand in the world…[marketing actions] creates a very important resonance for the brand” (Matlack, 2006).
Tiffany & Co (jewellery)
Tiffany & Co is an American jewellery manufacturer and retailer, with unrivalled reputation for sophisticated luxury. Unlike other luxury brands, which focus on wealthy customers only, Tiffany & Co remains resolutely upscale (Chabbot, 2011).
BMW is a German luxury vehicles manufacturer, known for its performance. The company is a global leader in premium car market (Danzig, 2004).
Porsche is a German luxury sport car manufacture. The brand is associated with supreme automotive design (AdBrands, 2011). Table 1.
The coding categories are promotional mix modes, based on literature review (advertising, sales promotions, events and experiences, public relations, direct marketing, world of mouth, personal selling). Marketing communication techniques, for example sport event, product catalogue, audio-video material, etc., were coded as variables. Forty-one variables were analysed (Appendix 1: code book). The content of each luxury company profile page on Facebook was processed manually using a code sheet, recording the presence or absence of coded variables (Appendix 2: code sheet). The transcripts of results as well as spreadsheet of quantitative data are available in appendices section (Appendix 3). Further quantitative data was used to identify the frequency of marketing communications employed by luxury companies on Facebook. Based on these finding a comparison between three different product types companies was performed. Finally, an evaluation was carried out of the contribution of each communicational mode to brand equity, with respect to brand awareness, brand image, brand responses and brand relationships in each case. The evaluation was conducted on a case-by-case basis and consisted of the theory of customerbased brand equity pyramid.
It is important to mention that due to the limited amount of academic literature available, this study is based on traditional theory of marketing communications. Therefore, online experience allows only some types of communicational modes to be performed on the social media platform Facebook. The literature review chapter outlined examples of the traditional techniques of each communication mode. This study investigates only those types that can be applied in the Internet environment.
Reliability is one of the distinguishing characteristics of content analysis (Kassarjian, 1977). The reliability of a study refers to the assurance that the data obtained are independent of the measuring event, instrument, or person (Kaplan and Goldsen, 1949). Kassarjian (1977) states two types of reliability in the content analysis: category reliability and interjudge reliability. Usually, content is processed by several coders in order to minimise the researcher’s subjectivity and improve the reliability and the validity of the results. However, this study is not a subject of interjudge reliability, since the content was processed individually and no judges were involved. Despite that, this study can be considered reliable, since categories were formulised and defined based on the academic literature review. Nevertheless, the data were observed and processed manually and were the subject of the observer biases. Thus, it is important to mention that the observer effect has an impact on the study’s reliability and validity (Saunders, 2009). However, an attempt to analyse each case deeply reduces issues of reliability.
The results of this study were obtained from the content analysis as described in the methodology section. The spreadsheet of the results is available in the appendix and presents a clear picture of how companies use brand profile pages on Facebook for marketing communication purposes. An overview section describes the quantitative findings, thus answering Q1 regarding methods of marketing communications used by luxury companies. It is finished with an implication section with the brief analysis. The product type analysis presents the description of findings according to the companies’ product type. This shows what techniques luxury brands are using and how often. The section is concluded with cross-sectional analysis, answering Q2 (a, b, c) This is particular relevant to Grove, Carlson & Dorsch’s (2007) call for more examination of IMC with respect to finer levels of analysis. In order to assess the purposes of the brand communication techniques and answer Q3, a resonance pyramid will be discussed with social media’s application with to the case examples of luxury brands used in this study.
As a first step in analysing the social media marketing communications undertaken by the six leading luxury companies surveyed, frequency counts were compiled of the 41 coding
variables. Graph 1 presents an overview of the usage of all modes of promotion mix on brand profile pages on Facebook by six luxury companies.
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Graph 1. Overview of themarketing communications on a social media platform (Facebook) by luxury companies.
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WOM is the most prevalent method of communications – luxury companies fully employ both viral marketing and buzz marketing on Facebook. Advertising and interactive marketing are the next popular modes used on Facebook by luxury companies, with results of 87% and 83% respectively. PR is the next common element of the promotional mix on Facebook, with 75% of the total usage. Slightly lower results were found with respect to events & experience, with a score of only 63%. As for the promotion of direct marketing and personal selling, it was found that these types of communication are presented on the brand profiles pages on Facebook (61% and 58%). The cases of the usage of sales promotion techniques (25%) that were found on the brand profile page were very much lower.
Leadership of interactive marketing techniques among all other modes of communications applied by luxury companies on social media can be explained by the fact that the interactive scope of the Internet provides an opportunity for greater marketing interaction and individualisation. The strong position of advertising is a result of it still dominating marketing activity in the offline world, as suggested in the literature review section (Kotler and Keller, 2009). The strong performance of WOM techniques is a result of the fact that this method appeared in the online marketing application recently, due to the recent development of social media itself. The popularity of PR is explained by the fact that this mode has proven its ability to communicate to the public through traditional media, build
relationships, manage those relationships in different communities, and guide all the strategic communications for a company, and the results suggest that PR takes more of a lead in social media planning (Social Media Comes of Age, 2010). The slightly lower results obtained for events & experience are explained by the lack of personal interaction; however, due to the recent emergence of high-tech technologies, like virtual reality, the percentage has the potential to increase (Prahald and Ramaswamy 2004). The slightly lower percentage obtained with respect to direct marketing techniques is explained by the fact that social media allows a closer relationship between a company and a customer (Brown, Broderick and Lee, 2007), thus luxury companies successfully leverage this opportunity. Less intensive usage of personal selling techniques is explained by the lack of personal interactions as in the case of events & experience. The lowest percentage of usage, sales promotion, is explained by the fact that social platforms focus more on communication and relationship building, while sales promotion focuses on short-term initiatives, designed to stimulate quicker or greater purchases (Keller and Kotler, 2009). Also, luxury companies sell expensive and exclusive products which require, to some extent, decision making before the purchase. A content analysis identified that thirty-nine out of forty one techniques have a presence on Facebook. Lotteries and Factory tours variables were not recorded. The reason behind could be an exclusiveness and expensiveness of the products in the luxury industry. Overall, these findings could be seen as a benchmark for adapting various techniques, considering the industry trend, on social media.
4.2 Product type analysis
4.2.1 Fashion luxury companies
The findings from two fashion brands’ Facebook profile pages will be discussed in this section. Fashion luxury companies adopt the IMC approach on the social media platform, employing each form of marketing communications on the social media platform (Facebook) (Graph 2).
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Graph 2. Usage of marketing communications on Facebook by fashion luxury companies
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Advertising and WOM are the most prevalent methods of marketing communications that fashion luxury companies employ on Facebook which correlates with the industry’s trend (100%). Examples include pictures of LV’s new collection in an advertising campaign and Dior’s official advertising video with Natalie Portman, while LV attempts to encourage WOM via buzz marketing, for example, through “City Guides” promotion campaign, which includes posts every week with geographical coordinates of various places of interests encouraging fans to track updates. As for Dior, a viral marketing technique was observed during the data collection. Dior launched a quiz, encouraging participants to share their scores in order to encourage consumer-to-consumer communications. A slightly less percentage (89%) of PR techniques was found on the companies’ profile pages. LV is very keen on PR, exploiting various techniques such as publications in CNN news, designers’ speeches, company’s core values communication, etc. Dior is less concerned with PR on Facebook, but still some techniques have been found, like interviews with spokespersons (Marion Cotillard) and values communication, especially soon after House’s art director John Galliano was fired due to anti-semantic remarks (The Times, 2011). Events & experience
was represented by 88% on luxury fashion branded profile pages. Both companies promote fashion shows (festivals in this study). The LV Trophy WSTA is an example of a sport event promoted on Facebook. 75% of the interactive marketing techniques were found on Facebook, but it is important to mention that the observed trend suggests a rapid increase in the future. Dior promotes the release of an application for conventional devices, such as the iPad, and LV adapting virtual reality techniques, such as 360 degree photo shoots and software downloads. Finally, sales promotions are not very popular on social media platforms among fashion luxury companies, showing 36% only. LV “Your Definition of a Journey” contest is an example of a sales promotion technique. Overall, fashion luxury companies apply various types of techniques using the IMC approach of marketing communications on Facebook. Results suggest that the majority of marketing communications are employed by more than 50% of them.
4.2.2 Jewellery luxury companies
The content analysis findings on jewellery companies Cartier and Tiffany & Co are presented in this section. actually employed.
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Graph 3 illustrates the data on actual usage of all types of
communication on Facebook by both companies, suggesting that all eight modes are
Graph 3. Usage of marketing communications on Facebook by jewellery luxury companies Again, as was the case with the fashion companies, advertising and WOM techniques are fully employed on Facebook (both 100%). Tiffany & Co publishes lots of pictures with celebrities wearing its products as part of its advertising strategy, as well as creating buzz around product placement, for its WOM strategy, while Cartier relies on official video ads. The next popular mode is interactive marketing (73%). Tiffany & Co employs virtual reality techniques very effectively when promoting its new collection, while Cartier communicates
with its customers via an application for conventional devices like the iPad. Slightly lower (but still good) results were obtained for the level of PR usage on Facebook profile pages (67%). Tiffany & Co communicates with customers using PR techniques, such as arranging ice rinks before Christmas in London and Milan, and promoting them on Facebook. Another example of PR that was observed on Cartier’s profile page was sponsorship of the highly regarded cause, the Cartier Women’s Initiatives Awards. Luxury jewellery companies rely on direct marketing techniques by only 50%. Cartier, for example, intensively promotes online subscription on the landing page on Facebook, while Tiffany & Co relies on the online shopping experience. Only 38% of events & experience types of technique were presented on the luxury jewellery brands’ profile pages. The most noticeable tool is art events – Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain is a foundation that organises different art exhibitions – and entertainment events, such as ice rinks, organised by Tiffani & Co. The smallest percentage of techniques was obtained for sales promotion (29%). Only Cartier participates in fairs/trade shows that may encourage purchases, such as Bienalle for antiques. Overall, the usage of all types of marketing communications was recorded on luxury jewellery branded profile pages on Facebook. However, a noticeable amount of techniques were not fully employed.
4.2.3 Luxury car companies
The following section presents findings on luxury car companies, Porsche and BMW. The usage of marketing communications on their branded profile pages is illustrated in Graph 4.
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Graph 4. Usage of marketing communications on Facebook by luxury cars companies
Compared to the previously described product type markets, results for car manufacturers are different. WOM and interactive marketing modes are fully employed, presenting 100% usage of marketing communication tools. As for noticeable examples, Porsche has a very effective promotion of virtual reality communications, such as virtual tours around auto shows and Porsche museums. BMW offers software downloads, such as free applications for Apple products, as well as BMW TV on demand. Advertising is still a popular strategy, resulting in 80% of advertising techniques employed on branded profile pages on Facebook. BMW posts pictures of products, while Porsche has a dedicated YouTube channel with highquality video advertisements promoted on Facebook. Slightly fewer (50%) techniques with respect to personal selling were discovered on the profile pages. Porsche has a dedicated section with an interactive map of dealer locations, which is considered as sales meetings. BMW presents reports on fairs and trade shows. Luxury car manufacturing companies on the social media platform use 63% of events & experience tools for marketing communication. The famous Porsche museum and BMW golf events are promoted on Facebook. Direct marketing is employed on 50% only. Porsche presents product catalogues, while BMW intensively promotes subscriptions. As for PR, it was found that both companies employ only 44% of all techniques. Porsche sponsors various events, as well as presenting speeches of famous Porsche car drivers, designers and the company’s management. BMW exploits identity media tools, such as the company’s logo. The marketing communication method with the lowest usage was sales promotion (14%), represented by the promotion of fairs and trade shows in the case of both companies. To conclude, luxury companies from this product type market rely more on new types of communication, rather than on traditional modes. Thus, the results present the smallest amount of marketing communication techniques employed on a social media platform.
4.2.4 Cross-sectional analysis and implications
Questions 2 a, b and c were developed to examine whether the type of company product influences the choice of marketing communication. Illustrated findings in the previous sections suggest that there is a differences between the marketing communication approaches of all three companies. Luxury fashion companies are highly active in providing most types of marketing tools. During the data collection phase, it was noticeable that fashion companies communicate with customers more frequently (i.e. frequent posts) then others, thus they have more chance to play around with the different types of techniques. However, the main reason could lie in the nature of the product type: fashion products are less durable then jewellery or cars, and thus more frequent product updates are required in
order to maintain the relationship. On the other hand, jewellery and car product type companies employ much fewer traditional marketing communication techniques than fashion companies, while recently emerged marketing tools, like WOM and interactive marketing, are very common as well. Jewellery companies are oriented to luxury, as a sign of wealth, more than fashion companies are. They try to deliver more uniqueness, creating an image of a more serious, high-quality brand. Thus personal types of communications, like personal selling and direct marketing, and mass communications that encourage greater purchases, like sales promotion, are not very common for marketing this type of product. The same goes for luxury car companies, since the car is a high-involvement product and is more durable than fashion goods, which explains these results. The difference between jewellery and car companies adopting marketing communications lies in the lack of events and experience provided by jewellery companies. This can also be explained by the differences between product types. Luxury cars tend to create more feelings of excitement, thus communications via various events and experiences are more effective at reaching such requirements. On the other hand, jewellery companies rely on PR more than car companies do, which is a more traditional method of communication. In contrast, car companies are more suited to the modern, high-tech tools from WOM and interactive marketing ways of communication on social media platforms. In general, product type does have an influence on marketing communication strategy. In addition, the sophisticated image of the luxury industry requires a more elaborate and exclusive manner of communication in order to emphasise exclusivity and high quality of products. Nevertheless, the trend suggests that new modern and high-tech techniques will grow in number, whatever type of product is promoted.
4.3 Case Study Analysis
4.3.1 Case 1: Louis Vuitton (LV)
The LV case refers to a fashion product type company in this study. The following section analyses the findings in order to understand whether techniques of marketing communications applied by the company are directed towards strong brand building. For more detailed results obtained on the luxury fashion company LV, please see Appendix 4.
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Graph 5. Louis Vuitton As illustrated on Graph 5, LV actively uses all modes of marketing communications on Facebook. Brand profile page is updated on daily basis with growing number of fans (1,953,589 on 11.03.2011).
LV’s brand resonance pyramid
The first stage of the pyramid is salience, which represents the level of brand awareness. LV uses various marketing communication techniques in order to improve the depth dimension of brand awareness. Usage of the logos and brand name in each post, as an advertising technique, contributes to this dimension. Entertainment promotion of products that are not traditionally associated with LV, like weekly posts dedicated to various places in the world from the “City Guides” book collection, improve breadth dimension. Promotion of products as good gifts also contribute to the consumers’ ability to recall the range of situations where the brand comes to mind, i.e. breadth dimension. The next stage is performance and imagery, which communicates brand meaning. LV uses various marketing communication techniques in order to create a brand image and establish the brand’s characteristics. LV strongly promotes its “Savoir Faire”, i.e. know-how, through PR campaigns, such as its “Craftsmanship & Special order” campaign, which communicates the exceptional quality of the company’s products. Such actions, without any doubt, improve the performance dimension of brand meaning. Regarding imagery dimension, LV attempts to meet customers’ more abstract psychological and social needs by creating user profiles, such as celebrity (Madonna, Bono, Gorbachev) endorsement in PR. The sophistication dimension of brand personality is reached through various upper-class events, like the Louis Vuitton Trophy WSTA in Nice. The brand history is intensively communicated on Facebook
through, for example, interviews with members of the Vuitton family promoting the company’s values. Brand responses are the next stage of the pyramid. The results suggest that LV marketing communications on Facebook attempt to create positive attitude formation and decisionmaking. Various campaigns that stress how LV products are of the highest quality, such as interviews with designers and craft makers, reinforce judgements regarding the quality, credibility, consideration and superiority of the company’s brand. The virtual reality technique, a type of interactive marketing represented by live streaming fashion shows, contributes to the creation of impactful experiential and enduring feelings, such as excitement of the exclusive experience. In addition, the social scope of Facebook may potentially contribute to self-approval during conversations, contests, etc. The final stage of the pyramid is brand resonance, which focuses on the relationship and level of personal identification that the customer has with the brand. The analysis suggests that LV uses techniques that are directed on building strong relationships with customers. Each person that has LV in its ”friends” is attitudinally attached to other fellow brand users, and this connection contributes to the sense of community category of the resonance stage. Facebook allows encouraging of active engagement, one of the strongest affirmations of customer loyalty. Street activities, such as the Foursquare campaign on Bond Street in London, suggest active involvement with the brand, in the same way that conversations on the profile page do. Overall, LV marketing communications are directed on building a strong brand, contributing to each stage of the brand resonance pyramid. The achievement of the highest level of pyramid is indicated by the fact that consumers become actively interactive with the brand and share their experiences with others.
4.3.3 Case 2: Dior
Dior is another luxury fashion type company in this study. This section, like the previous one, answers Research question 3 about the impact of marketing communications on brand equity. For detailed description please see Appendix 5.
Graph 6. Dior
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Dior employs all types of marketing communications on Facebook; however, none of them is fully employed. The brand profile page is not updated on a daily basis. 595,724 people have Dior as “friends” on the social network (on 19.03.2011).
Dior’s brand resonance pyramid
The first stage of Keller’s pyramid is silence, which refers to brand identity. Techniques that potentially improve depth and breadth dimensions were observed during the analysis. Largescale picture ads with a noticeable logo and brand name on the landing page contribute to deeper brand awareness. Intensive promotions of products and special editions before special occasions, like St. Valentine’s Day, improve breadth dimension, since it increases the number of possible usage situations where the brand appears in a customer’s mind. Marketing communications that were discovered on Dior’s profile page suggest that the company establishes brand meaning, the following stage in the pyramid, distinguished by performance and imagery dimensions. A dedicated interactive section describes the main characteristics of Dior’s products – like for example when Christian Dior himself developed the theme of nature in the collection – and helps to differentiate the brand. This section also presents some information of the brand that attempts to meet customers’ more abstract psychological or social needs. Information on the brand history encourages unique associations with the brand, the same as sophisticated brand personality associated with exclusive events. The findings suggest that Dior is attempting to establish positive brand responses, the next stage in the brand equity pyramid. Dior communicates the quality of its product through video advertising techniques, thereby enforcing customers’ perceptions about quality, credibility, superiority and consideration of the Dior brand. Conversations on the brand profile page and
the Dior quiz contribute to the formation of more enduring feelings, like social approval. A lack of direct communication with customers and rare updates indicate that Dior does not attempt to manage closer relations with customers; however, since people participate in discussions and comment on posts, this means that they are actively engaged and attitudinally attached to the Dior brand. Overall, Dior’s marketing communications establish good brand awareness with traditional types of marketing communication. A lack of recently established modes, like WOM and interactive marketing, suggest that Dior is lagging behind the industry trend in communicating with customers. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that the rest of the techniques that were found on Dior’s Facebook page attempt to encourage unique associations that are favourable to brand equity, positive reactions and loyalty in general.
4.3.3 Case 3 – Cartier
This section presents an evaluation of the other luxury product type, with the jewellery company Cartier. As in the previous sections, the analysis focuses on the influence of the marketing communications actually applied by the company on brand equity. The details of the results are presented in Appendix 6.
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Graph 7. Cartier Graph 7 illustrates the findings obtained from the content analysis on Cartier’s profile page. The content is updated rarely compared to LV, for example, and there are 87,332 subscribers (on 19.03.11). Cartier uses all types of communications with customers on Facebook , except for personal selling.
Cartier’s brand Resonance pyramid
The diversity of advertising and PR techniques on Cartier’s page, such as the beautiful video advertising, the publications and the amazing products catalogue, has the potential to encourage the depth dimension of brand awareness – the first stage on the way to strong brand building. Promotion of the company’s products as good gifts for special occasions contribute to the consumer’s ability to recall the range of situations where the brand comes to mind, i.e. breadth dimension. Content analysis suggests that a number of marketing communication techniques that Cartier uses on Facebook promote the establishment of key performance and imagery attributes in the minds of consumers. A section dedicated to fine watchmaking promotes the company “know-how”. It consists of a series of audio-visual materials with Cartier experts talking about fine watchmaking, promoting the reliability, durability and serviceability of Cartier products, thus establishing a differentiated image of the brand. The brand history is communicated on Facebook via a dedicated section that shows the company’s traditional experience and its many years of operation. The next stage of the pyramid is to embrace brand responses. The findings suggest that Cartier’s sophisticated image developed on the previous stage of the pyramid can encourage positive decision-making towards quality, credibility, consideration and superiority of the company’s products. In addition, positive feelings that attempted to be activated, like social approval and possibly self-respect, with the help of conversations and discussions occurred on Cartier’s brand page. The final stage, brand resonance, does not seem to be fully encompassed. The content analysis observed a lack of management and support of people’s conversations on Facebook. However, as previously discussed in the product type comparison section, the nature of Cartier’s products requires close relationship management with the potential customers only. Nevertheless, the number of people subscribed to the brand profile page indicates people’s attempt to be attached to the Cartier brand. Overall, the findings suggest that Cartier’s marketing communications on Facebook attempt to maintain at least three of the stages required in the branding pyramid. The frequency of page updates could be increased in order to meet the demand for interaction from page subscribers. In addition, the company seems to be very effective in employing interactive marketing techniques, like the highly interactive Cartier magazine, thus further diversity of this marketing communication mode could help the company catch up with the industry trend. The same notion is applied to events & experience techniques, because Cartier uses arts events very effectively, and diversification in types of events could contribute to broader brand awareness as well as convergence to the industry trend.
4.3.4 Case 4 – Tiffany & Co
This case study evaluates the fourth company of this study and the second company producing jewellery products – Tiffany & Co. An influence of marketing communications on Tiffany & Co branding strategy is investigated later in this section. The details of the results are presented in Appendix 7.
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Graph 8. Tiffany & Co. As illustrated in Graph 8, Tiffany & Co employs seven out of the eight marketing communication modes. The brand profile page is frequently updated with a growing number of subscribers (833, 616 on 20.03.11) Tiffany & Co’s brand resonance pyramid The salience stage of the brand equity pyramid is characterised by the extent of brand awareness that seems to be embraced by Tiffany & Co’s communications on Facebook. Ice skating events traditionally organised by the company in different cities around the world surely contribute to the depth dimension of this stage. PR, such as the products that celebrities wear during famous events like the Oscars, also encourages greater brand awareness. The popular way among the sample companies of improving the breadth dimension of this stage was the promotion of company products, before special occasions were found on Facebook. The following stage, which consists of performance and imagery, is reached by several marketing communication techniques employed on Facebook. Tiffany & Co annually present the world’s most magnificent diamonds and jewels at an extraordinary gala, communicating the exceptional style & design, reliability and durability of the company’s products. Such incentives surely straighten favourable and unique associations with brand identity. Regarding the imagery part of this stage, Tiffany & Co attempts to meet customers’ more abstract psychological and social needs by creating a user profile, to promote product
placements in popular TV series and celebrity endorsements during the Oscars, for example. In addition, the company attempts to create a sincere and exciting, rather than a sophisticated brand personality by adopting a more open way of communication and creating more interactive campaigns. Brand responses is the next stage in the branding pyramid. The results suggest that Tiffany & Co’s marketing communications on Facebook attempt to encourage positive judgements towards the quality, likability and credibility of the company’s products. An example of the techniques that are capable of contributing to these judgements is the company’s participation in numerous discussions, promoting the best features of the product. The findings suggest that Tiffany & Co designed its communications to cause emotions of fun and excitement, which are encouraged by the ice skating events and the branded conventional devices applications. The final stage, brand resonance, is fully embraced by careful management of active customer engagement, since personal communication with customers during conversations happening on the Facebook page help to maintain brand relationships. Overall, Tiffany & Co effectively employs marketing communications on Facebook towards luxury brand building, successfully contributing to the brand equity. The only notion is that WOM and events & experience techniques could be increased since it seems that actively engaged subscribers would welcome it.
4.3.5 Case 5 – BMW
The BMW case is investigated in this study as a luxury car company. As in the previous cases’ the analysis of the potential impact of marketing communications on brand equity is discussed. The details of the results are presented in Appendix 8.
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Graph 9. BMW
Graph 9 illustrates the findings from the BMW profile page on Facebook. There are many official BMW pages available on Facebook dedicated to specific countries and there is also one global BMW page. The preview of BMW UK and BMW Global pages indicated that there is little difference in the communication approaches on the two pages, thus the latter one was analysed. BMW Global has 4,638,000 subscribers (on 14.03.2011), which is the biggest number among the researched companies. However, the results suggest the weakest performance in terms of marketing communications in the sample.
BMW ‘s brand resonance pyramid
The first stage of Keller’s pyramid, brand awareness, is reached by BMW’s advertising techniques employed on Facebook. Usage of the logo and brand name in every post improves the depth dimension of the salience stage. However, there are no techniques that can potentially contribute to the breadth dimension recorded on the branded profile page. The performance part of the next stage towards building a strong brand is purely communicated on Facebook. Moreover, it is an essential characteristic of this particular product type. BMW intensively communicates primary characteristics, supplementary features and effective style & design of its products via an interactive catalogue available directly on the social media platform. Clearly stated and intensively communicated, the company mission is to bring joy, thus the brand imagery could potentially be improved via this excitement feature of BMW’s brand personality. As for the brand responses stage, the analysis suggests that audiovisual materials posted on Facebook’s company page focus on the quality, credibility, consideration and superiority of the products, thus potentially encouraging positive judgements about the brand. No doubt BMW designed the content of the communication messages presented on the social media platform to evoke feelings of fun and excitement. The strong leadership among all cases investigated in this study in terms of the number of people subscribed to the branded profile page indicates that there are a lot of people who desire to have a relationship with these brands. The most exciting finding with relation to this particular brand, however, is that most of the statuses, which seem to be updated on an hourly basis, are actually posted by fans. This surely suggests that the brand consumers are attitudinally attached, and they definitely follow a sense of community and attitudinal attachment to BMW, and thus brand resonance is reached. Overall, this case is the most different in the way it communicates its brand to the audience. Despite having very low frequency of theoretical techniques, BMW created the most engaged Facebook page. The main communication message is that this page is created for active and loyal consumers and encourages them to create content themselves, thus making
customers more involved in building a stronger brand. However, it could be argued that such active consumer participation should be better controlled since they may go “off topic”. In addition, BMW’s profile page does not look very organised and attractive unlike the previous cases, thus it could be improved.
4.3.6 Case 6 – Porsche
Porsche is the last luxury car brand evaluated in this study. This section discusses the impact of social media marketing communication on Porsche branding strategy. The details of the results are presented in Appendix 9.
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Graph 10. Porsche As Graph 10 illustrates Porsche employs all types of marketing communications on social media platform Facebook. The content communication content is updated mostly on daily basis and has 1,300,000 subscribers on 14.03.2011.
Porsche‘s brand resonance pyramid
Types of communications found during the analysis suggest that the first stage, brand awareness, has been reached by Porsche brand. For example, in order to improve the depth dimension of brand awareness, the company uses logos and other types of identity media. Porsche’s museum in Stuttgart is intensively promoted of Facebook and can improve breadth dimension of the first stage, since it may evoke customer’s associations that do not usually associated with the brand, for example entertainment. The next stage is performance and imagery, which communicates brand meaning. Porsche uses various marketing communication techniques in order to create a brand image and establish the brand’s characteristics. The company strongly promote its expertise in the cars manufactuding and
advanced technological resources via managers’ speeches and various audio-visual materials. For example, a profile page’s section dedicated to 911 Carrera GTI explains and promotes advanced features that the product possesses. Such actions, without any doubt, improve the performance dimension of brand meaning. Regarding imagery dimension, Porsche attempts to meet customers’ more abstract psychological needs by communication of the brands personality, stressing on excitement, competence and sophistication dimensions. For example, audio-visual material about Porsche’s victory at Daytona sends the message of the product’s success and, thus, competence. The company attempts to establish excitement features of its brand personality by creating a daring and imaginative design of its products. Porsche also relies on the history and heritage of the brand, by posting pictures and inside information of restored classic models, subsequently, creating a sophistication dimension the brand personality. Brand responses are the next stage of the pyramid. The results suggest that Porsche marketing communication on Facebook attempt to create positive attitude formation and favourable decisionmaking. Various campaign that stress how Porsche products are of the highest quality, such as interviews with designers and engineers, reinforce judgements regarding the quality, credibility, consideration and superiority of the company’s brand. The virtual reality technique, a type of interactive marketing represented by the ability to create your own virtual Porsche car on Facebook, contributes to the creation of impactful experimental and enduring feelings, such as excitement and fun. In addition, the social scope of Facebook may potentially contribute to self-approval during conversation, contests, etc. The final stage of the pyramid is brand resonance, which focuses on the relationship and the level of personal identification that the consumer has with the brand. The analysis has found that Porsche is very effective and successful in creating loyalty, attitudinal attachment, sense of community and active engagement of its customers. Porsche family tree is an outstanding example of techniques for reaching brand response. Porsche created a special section on Facebook, where customers, employees, racers and collectors have an ability to post a picture of their car and write their own story of engagement with the brand’s products. Another example is the contest for the best design created by consumers. This is pure example of customer’s attitudinal attachment, active engagement and sense of community with the brand. Overall, Porsche marketing communications are directed on building a strong brand, contributing to each stage of the brand resonance pyramid. The achievement of the highest level of the pyramid is indicated by the fact that consumers become actively interactive with the brand and share their experiences with others.
A deep analysis of six luxury companies suggests that IMC approach in marketing communications have a potential to improve each stage towards building strong brands.
Communications on social media platform improves brand awareness in all cases. Findings about the difference exists in the choice of marketing communications when product types compared proved to be a case in branding strategy. Namely companies contribute to different stages of branding with different choice of marketing communication mix depending on the nature of product. Luxury fashion companies stresses more on emotional aspects of brand communication, such as imagery and feelings, while car companies emphasize performance of its product in marketing communications adopted on Facebook. Jewellery companies design their marketing communications towards improving imagery and encouraging positive feelings, however sub-dimensions of performance part, like quality characteristics, reliability, durability, etc. of the products, are also intensively communicated. However, the extent of which the choice of marketing communications affect brand resonance does not depend on product type. Interestingly, the case of BMW showed that the strongest relationships between a brand and customers could also be achieved by the completely differentiated approach towards brand communication. It is important to mention, that the reader should not forget that this implications applied to social media only in this case.
5. Conclusion and Suggestions for Future research
This study was initiated with several goals in mind. First of all, in response to fast growth of social media and its impact on the way people communicate; I wanted to find whether social media play a role in marketing management. In doing so, this study proposed a new way of approaching towards marketing communication strategy, presenting an exploratory empirical analysis of the practical adoption of social media for communication in luxury industry. The results support the idea all types of traditional marketing communications possible to perform on social media, signalling strong position of the advertising techniques and the growing trend of the usage of world-of-mouth and interactive marketing types of communications. A related goal was to answer Grove’s, Carlson’s and Dorsch’s (2007) for analysis of IMC’s utilization at product type level. In general, the analysis discovered that choice of marketing communication approaches on social media is influenced by the type of product luxury companies promoted. Third goal was to investigate the potential contribution of marketing communications on brand equity. Despite of signs that carefully tailored marketing communication mix should be adopted in order to build strong brand relationships, an extremely differentiated approach towards brand building showed to be a case of effective brand building. Future research could include a conceptualization of social media marketing, presenting a more detailed framework of social media marketing communications. Another proposal could be to analyse the greater sample and/or focus on the other industry. It would be interesting to investigate brand resonance pyramid from a customer’s perspective, analysing consumer behaviour with respect to marketing communications on social media. Also the theory of content analysis could be extended towards more detailed instructions of coding and evaluating user-generated content. I hope that this investigation will assist academics in further research and advice practitioners on design and management marketing communications and branding strategies. This study could also be seen as a practical tool for market research and an industry analysis. In conclusion, social media is very popular nowadays and it could not be ignored, thus traditional marketing theory could help in managing marketing communications, even in a very sophisticated industry.
Appendix 1: Code Book
Advertising 1. Picture ads pictures that intended to persuade an audience to purchase or take some actions upon products, ideas, or services. 2. Video ads the official commercials posted on branded profile pages on Facebook. 3. Booklets and brochures 4. Audio- visual material (4) any other videos related to brand 5. Logos and symbols (5) a graphic mark or emblem to promote instant public recognition. Sales Promotions 6. Contest any calls for consumers to submit an entry to be examined by the company, subsequently to select the best one 7. Lotteries an organized game in which the distribution of prizes depends on random choice 8. Fairs/Trade shows any form of shows or conventions organized by industry associations. 9. Entertainment any form of entertaining actions that have a potential to promote greater purchase 10. Gifts and premium merchandize offered for free or at very low cost. 11. Coupon certificate that allows to save on the purchase of a product. 12. Continuity programAn ongoing promotion to attract and retain customers, i.e. “become a member and receive latest news and offerings” Events & Experience 13. Art events any form of event organized by the company that presents form of human expression, like painting, music, photography, etc. 14. Festivals an organized event by the company, which centres on unique aspect. 15. Entertainment Events any other organized events that will reach target public. 16. Sport events company’s organization or participation in sport events. 17. Social causes events an event organised to express commitment on social causes. 18. Company museums an institution created by the company. 19. Factory Tours an organised tour to the company’s production facilities. 20. Street Activities an outdoor event organised by the company.
Public relations 21. Sponsorship sponsoring sports and cultural events and highly regarded causes. 22. Events special events, like news conferences, seminars, exhibits, etc. that will reach target audience. 23. Identity media the company’s visual identity, like logos, stationary, brochures, etc., presented to the public. 24. Publications published materials by the company, like magazines, newsletter etc. 25. News favourable news about the company published on mass media. 26. Corporate Values communication information on the company’s core values 27. Speeches talks given by the company’s representatives 28. Public Service Activities an attempt to build goodwill by contributing money and time to good causes Direct Marketing 29. Catalogues the company’s full-line merchandise catalogue. 30. Subscribe promotion via email or sms direct invitation for receiving information about the company. 31. Online shopping experience direct link to purchase products on the company’s website. Personal Selling 32. Sales meeting conversations between the company and customers about the business and its products and services, ex. Discussions/ answering questions 33. Sales presentation promotion of the sales presentations (online and offline) 34. Fair and Trade shows any form of shows or conventions organized by industry associations. Word Of Mouth (Ryu G. and L. Feick, 2007) 36. Does company encourage fans to share company-developed products and services or audio, video, or written with others online? (viral marketing) 37. Does company publish brand-related information through unexpected or even outrageous means? (buzz marketing)
Interactive marketing (Voorveld, Neijens and Smith, 2010) 38. Conventional devices promotion of Branded applications with mobile devices. iphone, ipad, etc.
39. Podcasts a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over Internet. 40. Virtual reality a function that permits consumers to virtually "feel or experience" of the product. 41. Software download link to free download of software, e.g. music, wallpapers etc.
Appendix 2: Code sheet Code Sheet Brand's Full Display name on Facebook: Facebook Profile Page URL: Advertising 1. Picture ads 2. Video ads 3. Booklets and brochures 4. Audio- visual material 5. Logos and symbols Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes:
Sales promotions 6. Contest 7. Lotteries 8. Fairs/Trade shows 9. Entertainment 10. Gifts and premiums 11. Coupon 12. Continuity program Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes:
Events & Experience 13. Art events 14. Festivals Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes:
15. Entertainment 16. Sport Events 17. Social Causes events 18. Company museums 19. Factory tours 20. Street activities
Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No
Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes:
Public Relations 21. Sponsorship 22. Events 23. Identity media 24. Publications 25. Company magazine/news 26. Value communication 27. Speeches 28. Public service activities Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes:
Direct Marketing 29.Catalogues Y. Yes N. No Comments, if yes:
30. Subscriptions 31. Online shopping
Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No
Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes:
Personal Selling 32. Sales meetings 33. Sales presentations 34. Incentive Programs Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes:
35. Fair and trade shows
Y. Yes N. No
Comments, if yes:
World of mouth 36. Viral Marketing 37. Buzz marketing Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes:
Interactive Marketing 38. Conventional devices 39. Podcasts 40. Virtual reality 41. Software download Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Y. Yes N. No Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes: Comments, if yes:
Appendix 3: Results
LV Dior Cartier Tiffany & Co Porsche BMW
1 Fashion luxury ptoducts 100,0% Jewellery luxury ptoducts 00,0% 1 Car luxury ptoducts 80,0% Six all together 86,7% 1 1 0 1 1 4 80% 1 1 0 1 1 4 80% 1 1 0 1 1 4 80%
1 2 3 4 5 5
Picture ads Video ads Booklets and brochures Audio-visual materisal Logos and symbols Total
For Product category
1 1 1 1 1 5 100% 5
1 1 1 1 1 5 100% 5
1 1 0 1 1 4 80% 4
2 Sales Promotion
6 7 8 9 10 11 12 7
Contest Lotteries Fairs/Trade show Entertainment Gifts/Premiums Coupon Continuity Programm Total
Fashion luxury ptoducts 28,6% Jewellery luxury ptoducts28,6% Car luxury ptoducts 14,3% Six all together 23,8%
0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 28,6%
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0,0%
0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 14,3%
For Product category
1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 16,7% 2
1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 28,6% 2
0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 14,3% 1
Fashion luxury ptoducts 87,5% Jewellery luxury ptoducts37,5% Car luxury ptoducts 62,5% Six all together 62,5%
3 Events & Experience 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Art Events Festivals Entertainment Sport Events Social Causes events Company museums Factory tours Street activities
1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0
0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0
For Product category
7 88% 7
2 25% 3
4 50% 5
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 9
Sponsorship Events Identity Media Publications Company magazine/Newsletters Corporate value Communication Speeches Publica Service Activities Total
0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 5 55,6%
1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 5 55,6%
0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 22,2%
Fashion luxury ptoducts 88,9% Jewellery luxury ptoducts66,7% Car luxury ptoducts 44,4% Six all together 66,7%
For Product category 1 0 1 2 66,7% 0 0 1 1 33,3%
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 88,9% 8
1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 6 66,7% 6
0 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 4 44,4% 4
5 Direct Marketing 29 30 31 3 1 1 1 3 100,0% 5 1 1 0 2 66,7% 3
Catalogues Subscriptions Online Shopping Total
For Product category
1 0 1 2 66,7% 3
0 Fashion luxury ptoducts 83,3% 1 Jewellery luxury ptoducts50,0% 0 Car luxury ptoducts 50,0% 1 33,3% Six all together 61,1% Fashion luxury ptoducts 50,0% Jewellery luxury ptoducts50,0% Car luxury ptoducts 50,0% Six all together 50,0% 1 1 0 0 2 50,0% 0 0 0 1 1 25,0%
6 Personal Selling 32 33 34 35 4 0 1 0 0 1 25,0% 0 0 1 0 1 25,0% 2 0 0 0 0 0 0,0% 2
Sales Meetings Sales Presentations Incentive programs Fair and trade shows Total
For Product category
0 1 1 0 1 25,0% 2
36 Viral Marketing 37 Buzz Marketing 2 Total
1 0 1 50,0%
0 1 1 50,0%
For Product category
1 1 2 100,0% 2
1 0 1 50,0% 2
1 1 2 100,0% 2
1 Fashion luxury ptoducts 100,0% 0 Jewellery luxury ptoducts 00,0% 1 1 Car luxury ptoducts 100,0% 50,0% Six all together 100,0%
8 Interactive Marketing Conventional devices 38 39 Podcasts 40 Virtual reality 41 Software download 4 Total 1 0 1 0 2 50,0% 1 0 1 1 3 75,0% 1 0 0 1 2 50,0% 1 0 1 1 3 75,0% 3 1 0 1 0 2 50,0% 3 1 1 1 1 4 100,0% 4
Fashion luxury ptoducts 75,0% Jewellery luxury ptoducts75,0% Car luxury ptoducts 100,0% Six all together 83,3%
For product category
100% 100% 90% 80% LV 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 00% Sales Promo2on 100.0% 90.0% 80.0% LV 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% PR Dior Car2er Tiﬀany&Co Porsche BMW LV Dior Car2er Tiﬀany&Co Porsche BMW Dior Car2er Tiﬀany&Co Porsche BMW LV Dior Car2er Tiﬀany&Co Porsche BMW
100.0% 100.0% 90.0% LV 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% Personal Selling Dior Car2er Tiﬀany&Co Porsche BMW LV Dior Car2er Tiﬀany & Co Porsche BMW 80.0%
100% 90% 80% LV 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 00% Dior Car2er TIﬀany&Co Porsche BMW
LV Dior Car2er Tiﬀany&Co Porsche BMW
Adver2sing Adver2sing Sales Promo2on Sales promo2on Events & Experience PR PR Direct Marke2ng WOM Interac2ve Marke2ng }Total usage of marke2ng communica2ons on brand proﬁle pages on Facebook by jewellery luxury companes (Car2er and Tiﬀany)
Events & Experience Direct Marke2ng WOM Interac2ve Marke2ng
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 00%
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 00%
]Total usage of marke2ng communica2ons on Facebook by fashion luxury companies (LV and Dior)
100% Adver2sing Sales Promo2on Events & Experience PR Direct Marke2ng Personal Selling WOM Interac2ve Marke2ng
Adver2sing Sales Promo2on Events & Experience PR Direct Marke2ng Personal Selling WOM ^Total usage of marke2ng communica2ons on brand proﬁle pages on Facebook by luxury companies Interac2ve Marke2ng
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 00%
JTotal usage of marke2ng communica2ons on Facebook by car luxury ptoducts
100% 100% 90% Adver2sing 80% Adver2sing Sales Promo2on Events & Experience PR Direct Marke2ng Personal Selling WOM Interac2ve Marke2ng Dior Adver2sing Sales Promo2on Events & Experience PR Direct Marke2ng Personal Selling WOM Interac2ve Marke2ng 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Sales Promo2on Events & Experience PR Direct Marke2ng Personal Selling WOM Interac2ve Marke2ng
Adver2sing Sales Promo2on Events & Experience PR Direct Marke2ng Personal Selling WOM Interac2ve Marke2ng Porsche
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
100% Adver2sing Sales Promo2on 90% Adver2sing Sales Promo2on Events & Experience PR Direct Marke2ng Personal Selling WOM Interac2ve Marke2ng 0% Tiﬀany & Co 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Events & Experience PR Direct Marke2ng Personal Selling WOM Interac2ve Marke2ng 80%
Appendix 4: LV data
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Louis Vuitton Advertising Sales Promotion Events & Experience PR Direct Marketing Personal Selling WOM Interactive Marketing
Advertising, direct marketing and WOM techniques are all fully employed (100%). The pictures of each collection of campaigns are posted on the wall along with advertising videos in HD format. In addition to that, LV posts various audio-visual materials relating to the brand, like “behind the scene” videos. With respect to logos & symbols, each post includes the company’s name and logo, the same as the profile picture and welcome page. Posts dedicated to specific products with a description, which are considered as booklet and brochures in this study, were recorded on the branded page as well. Regarding direct marketing, the company’s product catalogues are presented on Facebook in the form of digital pictures. LV also allows users to experience online shopping straight from the profile page. Subscription to the news updates via email and SMS are available on the company’s page. Viral and buzz marketing, as WOM techniques, are represented with various polls, friend invitation options and “City Guide” weekly updates about various places in the world. LV promotes various events & experiences very intensively (88%). Sport events, sponsored by LV, are promoted on the profile page with news updates, invitations, pictures, interviews, etc. The Louis Vuitton Trophy WSTA is an annual event sponsored by the company, creating an effective brand promotion across the world. LV also supported the FIFA World Cup 2010, dedicating an exclusive products collection for the event. “The art of travel” is an incentive to create pieces of art by fans on Facebook, which is an example of art events on a social media platform. Fashion shows are an integral part of any fashion brand promotion, and today’s new technologies allow companies to create live streaming videos posted directly on the profile page, so that people around the world can have a “front row”
experience. LV fashion shows are a common technique used by the company to communicate with customers. This study coded fashion shows as festivals. Other entertainment events are promoted on the branded profile pages, i.e. “Africa Rising” workshop in Paris and Vogue fashion night out entertainment event. Escape culturel Louis Vuitton is the company’s museum, actively promoted on Facebook with news about upcoming exhibitions and supported pictures. LV is committed to social causes, organising dedicated events, such as the Red Cross auction, with donations from online sales. Finally, the development of the location-based social network Foursquare allows LV to promote various street activities on social media, such as the London Foursquare campaign on Bond Street. Interactivity is an integral part of social media. LV embraces interactive marketing on branded profile pages in the form of promotion of applications for conventional devices, like the iPad and iPhone, and the ability to download software (wallpapers, music, etc.) straight from Facebook. In addition, a major part of interactive marketing communication techniques is dedicated to virtual reality. For example, there is an application that allows users to personalise a product (a bag) and order it online. Another application allows users to participate in live discussion with other viewers of a live streaming fashion show. Also, 360 degree photos of new collections are available as soon as they are released. A lower frequency of PR techniques recorded on the branded profile page is used by LV. (66.7%). The company heavily promotes publications in the news, like the CNN article about LV. Corporate company news and newsletters are posted on Facebook, along with speeches by company spokespersons; for instance, Yves Carcelle, chairman and CEO of LV, talked about Thorphy event in Dubai and Patrick Louis Vuitton promoted LV’s objects from the heritage collection. LV is highly concerned with the company’s core values communication, which was identified in the form of “Journey” campaigns dedicated to the exceptional travel experience and environmental concerns (http://www.louisvuittonjourneys.com/). The company uses only 25% of sales promotion and 25% personal selling techniques on its Facebook profile page. LV encourages fans to participate in contests, which could be online or offline. For example, the “Your definition of a journey” contest required users to create a video and the winner’s video was awarded in a dedicated event and published online.
Appendix 5: Dior data
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Dior Advertising Sales Promotion Events & Experience PR Direct Marketing Personal Selling WOM Interactive Marketing
Advertising techniques are the most common methods of communication that the company uses (80%). There are thematic photo albums with picture ads, like beautiful La Rose Dior with pictures of products with roses. In addition, two thirds of the profile page itself are the most recent advertising picture, while the other third is the logo. Dior uses various direct marketing techniques as part of the IMC approach of marketing communications (67%). The very interactive welcome page has a dedicated section to the product catalogue, and the online shopping experience is also promoted on a number of posts on the wall. There are no kinds of subscription to the company notifications found on the page. A lower frequency of PR techniques was recorded on Dior’s Facebook page (56%). Dior presents the speeches of the company’s stakeholders, such as the speech by Sidney Toledano at the collection fashion show. Events organised by the company are promoted using the PR type of marketing communications. An example is “Ball of the century” organised by Christian Dior. Corporate values are not communicated very intensively, but soon after the dismissal of the company creative director (see earlier), a digital document explaining the company’s values in different languages was published on Facebook. WOM and interactive marketing modes are employed at 50% only. An interactive quiz, which is considered to be a viral marketing technique in this study, is intensively promoted on Facebook. A new application for conventional devices like the iPad and iPhone was launched recently and was presented officially on the company profile page. Very interactive catalogues with 360 degree views of products were recorded as a virtual reality technique during the data collection phase. 29% of sales promotions was found on Dior’s Facebook page. The “Ball” that was previously mentioned is also considered as entertainment as well as being partly a sales promotion
technique. Events & experience and personal selling techniques are only employed at 25%. The company museum is mentioned in several posts on the profile page, as are fashion shows, which were coded as festivals, and these serve as examples of the events & experience technique founded in this research. Dior promotes sales presentations on Facebook – for example, some posts promote new product launches in selected boutiques, like in the case of the “Gris Montaigne” collection launched in a boutique in New York and London.
Appendix 6: Cartier data
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Cartier Advertising Sales Promotion Events & Experience PR Direct Marketing Personal Selling WOM Interactive Marketing
Advertising is fully employed by the company (100%). Cartier has a slightly different approach to advertising. Compared to fashion luxury companies who approach advertising by posting a lot of picture ads, Cartier rather focuses on official video ads, the same as those playing in the boutiques. Highly interactive booklets are available on the page, together with logos in each post. This explains why traditional methods of communication suit this product type more than innovative techniques. Investigation of PR and direct marketing techniques resulted in 67% in both cases. Cartier sponsors the Women’s Initiative Award and intensively promotes it on Facebook. Another interesting example of Cartier’s PR is the publications regarding the company’s activity, such as the presentation of its major creations at Salon International Haute Hologerie (SIHH) in Geneva. In addition, Cartier’s participation in “Biennale des Antiquaires” is regarded as a PR tool. A highly interactive catalogue of products with detailed information as well as incentives relating to the company’s news subscription is treated as an example of the company’s direct marketing techniques. The company employs only 50% of the newest channels of communications, WOM and interactive marketing. Straight from the landing welcome page, Cartier encourages users to invite friends, which serves as an example of a viral marketing technique
that promotes WOM. An application for conventional devices like the iPad is also promoted on Facebook. Another example of interactive marketing communication is the highly elaborated section that transfers a viewer in a separate page in the Internet presenting navigational pictures and information on the company’s products. Sales promotion techniques are employed at 29% only. Participation in Biennale is viewed as a fair and trade show type of event, capable of attracting greater purchases. Cartier uses only 25% of the events & experience techniques to communicate with customers. The company is very keen on organising various art events, such as Foundation Cartier pour l’Art, and organising different exhibitions. Personal selling techniques were not found on Cartier’s Facebook profile page.
Appendix 7: Tiffany & Co data
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Tiffany & Co Personal Selling WOM Interactive Marketing Advertising Sales Promotion Events & Experience PR Direct Marketing
Advertising is the mode most employed by the company on Facebook (80%). As was the case with the other jewellery company, Cartier, in the sample, the nature of the product encourages this traditional way of communicating. The content analysis reveals picture ads, video ads and frequent usage of the logo. A slightly lower percentage of interactive marketing was discovered on Tiffany & Co’s profile page on Facebook (75%). The interactive catalogue, presented as virtual reality, is effectively employed by the company as an example of an interactive marketing technique. Tiffany & Co also communicates with the audience via PR techniques on Facebook (56%). Constant news updates related to the brand, like celebrities wearing the company’s products, and sponsorship, like supporting the young musicians organization, are examples of PR techniques promoted on Facebook. Personal selling and WOM modes are employed at a rate of 50% in both cases. Tiffany & Co is very keen on embracing personal selling, having 193(!) discussion topics, making it the leader
among all six cases. A very interesting method of buzz marketing is used whereby new visitors are not allowed to browse the company page without clicking the “like” button. The company uses only 38% of events & experience techniques promoted on the social media platform. The most famous ice skating event organised by Tiffany & Co, which traditionally happens in December, is actively promoted on Facebook. The analysis found that 33% of the direct marketing techniques are actually employed on the Facebook page. For example, viewers can experience online shopping directly on the Facebook profile page.
Appendix 8: BMW data
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% BMW Advertising Sales Promotion Events & Experience PR Direct Marketing Personal Selling WOM Interactive Marketing
BMW employs 80% of advertising techniques on Facebook. The most common techniques discovered are big picture ads, video ads and company-related audio-visual material. Significantly, BMW uses less WOM and interactive marketing (50% in each case). Viral marketing is the most popular technique observed on the branded profile page – for example, the landing page encourages users to invites friends to the page. As for interactive marketing, a branded application for conventional devices is available to download as well as various entertainment software downloads like videos from BMW TV, a dedicated brandbroadcasting channel. Even lower usage of events & experience techniques were discovered during the content analysis (38%). For example, several posts mentioned the company museum in Munich and the organisation of sport events, such as golf. Promotion of subscription on the branded profile page is an example of a direct marketing technique that was recorded. This mode appears to be employed at a percentage of 33% only. Low numbers of personal selling and PR techniques (25% and 23% accordingly) were discovered on Facebook. An intensive usage of identity media, such as the appearance of the company’s logo in every update posted by BMW, and a few videos with the company
stakeholders’ speeches, are examples of PR techniques employed on the branded profile page. Only 14% of sales promotion, represented only by traditional car and motor shows, was recorded during the research.
Appendix 9: Porsche data
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Porsche
Advertising Sales Promotion Events & Experience PR Direct Marketing Personal Selling WOM Interactive Marketing
Modern ways of communications like WOM and Interactive marketing are fully employed (100%). Porsche encourage to share information with friends, promoting viral marketing this way. Also interesting and unusual facts about company’s products seems to create buzz around it, thus encouraging WOM further. As for example of Interactive marketing techniques, Porsche promotes specially designed applications for conventional devices, like iPhone and iPad, straight on the landing page. Very impressive virtual reality techniques, like virtual tours around auto shows and the company’s museum, were discovered during analysis. In addition, various software is available to download for free. Slightly less, but still a lot, techniques of traditional way of advertising employed on Facebook profile page (80%). Very interactive landing page presents pictures ads of company products as well as dedicated section to various audio-visual materials. The company’s logo is very noticeable at any part of the branded page. Porsche promotes various Direct Marketing techniques very intensively also (67%). For example interactive catalogue of the company’s products is promoted on the landing page. In addition, online shopping for Porsche accessorises is available straight from social media platform. Only half (50%) of Events & Experience techniques are employed on the branded profile page. Videos posted from various races, cups and championships where the company products were involved intensively promoted on Facebook Porsche company museum is traditional way of communication via Events & Experience. Porsche uses a bit lower frequency of PR techniques as recorded on branded profile page (44%). Identity media, like the company logo, is frequently used on Facebook.
Porsche created a buzz about reaching 1000000 subscribers on Facebook, corporate website and mass media, as an example of PR publications. Personal Selling mode of marketing communications represented by 25% of usage was discovered on Facebook. Interactive map of the company’s dealer locations worldwide was coded as sales meetings. Promotion of Porsche participation in various trade shows, like auto shows, was recorded on the branded profile page. Finally, only 14% of Sales Promotion techniques is used by the company on social media platform. Again the company participation in trade shows has a potential to encourage greater and faster purchase.
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