The impact of social media on customer communication and modern day marketing

The 21st century has been characterized by various developments, shifts and changes worldwide. Many of these shifts and changes, especially within a marketing context, have been fuelled by the nowadays omnipresent Internet and all the platforms and tools found within.  Businesses need to adapt their ways of interaction with their customers and clients. Here fore, several authors offer several approaches on which path to take in order to maximize the potential offered by the World Wide Web.

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The era of social training

It is widely known that sports are the most popular hobbies people cultivate around the world, jogging, golfing, cycling, swimming, surfing, triathlon and hundreds of other sports are practiced by ordinary people whose profiles vary as much as the modalities practiced. This leads to electronic gadgets, social media and the Web 2.0 that are transforming the landscape of the “weekend enthusiast” by empowering and connecting people from all around the world. 

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How to Solve the Conflict Between the Exclusivity Paradigm of Luxury Brands and the Open Source Character of Social Media Part 1

Social media has significantly restructured the communication of companies - influencing organizations, the consumer and brands all around. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram together register more than 2.7 billion active users who spend an average of 2.4 hours daily on these platforms (Adweek, 2014). This corresponds to 39% of the world’s population – illustrating the immense power of online users. Consumers are no longer search for information passively; they actively create content and moderate discussions on brands (Hanna et al., 2011). Nowadays, we are living in an era where corporate communication is democratized as the power over communication has shifted from organizations to consumers (Kietzmann et al., 2011). Brands had to realize that online branding is an open source activity controlled by the customer rather than by brand managers (Fournier & Avery, 2011). Posing simultaneously both an opportunity and a threat, this consumer empowerment has a significant impact on how industries operate – the luxury industry being no exception (Dubois, 2014). Due to the enormous increase of online users, digital marketing and especially social marketing has become a mandatory element for every company (Hanna et al., 2011). But why have especially luxury brands struggled so long to invest in social media?

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Your Brand under Attack: Negative electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM) and online Firestorms in Social Media Part 2

Although the importance of this topic seems to be extremely high, research is still in its infancy. There is a wide variety of academic articles available that describe the changing paradigm of word-of-mouth, yet there is only limited literature available that examines how brands can deal with negative electronic word-of-mouth and online firestorms within the social media context. This may be connected to the fact that its emergence, its development and its consequences happened in a rather short period of time. However, from popular press articles, Thomas et al. (2012) gathered and analyzed a variety of company examples. Thereby, they identified five general coping strategies, delay, respond, partner, legal action, and censorship, which will be illustrated with cases below. 

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Your Brand under Attack: Negative electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM) and online Firestorms in Social Media Part 1

In 2012, just 39 cents were enough to trigger an ‘online firestorm’ that broke over McDonald's Germany. What happened was that the leading fast-food brand had raised the price of its cheeseburger by exactly that amount. As a consequence, many consumers expressed their unhappiness about the price increase by communicating their displeasure on McDonald’s Facebook wall (Frickel, 2012). This in itself does not seem to be unusual within the highly-connected online world in which many companies manage their own social media presences and respond to or interact with consumers. However, it becomes unusual if the number of ‘likes’ and comments on one critical social media comment rise to exorbitant levels. Within 48 hours 81,000 users clicked on the ‘like’-button and 6,800 users commented. The company responded one day later and announced that the price for the cheeseburger would not be raised in most restaurants (Frickel, 2012).

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