How to Solve the Conflict Between the Exclusivity Paradigm of Luxury Brands and the Open Source Character of Social Media Part 2

Based on the previous discussion about and comparison of the two concepts of exclusivity paradigm and the open source character of social media, the maintenance of exclusivity while opening their communication to millions of users emerged as main challenge for luxury marketers. As mentioned before, luxury marketers have pursued a very exclusive communication strategy targeting their consumers directly. By using social media this exclusive communication and targeting is watered down. This development is one of the most significant paradigm shifts within their history (Costa and Handley, 2011). Now every user can communicate on the brand publically. 

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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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