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The proposed review aims at studying the current market situation, establishing the opportunities and the behavioural patterns of the target group, and preparing for an effective online marketing strategy for Zankyou’s Dutch website. To achieve this purpose, thirteen scholarly articles from peer-reviewed journals have been analyzed. All sources are related to digital marketing and branding with social media. The literature review shall assist in further defining the focus of the research and setting up a relevant hypothesis.
The reviewed research papers focus on branding, its interrelation with social media marketing and communities, and the creation of value and trust with the help of efficient marketing strategies. However, each article has a specific subject of studying the phenomenon of branding, and the authors choose different methods of investigation.
Online Marketing and Online Branding
Erdem, Keller, Kuksov, and Pieters (2016) remark that the emerging social media present a challenge to the ways of conceptualization and management of brands. Thus, the authors dedicate their article to understanding branding in a digitally qualified environment. Erdem et al. (2016) provide research on the articles dedicated to the most current branding issues. They divide the contributions of the modern studies of branding into such types: online client surveys and client preferences, cooperation between brand and social media, active presence in brand society, social media in critical situations, authorized cause marketing and its reverse activities, and value creation in branding (Erdem et al., 2016). Davis, Piven, and Breazeale (2014) agree with Erdem et al.’s (2016) opinion about social media being a challenge to conceptualization.
Moreover, Davis et al. (2014) propose a Five Sources Model which explains the basic drivers of satisfying online branding demands. The model incorporates the following components: social, emotional, relational, functional, and self-oriented (David et al., 2014). On the contrary to Erdem et al. (2016), Gao and Feng (2016) argue that the process of online branding can be enhanced via social media. These authors investigate the impact of various social media on branding strategies. As a result of the analysis, Gao and Feng (2016) identify five implications of social media gratifications: self-expression, search for information, social communication, entertainment, and impression management.
MacInnis and Folkes (2016) and Sprott and Liu (2016) focus on psychological approaches to branding and its humanizing. MacInnis and Folkes (2016) differentiate three areas of humanizing brands: anthropomorphism, a self-focused aspect, and a relationship-focused aspect. Sprott and Liu (2016) emphasize the significance of studying branding as it is the symbol of a company within the customers’ perception.
Online Decision Making
An investigation by Habibi, Laroche, and Richard (2016) is focused on the impact of online strategies on brand communities. The authors test a model of consumer behaviour which demonstrates how people’s online decisions are connected with the brand community markers and features, and how brand loyalty and quality are dependent on these issues (Habibi et al., 2016). Habibi et al. (2016) emphasize the growing influence of online communication on marketing strategies. The authors remark that the novelties in technology encourage changes in online consumer behaviour which have to be closely followed and analyzed to bring profit to the product producing organizations.
Roscoe, Grebitus, O’Brian, Johnson, and Kula (2016) investigate the impact of integrated web search on the customers’ shopping choices. The authors performed an experiment which involved three stages: initial decision, Internet search, and post-search decision. As a result of the experiment, Roscoe et al. (2016) concluded that people’s decisions about their buying choices were greatly dependent on online information search. Kannan and Li (2016) support Roscoe et al.’s (2016) opinion on the importance of the online search for the customers’ decision making. The authors argue that digital technologies have the power to alter the environment and impact people’s choices. Kannan and Li (2016) conclude that access to online technologies can change consumer behaviour. Additionally, Kannan and Li (2016) investigate the influence of online technologies on such important aspects as consumer value, consumer equity, and company value.
Social Media Strategies
Several of the reviewed articles are focused on social media marketing and its strategies. Felix, Rauschnabel, and Hinsch (2017) consider social media marketing an essential constituent of current business strategies. The authors suggest a strategic framework which includes four elements of social media marketing: scope, culture, structure, and governance. Each of these dimensions has two extremities. However, Felix et al. (2017) remark that every company strives to choose a medium position in each constituent part. The research of Hamilton, Kaltcheva, and Rohm (2016) also studies social media, but these authors focus on the impact of social media on three kinds of customer value. Hamilton et al. (2016) define these types as customer lifetime, influence, and knowledge value. The authors delineate three social media strategies which can raise customer satisfaction: immersion-only, satisfaction-only, and the combination of the two strategies (Hamilton et al., 2016).
Habibi et al. (2014) emphasize the interconnection between social media and brand communities. The authors define social media as a perfect environment for establishing brand communities. Habibi et al. (2014) design a model which shows the influence of such communities on brand trust. The relationships between consumers and brands, consumers and products, and consumers and companies were proven to impact brand trust beneficially. The authors conclude that brand communities based on social media are significant factors which enhance the understanding of the markets’ processes and outcomes (Habibi et al., 2014).
The investigations by Fu, Wu, and Cho (2017) and Nisar and Whitehead (2016) are focused on the issue of reaching customer trust and loyalty via social media strategies. Fu et al. (2017) examine Facebook users’ activity and notice that Facebook should not be treated merely as a social media website. The authors focus on the psychological reasons for the users’ willingness to share their information. Also, Fu et al. (2017) study how customers’ social determination impacts the outcomes of the motives. With the help of quantitative and qualitative methods, the authors conclude that Facebook users’ motive for information sharing is impacted by personal interest and communal determinant. Fu et al. (2017) note that knowledge about these incentives can be rather advantageous for brand marketers.
The connection between user loyalty, social media, and brands is the subject of investigation of Nisar and Whitehead (2016). The authors emphasize that loyalty can be gained via social media in different ways, and customers follow the brand’s pages for a variety of reasons. Nisar and Whitehead (2016) demonstrate that customer loyalty has a beneficial impact on customer satisfaction as well as on brands.
The literature review has outlined the most widely investigated topics in the area of branding and social media. The scholars pay attention to online marketing and branding (Erdem et al., 2016; Davis et al., 2016; Gao & Feng, 2016; MacInnis & Folkes, 2016; Sprott & Liu, 2016), they study the importance of online decision making (Habibi et al., 2016; Kanna & Li, 2016; Roscoe et al., 2016), and examine the significance of social media strategies (Habibi et al., 2014; Hamilton et al., 2016; Felix et al., 2017; Fu et al., 2017; Nisar & Whitehead, 2016). The main outcomes of the articles are concerned with the interconnection between social media strategies, customer decision making, and marketing techniques—online communications influences customers’ choices, which leads to forming brand communities. The communities, in their turn, have the power to explain marketing techniques. The performed literature review enables to understand the core trends in current research studies dedicated to online marketing, branding, and social media.
Davis R., Piven, I., & Breazeale, N. (2014). Conceptualizing the brand in social media community: The five sources model. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 21(4), 468-481.
Erdem, T., Keller, K. L., Kuksov, D., & Pieters, R. (2016). Understanding branding in a digitally empowered world. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 33(1), 3-10.
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Felix, R., Rauschnabel, P. A., & Hinsch, C. (2017). Elements of strategic social media marketing: A holistic framework. Journal of Business Research, 70, 118-126.
Fu, P.-W., Wu, C. C., & Cho, Y.-J. (2017). What makes users share content on Facebook? Compatibility among psychological incentive, social capital focus, and content type. Computers in Human Behavior, 67, 23-32.
Gao, Q., & Feng, C. (2016). Branding with social media: User gratifications, usage patterns, and brand message content strategies. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 868-890.
Habibi, M. R., Laroche, M., & Richard, M.-O. (2014). The roles of brand community and community engagement in building brand trust on social media. Computers in Human Behavior, 37, 152-161.
Habibi, M. R., Laroche, M., & Richard, M.-O. (2016). Testing an extended model of consumer behavior in the context of social media-based brand communities. Computers in Human Behavior, 62, 292-302.
Hamilton, M., Kaltcheva, V. D., & Rohm, A. J. (2016). Social media and value creation: The role of interaction satisfaction and interaction immersion. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 36, 121-133.
Kannan, P.K., & Li, H. A. (2016). Digital marketing: A framework, review and research agenda. International Journal of Research in Marketing. Web.
MacInnis, D. J., & Folkes, V. S. (2016). Humanizing brands: when brands seem to be like me, part of me, and in a relationship with me. Journal of Consumer Psychology. Web.
Nisar, T. M., & Whitehead, C. (2016). Brand interactions and social media: Enhancing user loyalty through social networking sites. Computers in Human Behavior, 62, 743-753.
Roscoe, R. D., Grebitus, C., O’Brian, J., Johnson, A. C., & Kula, I. (2016). Online information search and decision making: Effects of web search stance. Computers in Human Behavior, 56,103-118.
Sprott, D. E., & Liu, R. L. (2016). Research trends on branding in consumer psychology. Current Opinions on Psychology, 10, 124-128.