Social media provide organisations with an unprecedented opportunity to create experiences for consumers. Organisations and brands are increasingly interested in engaging online brand communities because of their potential to co-create brand value. The exponential growth in social media sites has compelled brands to engage collaboratively, and to develop responsive, interactive relationships with brand communities and stakeholders. However, these relationships can in practice become quite treacherous as brands experience changing communication models that shift power of voice away from the brand towards brand consumers. While collaborative networking can assist in building brand reputations, expressive networking can just as easily destroy it. Brand managers are thus faced with numerous challenges when managing the online brand risks that are created through the dissemination of User Generated Content. It is against this background that this issue of Communicare engages with brand experiences, particularly those that are co-created in the digital brand space.
Embodied cognition provides the epistemological means from which new insights into haptic sensations can be explored within the field of consumer psychology. Extant research has shown that incidental haptic sensations can, nonconsciously, influence the judgement of objects that are non-diagnostic (unrelated) for the actual qualities of the item being judged; this would include the perception customers have of products. The application of this conception to the use of selfreport questionnaires in consumer research lead to the hypothesis that the haptic experience of a self-report questionnaire (weight and firmness of the paper) could, nonconsciously, trigger physically grounded mental frameworks. In turn, this could lead consumers to form stronger product judgments when encountering an incidental, tactile experience of strength (firmness) in a self-report questionnaire. In two experiments (N = 178 and N = 128) evidence was found to support this hypothesis. Implications of the findings and future research directions are discussed.
Marketing communication practitioners lack a guideline for implementing social media strategically. In the light of this, the authors of this article explored the strategic implementation of social media within a marketing communication context. A grounded theory process was firstly followed in order to compile a list of social media messaging categories. This list was then paired with the disciplines of the marketing communication mix, based on their inherent similarities. To demonstrate the practical relevance of the pairings thereafter, the authors followed a process of action research as a way of analysing an organisation’s existing social media messaging plan, referencing the strategic considerations that the pairing process inferred. By doing so, the authors established that the pairing and action research process explored could be used as a strategic guideline for social media managers to improve the degree to which an organisation’s social media messaging is conducive to the reaching of specific marketing communication objectives.
Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. However, in recent years, he has faced serious resistance from ordinary citizens. This article examines subversive internet memes that were created by ordinary Zimbabweans and posted on social media in the aftermath of Robert Mugabe’s collapse at the Harare International airport on 4 February 2015. Firstly, the study reads internet memes of the Mugabe fall as forms of resistance to the regime. Secondly, it interrogates the methods that internet memes use to challenge official discourse. Thirdly, the study critically analyses the various ways in which internet meme creators imagine and represent Zimbabwe under the Mugabe regime. The article argues that internet memes of the “Mugabe fall” express subversive views that undermine the regime through humour, exaggeration, satire and other stylistic devices. Internet memes present an alternative discourse that counters the official narrative promoted by the regime.
Communicating reputation to stakeholders and assessing whether these messages have been received favourably are essential components of organisations’ overall communication strategies. These actions are, however, becoming increasingly difficult to execute as a result of sophisticated stakeholder expectations as well as notions of continuous stakeholder participation and engagement on social networking sites (SNSs) by means of the co-creation of communication content. This research proposes a new conceptual framework for reputation management on SNSs that aims to address these issues. The framework is essentially based on the utilisation of computer-aided qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) such as Leximancer and Centim in the reputation management process. Based on the findings, it is suggested that CAQDAS enables reputation managers to accurately measure stakeholder sentiment, identify prevalent stakeholder discourses pertaining to organisational communication disseminated on SNSs, and detect threats that could damage corporate reputation.