Impact of Social Media Marketing on Brand Awareness & Brand Image
IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING ON BRAND AWARENESS & BRAND IMAGE
Marketing is all about engaging with your target audience in order to share and convey information regarding products/services which are about to be introduced. Nowadays, due to increased globalization of market and dynamic market environment has confirmed the dependence on internet for the facilitation of this phenomenon. Sometimes back many companies utilized traditional media for advertising and marketing purposes but currently companies have extended their online presence by integrating various social media sites as their marketing strategies. This is an important step for marketers because they should have the ability to tap their target audience through those communication medium which are mostly used by their target audience. Brand Awareness and Brand Image are considered vital variables influencing customer’s impression about that brand. Our study concentrates on integrating which among these two dimensions, brand awareness and brand image is affected by social media marketing in Pakistani context. This was based on a research model with two hypotheses. Moreover, an empirical study was conducted by distributing 200 questionnaires to the required respondents, working women of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, covering all major profession constituting of teachers , medical consultants and corporate officials. Furthermore, SPSS was used to analyze the based descriptive and ANOVA analysis to determine the group differences with respect to brand awareness and brand image of three brands, Sapphire Clothing,Charizma Lawn and Almas .It was found out that brands which are active on social media tends to create more awareness regarding their brands as opposed to passive brands whereas, social media marketing is not able to enhance brand image in customers mind.
Keywords: Social media marketing ,brand awareness, brand image.
Social media marketing is an internet marketing through which many brands communicate their branding mission and vision with the help of different online applications (Saravanakumar and Suganthalakshmi, 2012). The message conveyed can be in form of pictures, videos and blogs through different social sites consisting of Facebook, LinkedIn and my space for marketing purposes (Neti, 2011). Since marketing is all about engaging with your target audience to pass the information about product or service you are about to introduce which would ultimately increases revenue generation and profitability (Srivastava, Sherwani and Fahey, 1998).
Few years back social media marketing was an evolving phenomenon and it was a common perception that if it is a good brand (whether it is a product or service) then it does not need to be advertised or marketers do not need to convince consumers to buy a specific product/service. According toSaravanakumar and Suganthalakshmi (2012) nowadays social conversation is becoming the most powerful form of communication because marketers themselves interact with the target audience and inform consumers about product/service details and add value to consumer’s experience.
Most of the studies which had been done in Sweden are related to the technical aspects of brand management with the help of social media marketing. Secondly, despite of having a vast knowledge base about social media marketing and its benefits and many other related aspects there is no such study being carried out in Pakistan. Moreover, there are some studies which are focused on social media marketing used by Business to Consumer companies of luxury brands but no research is done on identifying the impact of social media marketing on the brand awareness of medium range brands.
Our study aims to identify the factors related to internet marketing which fosters brand awareness among people. Secondly , to determine ways with the help of which Pakistani companies can engage with their customers through internet marketing paving way for brand awareness and positioning their brand in the mind of consumers.
According to Jahn and Kunz (2012) social media is way to connect with customer by using various online services so that business entities and customers are engaged through online plat form communication e.g. Facebook, Instagram and many more. Internet media makes way for a business entity to communicate information with respect to their product or services with millions of people at one time Mangold and Faulds (2009).
According to Neti (2011), “Social Media marketing consists of the attempt to use social media to persuade consumers that one’s company, products or services are worthwhile.”
According to Rossiter and Percy (1987), “Brand Awareness is the consumer’s ability to identify the brand under different conditions.”
Social Media Marketing and Brand Awareness
Researchers suggest that social media marketing isan internet based marketing through which products and services are advertised through various online channels of social media so that customers are fully engaged with that particular business (Saravanakumar and Suganthalakshami, 2012). The same authors state that with the advent of social media many businesses have strengthened their communication with the consumers and are providing them maximum information about their particular brand whether it is a product or service. This paves way for building trust and association with that brand. Nowadays, majority of people use social media of which used on daily basis constitutes of Facebook, Snap chat and Instagram. The successful marketers are the ones which analyze the consumers with respect to their needs or preferences and then advertise their brand accordingly so that it results in a successful outcome (Hutter, Haultz,Dennhardt and Fuller, 2013).Moreover, Brands which apart from analyzing customers on the basis of their needs and preferences interact as well with customers on daily basis to induce friendly and affectionate terms with them with an aim to have desire for that brand (Kim and Ko, 2011).
According to Armelini and Villanueva (2011) a study was being conducted in America with an aim to determine the result of advertising a movie on social media boosts its presence or awareness among people and their findings showed that advertising a movie on social media or investing more on social media for advertising purposes results in more awareness for that movie.
Hutter, Haultz, Dennhardt and Fuller (2013) conducted a study with the help of a car manufacturing brand , MINI. It aimed to see the relationship of strong social media marketing with brand awareness.. The outcome of this study revealed a positive relation among social media marketing and brand awareness of that particular product. The more a brand advertises themselves through online platforms the more consumers are exposed to that thing. To add further, Gensler,Volckner,Thompkinz and Weirtz (2013) are of view that apart from online presence of the brand, the reviews submitted by the customers also make people aware of a brand. Sometimes it is through online word of mouth people come to know about a brand to which they had not been exposed through advertising. However, every step which marketers have to take when promoting a brand online they have to be very vigilant and should keep a keen interest on the online promotional activities of competitor brands with respect to how they are attracting and making consumers aware of their brand (Kim and Ko, 2011).
Various brands engage consumers in order to convert them into customers through their Facebook or Instagram pages because majority of the people are actively using social media sites and has become very easy to know about a certain brand just by liking or clicking a link. Social media has given easy access to all the information one needs to get in order to make a purchase decision. Brands which are actively updating their online pages are in continuous efforts to attract consumers and when people visit such pages they are very well informed about that specific brand and brand awareness increases (Hutter et al., 2013). As a result of consumer actively following and engaging in social media activities of a brand, a sense of commitment is induced in them for that brand so they would consider that product or service because of the detailed information gathered through social media which would aid them in making a purchase decision. (Hutter et al., 2013) concludes that brands which bombard social media with attractive advertisements and other promotional offers to grasp the audience attention are more likely to be glued in consumers mind and are positioned in a specific way which automatically results in consumers talking and thinking about that brand because they have taken appropriate steps to make people aware of their brand. Furthermore, a study was conducted in Greece in order to determine how is social media marketing is benefiting the companies. For this purpose 14 companies were contacted consisting of consumer electronics, mobile telephony, food and drink, travel and media services. Managers of social media activities were interviewed in detail. According to Tsimonis and Dimitriadis (2013) the findings showed a positive relationship between social media marketing and brand awareness, due to the viral nature of social media.
When a company uploads any post in form of a quiz , competition and a give- away question(it is mostly done by bloggers on Instagram) it is made known to majority of people on the account of like, comment and share or retweet features of social sites such as Facebook and Twitter respectively(Vires, Gensler and Leeflang, 2012). By going through different research articles and while writing our literature review we deduce the following hypothesis:
Hypothesis 1: Social Media Marketing is positively related to brand awareness.
According to Keller (1993) “Brand image is the perception about the brand as reflected by the brand association held in consumer memory.”
Social Media Marketing and Brand Image
According to Jalilvand and Samiei (2012) brand image is customer’s experience regarding the functionality and service quality of a product and a service respectively. Since social media has allowed two way communications in such a way that marketers advertise and convince consumers to use a specific brand with the help of various marketing mix elements (Armelini and Villanueva, 2011). Similarly customers can also communicate with different companies through their social media portals of which some of the commonly used are Facebook and Instagram fan pages. Customers not only ask queries from the company but they provide feedback too about their previous purchase experience, good or bad. Intelligent marketer is the one which analyses the situation carefully and after implementing the improvements suggested by the customers devise an innovative promotional mix to get the attention of the customer back on that same product. Researchers suggested that every aspect of customer-business relationship becomes an input to brand image (Jalilvand and Samiei, 2012). Moreover , when a brand is able to create maximum awareness about it by providing all the necessary information required by the customers to trust this brand only then image of that brand could be enhanced positively (Sharp and Macdonald, 2003).
Social media marketing is the platform through which marketing managers can communicate different aspects of a brand according to a specific need of a target audience. Moreover, In view of Keller (2008) when companies target a specific audience their social media activities including Facebook and Instagram page uploads whether it is in a form of pictures or any announcement attracts the target audience. In the light of study carried out by Kelly (1991) brands are providing detailed information about a product or service through their online portals and continuously keeping their customers engaged by answering to their queries and providing quick customer service. The same author also states that this result in credibility towards that brand and brand image could be enhanced.
Hypothesis 2: Social Media Marketing is positively related to brand Image.
Theoretical Framework Diagram
Sample and Data Collection Procedures
In order to empirically test our hypothesis we distributed questionnaires in different organizations and educational and medical institutes according to our sample, working women of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Pakistan. We conducted a Convenience Sampling technique by using personal and official contacts for the entry permission. The corporate sector included Mobilink, Telenor and Pakistan savings whereas the educational and medical institutes constituted of FAST-NUCES, OPF Girls College and Holy family Hospital respectively. The average age of women was 29 years whereas 46%were from corporate sector following 26.7% doctors and then 26.7%teachers.
Our questionnaire included a cover letter explaining respondents the purpose of our research and their confidentiality was assured .The participation of respondents was voluntary. They revealed their age, profession and organization in which they were working. Questionnaires compromised of closed ended questions in which Brand Awareness and Brand Image were used as a dependent variable on a 5 point Likert scale whereas Independent variable, social media marketing was measured by going through social media pages of the brands on Facebook and Instagram inorder to determine the extent of social media marketing being carried out. Total number of questionnaires was 200.Out of these 180 questionnaires were useable whereas 20 were irrelevant and incomplete.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing was measured by going through social media pages of Almas, sapphire and Charizma in details .Moreover; we compared and analyzed the amounts of their likes, followers and number of posts in order to determine the extent of social media marketing being carried out by these brands.
Brand Image was measured by 17 items which were adopted fromRussell et al., 1998.These items were designed to measure Brand image “This brand has an exclusive image”. Questions were made on 5 point Likert scale ranging from Strongly Disagree =1 , Disagree=2 , Neutral=3, Agree=4 , Strongly Agree=5
Brand Awareness was measured by 14 items which were adopted from Russell et al., 1998. These items were designed to measure Brand awareness “Can recognize the logo and symbol of this brand”. Questions were made on 5 point Likert scale ranging from Strongly Disagree =1 , Disagree=2 , Neutral=3, Agree=4 , Strongly Agree=5
In order to analyze our independent variable , social media marketing , we practically went through social media pages including Facebook and Instagram pages of Sapphire , almas and Charizma Lawn brands and ranked them according to the highest number of statistics which included number of likes , number of posts shared or uploaded and number of followers on facebook and Instagram respectively. This was done to make sure that these brands carried out only social media marketing as the main initiative to market their products.Moreover, Sapphire Clothing, Charizma Lawn and Almas are the brands which solely operated on social media marketing but our analysis of social media of these brands identified that Sapphire Clothing and Charizma lawn were quite active in engaging with their customers by updating their Facebook and Instagram pages on regular basis and provided consistent support to customer queries being asked on their social media pages.( As shown in Table 1)
The Alpha Co-efficent of Brand awareness and Brand image is( α= .714) which indicates that both the items have internal consistency.( as shown in Table 2)
There was a statistically significant difference between groups as determined by one-way Anova( F=10.803, p= 0.000). It revealed that creating brand awareness was statistically significantly higher via social media marketing as ( p=0.000) which is lower than 0.05.( as shown in Table 3)
There was no statistically significant difference between groups as determined by one-way Anova( F= 1.861 , p=.159). It rejected our hypothesis 2, social media marketing is positively related to brand image and revealed that enhancing brand image through social media marketing was not statistically significant.( as shown in table 4)
Discussion & Conclusion
We tested hypotheses in order to determine the impact of social media marketing on brand awareness and brand image. Our findings are supportive to the fact that the brands which keep their customers actively engaged through their social media activities including regular update of products and its features tend to create more awareness about their brands in the mind of the consumers as opposed to the brands which are passive in keeping their customers close and they do not create value for their customers by not communicating and providing efficient customer support. However , our hypothesis which indicated positive relationship between social media marketing and brand image is not aligned with the findings , social media marketing does not enhances the brand image in the mind of customers and a certain perception about a brand is mostly made on the account of product quality , performance and durability.
No such study had been conducted in Eastern context (i.e Pakistan) to test the impact of social media marketing on brand awareness and brand image. Secondly, no research is available which would act as a guiding tool for companies that initially started operating solely on social media as to how to market your brand on social media effectively and efficiently. This study was carried out with an objective to provide a more convincing stance or view to marketing managers nowadays to integrate social media as the main medium and channel to market, introduce and position your brand. Moreover, on the basis of social media many low cost instruments could be used to integrate technology and online communication which is subjective in nature.
This study has many various practicing implications for Pakistani marketing managers. Marketing managers can improve the extent of awareness of their brands by inculcating social media as the main ingredient for marketing a specific brand. Moreover , not only by integration of social media with marketing strategies is going to improve brand’s performance however marketing managers need to keenly observe online activities of customers constituting of what type of product is preferred, features that are considered as premium quality while purchasing a specific brand, satisfaction with queries answered by customer support team and durability preferences. In short, the main success is in learning to manage social media in such an effective and efficient manner that is aligned with customer’s preferences and demands. Marketing managers by adopting these tips can strive to build an active online community for their specific brand which would in turn produce loyal customers.