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Limitations Due to time limitations, our research did not incorporate consumer opinion. We consider this research no more than a preliminary step towards a bigger project; its continuation will include quantitative analysis, in addition to our current qualitative approach. We hope to explore the topic from different sectors, and to establish whether initials operate in different ways in specific market sectors. We also wish to approach various demographics of consumers, to capture their views and to establish cases of successful initial usage, and the reasons certain individuals may like them.
Originality/value As far as we are aware, this is the first systematic approach to the use of initials in brand names and logo design together. During our literature review we did not encounter another article with similar characteristics or one that furnished a practical guide and clear analysis of relative advantages and disadvantages. In addition, we believe that our approach constitutes an integrative one to marketing-AND-design, as well as to brand names-AND-logos. In other words, although there is some marketing literature about brand names and logos, these aspects are considered separately, not as indivisible brand elements (which is our point of view). In addition, there is extended literature about what a “good name” is; however, there are few references to the practical use of initials.
Keywordsinitials, brand names, brand logos, design
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Vacas de Carvalho, Leonor Mendes, Ana Purpose Social media has changed the communication landscape and online consumer behavior (Gironda and Korgaonkar, 2014). With consumers spending more and more time on social media, brand-related interactions and exposure to brand communications are increasingly taking place within this sphere. Thus, Facebook and other social media become key players for branding activities (Hutter et al, 2013). As a result, significant power has shifted from the brands directly to consumers (Cova and Dalli, 2009). While social media has been subject to an increasing number of studies, empirical research on consumer–brand interaction on Facebook is still needed, in particular research on consumer motivations for engaging with brands on social media. Understanding these motivations would provide brand managers a better understanding of their consumers. The aim of this research is to address this gap and provide additional insights to brand managers on how to adapt their approaches to increase consumers’ interaction with brands on Facebook. Therefore, this paper provides new insights about consumer–brand motivations to interact, as it distinguishes four types of consumers based on five consumer–brand motivations to interact, which we describe and discuss in relation to the intensity and the different types of interactions that consumers have with brand-related content on Facebook.
Theoretical BackgroundSocial networks – Facebook
Social media is a “group of internet based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content” (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010, p 61). Different forms of social media have been studied in previous research, namely social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook (Moraes et al., 2014). Facebook brand fan pages are used for explicit brand communication and as a privileged interaction channel between the brand and the users, which should be utilized to increase engagement with the brand and deepen the relationship with customers (Jahn and Kunz, 2012).
Types of consumer interactions with brand fan pages on Facebook Consumers may have different types of interactions with brands via brand fan pages on Facebook. According to previous research, in order to measure interaction with a brand on Facebook, it is necessary to distinguish at least three levels of interaction, namely “likes”, “comments” and “shares” (Peters et al,2012). Hence, consumer engagement with the brand on Facebook is measured using indicators that are based on Facebook functionalities.
Previous research also suggests that, besides “likes” and “comments”, social media metrics should also include the number of “shares” (Camarero et al., 2014; Hoffman and Fodor, 2010). These items are usually combined to calculate an overall engagement metric, but a detailed view is critical for brands to understand if they have an appropriate distribution across these levels (Peters et al. 2012). Muntinga et al. (2011) introduced the behavioral construct Consumer Online Brand-Related Activity (COBRA). They point out that people can engage in multiple roles in social media, depending on their motivations and goals. They distinguished between three levels of consumer interaction: consuming, contributing and creating.
Motivations to interact with brands on Facebook In order to understand consumer motivations to interact with brands on Facebook, we consider a user-centric functionalist perspective on social media, and apply the uses and gratification (U&G) theory proposed by Katz (1959). According to U&G theory, people use media to satisfy various needs and achieve their goals. Motivations are understood here with reference to the gratifications sought, and what activates the goal-directed behavior (Pervin, 1989). From the literature on consumer–brand relationships on social networks (Jahn and Kunz, 2012), consumer usage of social networks (Curran and Lennon, 2011), consumer engagement in online communication activities on social networks (Shu and Chuang, 2011), consumer–brand interactions on social media (Rohm et al, 2013) and COBRAs (Daugherty et al, 2008; Muntinga et al, 2011), we identified the most important motivations associated with the use of social networks: social influence, search for information, entertainment, trust and reward.
Research Methodology Data collection and sample Data was collected through the administration of an online questionnaire (convenience sampling method). We obtained a convenience sample of 160 respondents (Facebook users).
Our sample was heterogeneous in terms of sex, age, education level and time respondents spent on Facebook.
Principle measures The five main motivations that could influence consumers’ interactions with brands on Facebook were all measured through multiple-item scales using a seven point scale. All the construct items, except for reward, were adapted from the work of Shu and Chuang (2011).
With respect to reward, the lack of a scale that could serve as a basis for measuring this motivation made us develop a two-item scale based on previous academic (Muntinga et al, 2011; Wang and Fesenmaier, 2003) and non-academic studies that have examined consumer interaction with brands in exchange for a fee (Baird and Parasnis, 2011). Exploratory and confirmatory analyses were conducted to assess the reliability and validity of the variables used in this study. Convergent and discriminant validities for the dimensions used for our cluster analysis were supported. We had no common method bias.
Findings and Implications The objective of this analysis was to explore the different types of consumers who interact with brands using the five dimensions developed above. Therefore, we sorted the consumers into homogeneous clusters using cluster analysis techniques. We used hierarchical clustering methods in the exploratory approach. In order to further refine the cluster solution, we applied a non-hierarchical method to the resulting solution. Building on the five motivation factors for consumers to interact with brands on Facebook, the classification revealed four different groups of consumers with heterogeneous levels of motivation factors. Our findings provide support for the internal and external validity of the four-cluster solution. Based on the relevant cluster means associated with the five motivational dimensions, we attributed different names to each cluster. Additionally, we used other behavioral variables and demographic variables to profile the clusters.
“Brand detached” Our findings highlight a group of “brand detached” consumers, who have the lowest level of online interaction with the brand even when they are invited to interact with it. They spend less than one hour on Facebook per day on average, and connect to Facebook using their computers and tablets. For this group, the online presence of the brand is not important, and therefore they usually do not like, comment on or share the brand’s posts on Facebook. Thus, the “brand detached” consumers tend to assume a more “voyeuristic” behavior. Even though they do not usually like, comment on or share content, “brand detached” consumers do consume brand-related content, especially content that uses humor or that appeals to emotions.
“Brand profiteers” These consumers spend an average of between 30 minutes and two hours on Facebook per day, using their computers and their mobile phones. Even though they consider it highly important for brands to have Facebook pages, they only have a medium level of interaction with brands on Facebook. They do not spend time commenting on the brand’s posts. Indeed, they are mainly looking for good deals. Hence, “brand profiteers” are particularly susceptible to promotions and incentives, which are their primary motivations to interact with brands on Facebook.
“Brand companions” These consumers tend to devote a significant amount of their spare time to Facebook, spending more than two hours on Facebook per day on average. Even though they spend a significant amount of their time online, and they believe that it is highly important for a brand to have a page on Facebook, they only have a medium level of interaction with brands online. When they do interact, it is mainly due to a personal approach, since they rarely respond to brands’ calls for interaction (low level). For them, interacting with a brand is important for fun, and above all to get in contact with other users and with their friends.
“Brand companions” Brand companions are more responsive to symbolic content that appeals to their emotions.