Improving Brand Reputation Using Social Media

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Alexander Robinson, Graduate Student, and Dr. Brady Brewer, Assistant Professor

Article

Real-Time Brand Reputation Tacking Using Social Media by Roland Rust, William Rand, Ming-Hui Huang, Andrew Stephen, Gillian Brooks & Timur Chabuk

Journal

Journal of Marketing, Vol. 85 (4), 21-43 (2021)

Summary

The continued emergence of social media allows companies to be constantly interacting with stakeholders. This has increased the importance of branding as people have the ability to access information and share opinions from anywhere at any given time, which translates to millions of social media posts daily that can impact how companies are perceived by current and potential customers, employees and investors. The long-term perception of these businesses becomes their reputation. Brand reputation is the overall impression of how stakeholders think, feel and talk about a brand.

Businesses have increasingly used the abundance of information on social media as a way to learn about their customers and tailor marketing strategies to meet the demands and desires of their target audience.

In this research, the authors designed a real-time brand reputation tracking model to mine Twitter comments regarding the top 100 global brands based on lists from Interbrand, Forbes and Kantar Millward Brown. First, they decided upon three drivers — value equity, brand equity and relationship equity — to use to track brand reputation. Each driver has multiple sub-drivers to help the tracker collect and analyze more data. The tracker collects tweets that interact with the most official Twitter username of each brand.

This brand-reputation tracker is extremely data-intensive and relies on sublime programming to be effective. The authors state that there are not many limitations of the tracker, but there is the risk of Twitter possibly shutting down or changing its data-sharing rules, which would impair the collection of tweets. The keywords in the dictionaries of each driver also need to be updated periodically to be able to recognize the ever-changing jargon used to describe various levels of satisfaction and taste regarding brand equity, value equity and relationship equity. This study took place from July 1, 2016-December 31, 2018, totaling 130 weeks. The authors state that one of the main contributions this type of social media monitoring enables is the response to real-time events that may be time sensitive.

What this means for Food and Agricultural Business

The agribusiness industry strives to understand stakeholder opinions and views just like every other industry does. This tracker provides businesses the opportunity to gain an authentic understanding of a variety of people they may not otherwise come in contact with but their brand reaches none the less. Almost every generation uses social media, so it is highly beneficial for businesses to utilize a tool that will allow them to mine data from so many people in one space.

One of the major takeaways from this research is that this type of technology that can automatically mine and analyze data is becoming common place. These researchers have the stated goal of making this data environment public in some capacity. However, there are costs to endeavors such as this. While this seems to be a fairly automated process, there are costs associated that companies would need to consider before implementing a system similar to this.

Social media has become the modern townhall where ideas are constantly being discussed. The agribusiness industry includes many highly controversial and debated topics such as organic foods, genetically modified organisms, greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable farming and natural resources. This tracker will help corporations recognize how stakeholders view their stance and involvement in each of these issues. Since this is mining data in real time and analyzing public response, it is fairly easy to see the value here in that it would allow a company to pivot from a set strategy if the reaction is not as expected.

The real-time aspect of this brand reputation tracker is an extremely attractive feature for companies. The author states that changes in brand equity can show an impact on finances immediately, changes in value equity impact finances in a week, and changes in relationship equity impact finances in two weeks. As such, the real-time brand reputation tracker has the potential to act as a preliminary financial projection tool.

In addition to helping project the financial impact of certain decisions, the tracker can also provide data to allow companies the ability to immediately see the positive or negative significance of new product releases, scandals, crises or product failures. This allows them to assess how their stakeholders are receiving the information in real-time. For example, if news breaks of setbacks in beta testing of a product two months before the projected release, the company is able to assess what aspects are receiving the most negative attention. They are then able to implement an efficient damage control strategy in real-time.

There is so much information on social media, and not all of it is relevant. However, all data is a valuable resource and anything that agribusinesses can do to improve their relationship with stakeholders is important. The real-time brand reputation tracker is an excellent opportunity to do just that and will provide every business that uses it with insightful information that will further both its efficiency and profitability.

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