Corporate branding in social media - Stakeholder involvement in value co-creation: A case study

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School of Business | Master's thesis
International Business Communication
International Business Communication
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Objective of the Study: The objective of the thesis was to explore how the case organization (Wärtsilä Corporation) strategically builds and manages its corporate brand in social media, with the focus on value co-creation of brand through stakeholder involvement in brand building in social media. The research questions consider three aspects: 1) the case organization's overall corporate branding strategy in social media towards different stakeholder groups; 2) the involvement of the case organization's prime external stakeholder groups in building corporate brand in social media; 3) value co-creation in brand building through the interaction between the case organization and its external stakeholder groups in social media. Methodology and Theoretical Framework: The research used a qualitative approach in a single-case study, and Wärtsilä was chosen to be the case company. The netnography method was used in data collection, which covered four months online observation in two social media channels. Additionally, qualitative interviews were also conducted. The theoretical framework constructed represents a shared space between the organization and its stakeholders in social media - a process circle of value co-creation in social media where communication, interaction, knowledge sharing, action, and stakeholder engagement occur and interact with each other. Findings and Conclusions: The findings supported various earlier studies in value co-creation of brand building. Wärtsilä effectively implemented the corporate branding strategy into its social media practice, and strongly reflected its brand core value in social media communication. The company enhanced value co-creation by involving stakeholders in building the corporate brand in social media through different ways. Most importantly, the findings identified four brand values: brand identity, brand reputation, brand loyalty, and brand satisfaction through the value co-creation process in social media. The implications suggest that it is important for the organization to have its corporate branding strategy align with the social media strategy, to actively interact and initiate dialogue with stakeholders in social media, and to also emphasize other brand values than the core value in corporate branding's social media strategy.
corporate branding; stakeholder theory; social media; co-creation; value co-creation; brand value; international business communication
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