The dynamic, global and frequent interaction enabled by social media notably changes the shape of brand management. A profound understanding of its change is crucial since it may affect brand’s performance considerably. Early research has shown that consumers are developing into authors of brands stories as a result of new networks of consumers and brands shaped through social media and also because of the easy sharing of brand experience in such networks. To ensure brands success in the marketplace, companies need to take notice of consumer generated brand stories.
Brands are extremely valuable assets for companies. By authoring captivating brand stories, managers can create powerful brands with a clear knowledge structure in consumers memory. Company generated brand stories can create and strengthen consumers relationship with the brand so long as they provide a theme for conversation between companies ( i.e. brand owners )and consumers. These conversations allow the consumers to incorporate their own brand experiences and opinions into the brand story. Consequently brand stories can help build awareness, comprehension, empathy, recognition, recall, and provide meaning to the brand ( Singh and Sonnenburg 2012, p. 189).
Traditionally, to pass their brand stories to consumers, brand managers have used marketing communications such as advertising. But with the rise of social media, like consumers, brand managers have started to use this method for advertising their brand. Consumer generated brand stories given out through social media networks are more forceful than stories distributed through traditional channels.
The story of Dave Carroll, whose guitar was ruined by united airlines baggage handlers, would in all probability has been met with slight reaction in a world without social media. But because of his video “United breaks guitars” which he posted on YouTube has gone viral and has brought to the attention of consumers all around the globe. Brand managers can no longer ignore such consumer generated brand stories because they now form what a large horde of consumers thinks about a brand. These indicated stories can now ascertain a brand’s image, its association and ultimately what consumers do with the brand. Its critical that the brand managers have a thorough understanding and knowledge of how to rouse consumer generated brand stories that can benefit the brand and also know how to react to brand stories that may harm the brand.
Companies should not restrict themselves to just listening to consumer generated brand stories on social media. Companies should try to actively motivate consumer generated stories and their impact on brand performance. Brand managers can motivate and promote consumer generated brand stories that benefit the brand as well as know how to react to negative consumer generated brand stories that damage the brand. Also, companies can benefit by corresponding consumer generated brand stories with their own brand stories to make certain a brand’s success in the marketplace.
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