Brand message strategies and consumer motivations to respond




Choi, Jung Hwa, Ph. D.

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The overarching purpose of this dissertation is to first provide a theoretical and empirical background for research on motivation and branding strategies; a review of the literature on social media, social media marketing, and brand association is provided for context. From this, three research questions are presented. Chapter 3 describes the procedures, methodology, results and discussion briefs of two studies. Finally, Chapter 4 discusses the expected theoretical and managerial contributions of this study and directions for future research. The primary goals of this research are to provide an exploratory analysis investigating how global brands currently use social media to share brand messages and build relationships with consumers, and the social and psychological motivational factors that lead consumers to engage with commercial brands on SNS, particularly the platform of Instagram in this early stage of social media marketing. Specifically, this study: (1) analyzes corporate account marketing messages on Instagram to understand how global brands are using Instagram for purposes of interacting with and building relationships with consumers, (2) identifies social and psychological motives that lead consumers to engage with commercial brands on Instagram, and (3) examines the relationships between identified motives and consumer-brand relationship outcome variables. To accomplish these, two studies are conducted. Study 1, that is a content analysis, examines the global brand Instagram accounts of the top 100 most valuable global brands, based on the brand associations by Aarker (1996). Building on the Uses and Gratification Theory (U&G), Study 2 explores the underlying process of consumers’ motivations to follow a brand account by conducting a survey study of 318 Instagram brand account followers in the United States. Within the theoretical framework of U&G, this research also examines how varying degrees of consumer motivation to follow a brand account on Instagram influences consumer engagement outcomes (i.e., frequency of electronic word-of-mouth and attitude toward following brands) and outcomes related to relationship building (i.e., trust, satisfaction, intention to pass along brand’s messages, and willingness to buy). The findings of Study 1 revealed that Instagram marketers often are not using the strategies that generate the highest consumer engagement. Study 2 examined seven consumer motivations for following Instagram brand accounts. Motivations related to social interaction and brand love were the strongest motivations. Directions for future research, for example, understanding why a brand follows other account on Instagram, are provided



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