Volume 11 (2022-23)

Each volume of Journal of Brand Strategy consists of four 100-page issues, published in print and online. Articles scheduled for Volume 11 are available to view on the 'Forthcoming content' page.

Volume 11 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Capitalising on brand purpose: Creating brand equity and business value from the ground up
    Seraj Bharwani, Chief Strategy Officer, AcuityAds and Ariela Nerubay, EVP & CMO, Curacao

    Curacao is one of the most trusted brands in the US Hispanic community. It has earned the trust of its customers and the broader, multigenerational, US Hispanic community with a clear purpose of helping to improve the standard of living of its core community. The brand consistently delivers on this purpose with a 360-degree proposition that provides access to credit, financial education and household products and services, as well as through social connections and culturally relevant programming at its network of physical stores, employment and charitable contributions via the Curacao Foundation. With over four decades of commitment to its community, the brand has gained sufficient credibility and is now able to leverage its customer relationships and data to increase its business value. It is now bolstering its portfolio of products and services through strategic partnerships and expanding its offering nationally through e-commerce and retail media to ensure steady growth and profitability in the years to come.
    Keywords: brand purpose, US Hispanic audience, Hispanic media, brand trust, multicultural marketing, LatinX

  • Reimagining an iconic brand: A case study of Harlem Globetrotters
    Sunni Hickman, VP Sales & Marketing, Harlem Globetrotters

    In 2020, the Harlem Globetrotters organisation was already seeing a decline in ticket sales before the pandemic shut down touring altogether. Seizing the opportunity to focus fully on what they saw as an overall brand positioning problem, the team took a renewed look at their business model. Their analysis revealed a single revenue stream based entirely on live events, a vulnerability laid bare when touring came to a screeching halt. At the same time, the Globetrotters organisation reflected on decades of history as a symbol of joy and goodwill, a team whose unique brand of entertainment had become a cultural rite of passage for families everywhere. Looking forward, they needed to reimagine how to re-engage with those families while achieving relevance for the next generation of fans. The Globetrotters had never been only about ticket sales; their connections have been personal bonds and spreading unity throughout decades of cultural change. The world they saw in 2020 was in desperate need of that unity, that love. A new, ground-up brand strategy needed to be developed. In addition to re-embracing their cultural legacy, the Globetrotters needed to establish multiple revenue streams with brand connectivity. Studying similar sports and entertainment brands, the Globetrotters gathered insights on businesses driven by multiple verticals that collectively elevate a brand in the process. They also determined brand-specific goals like putting Globetrotter stars back in the spotlight, creating household names on a par with the Meadowlark Lemons and Curly Neals of yesteryear. Noting the entwined history of the Globetrotters and the National Basketball Association (NBA), they strategised ways to re-enter the overall basketball and baller culture conversation while elevating their status, claiming their rightful place as basketball royalty. No stone was left unturned during the Harlem Globetrotters rebrand. From iconic uniforms to on-court storytelling, every aspect of their live show was revamped with the utmost care and precision under the guidance of hand-picked experts. A creative dream team was assembled representing every corner of baller culture, Broadway production, swag and Black excellence. Staking their claim in the spotlight, the Globetrotters crushed bold moves like publicly calling out the NBA, posting a manifesto in the New York Times and partnering with the legendary Snoop Dogg. The reimagined Harlem Globetrotters are now hotter than ever, with a thriving tour schedule, energised digital presence, first of its kind NFT collection and many more merchandising and media plans for 2022. There is a rebrand story like no other.
    Keywords: brand marketing, rebrand, relaunch, sports entertainment

  • Do not push me: A disruptive content and media transformation
    Brad Armstrong, Head of Content, Creative, and Customer Journey, NI

    Traditional marketing, especially in the B2B space is one that is designed to push content to its audience. This strategy is built on a comfortable and default content and media plan that is due for disruption. Media and content consumption behaviour as well as increasing privacy regulation is further catalysing the need for this disruption. This paper proposes a move from traditional marketing to a modernised content publishing model that leverages the evolving media landscape while infusing the purpose and objectives of the business. This offers an opportunity to rethink how modern marketers engage with their audience by building a relationship through both traditional media push and modern subscription-based pull strategies and tactics. The author outlines six areas that are ripe for disruption that will push and pull you to think, act and measure like a publisher, resulting in a consistent content promise that is both valuable and entertaining to your audience, customers and your business.
    Keywords: social media, content strategy, B2B marketing, subscription, digital experience, publisher

  • Brand purpose, authenticity and impact measurement
    Jenny Caven, Former Director of External Affairs, Slimming World

    COVID-19 has changed the world. The post-pandemic world will not be the same as it was before March 2020. In a world where many marketing and business elements were already experiencing a technological revolution and having to adapt practices, COVID-19 accelerated change, eliciting a rapid move to a virtual world. Alongside new digital behaviours there are greater demands on organisations from stakeholders to demonstrate behaviours and actions that engender trust. Customers want reassurance that personal data and privacy will be protected by organisations with good governance in place. Stakeholders also have growing awareness of environmental issues and their power of influence on organisational behaviour and sustainability. Organisations face increased pressure too to behave ethically on social issues around diversity, equality and inclusion. All of these factors place greater demands on organisations to demonstrate clear brand purpose that inspires trust. And actions must match words. Stakeholders and customers will not accept empty promises or deceptive practices. The COVID-19 pandemic has also wrought political and economic disruption, and stakeholders — customers, employees and shareholders — have increasingly sought refuge in brands as trust in government, state institutions and media has fallen. This disruption has also seen social media overtaking traditional media as a source of news and information. This rapid change has created both opportunity and challenge for communicators and marketers. This paper suggests that, to thrive in the post-pandemic environment, organisations that seek to reassert their purpose and values and demonstrate authentic behaviour in delivering on their promises are likely to establish deeper trust and a strong reputation. To measure the impact of purpose, authenticity and trust, it is necessary to develop a framework that evaluates and takes into account exposure, comment, enablement and interaction; considers multiple stakeholder and audience groups; and aligns communications goals with organisational objectives.
    Keywords: communication, reputation, purpose, authenticity, trust, measurement

  • Comparing social style platform brand and brand community social content: A machine learning-based lexical analysis
    Curt A. Gilstrap, Associate Professor of Business Communication, The University of Southern Indiana, Morgan Hoey, Senior Director of Training, Multimedia and Consulting, AVIAN, Natasha Danielle Smith, Director of Communications on the Brand & Communications team, Voya Financial and Sandy Cheng, Manager, Xmotors.ai

    This paper discusses the social media posts generated by style brands and their brand communities on Instagram and Twitter relative to social commerce integrations — the combined nature of brands, online brand communities and social platforms referred to here as social style platforms (SSPs). To accomplish this, 9,221 SSP brand posts and 63,397 SSP brand community posts were captured across Instagram and Twitter relative to six highly engaged SSPs. The results indicated that style-based content themes shared on SSP brand accounts and SSP brand community accounts were greater in strength than many other themes; that frequent brand mention content themes were more likely to be congruent across data sets; that some content theme incongruities existed between brands and brand community posts relative to exchange actions and social contest references; and that some content topics were proliferated, resonated and reciprocated. Additionally, direct brand mentions and brand/self-connections played a unique role in how social style brands and brand communities posted within SSPs as they engaged in brand support by talking about the brand and brand community members regularly. Based on these findings, this paper recommends that future SSP brand managers encourage brand communities to discuss style relative to brand more often than buying behaviours as a way to enhance and grow online brand community membership.
    Keywords: social style platform, lexical analysis, s-commerce, brand communities, conflict of interest

  • A deeper look at the 2020 Facebook boycott and related themes of misinformation: A text mining analysis of topics, emotion and sentiment
    Laura F. Bright, Associate Professor of Media Analytics at Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations, Moody College of Communication at University of Texas at Austin, et al.

    Facebook has repeatedly come under fire from consumers, companies and government agencies in recent years owing to the prevalence of misinformation on its platform as well as the way it handles information related to social justice and public health, among other things. Using a large data set of 604,269 social media mentions sourced from popular social platforms (eg Twitter and Reddit), this study set out to discover themes associated with misinformation and the Facebook advertising boycott that occurred in July 2020. To understand the discourse, a linguistic analysis approach called theme extraction was used. This method employs machine learning and natural language processing to reveal relationships in the data that may otherwise be buried in the mass of social media mentions. The most prominent theme identified among social media users was the desire that Facebook and other social media platforms actively stop the spread of misinformation. Other trending topics included #StopHateForProfit, lockdown protests, hate speech policy, news as spam, right-wing politics and suspended ads. Managerial implications for advertisers are discussed as they relate to social media management and how misinformation impacts brand engagement on social platforms.
    Keywords: Facebook boycott, misinformation, media effects, social media, textual analysis

  • Why people use virtual assistants: Understanding engagement with Alexa
    Valerie K. Jones, Associate Professor, College of Journalism & Mass Communications, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    This study explores how and why early adopters use voice-powered artificial intelligence (AI) assistants and integrate them into their lives. These assistants are examined as personalisable, highly interactive media capable of building a two-way relationship with users. Using the framework of uses and gratifications theory and the Calder–Malthouse set of experiences, this study analyses what value engagement with virtual assistants provides consumers, what the meaning of the experiences are and what contextual factors influence those ongoing interactions. Insights from in-depth interviews reveal three overarching types of experiences with Alexa: removing friction, enabling personalisation and extending self and enriching life. These experiences comprise two types of goals satisfied through interaction with Alexa: Those that related to ‘Helping do’ — focusing on functional elements or tasks that Alexa performed — and those that related to ‘Helping become’ — focusing on enabling users to become better versions of themselves. This is the first qualitative study globally to explore the meaning of interacting with AI assistants, and establishes a much-needed foundation of consumer understanding, rooted in the words and perspectives of the audience themselves, on which to build future research. Recommendations for helping organisations identify opportunities for building their brands through voice-powered AI are discussed.
    Keywords: virtual assistant, voice assistant, smart speaker, artificial intelligence, uses and gratifications