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

  • Engage with empathy: Improving customer experience with artificial intelligence
    Tara Dezao, Product Marketing Director, AdTech and MarTech, Pegasystems

    Change is inevitable, and sometimes transformation happens gradually. At other times, as the global pandemic showed us, it happens without warning. Either way, traditional marketing tactics have no place in modern customer experiences (CX). So how can brands build trust and develop deeper relationships through ever-changing sentiment or market conditions? They need to show customers that they understand their unique situation and can provide tangible value. Marketing and customer engagement practitioners can achieve true one-to-one engagement with artificial intelligence (AI)-powered, ‘always-on’ models that continuously engage customers during calculated ‘moments of need’. Legacy marketing techniques will no longer be sustainable in a rapidly evolving business landscape riddled with data constraints, regulatory challenges and labour shortages. Organisations need to move away from data silos and channel-specific strategies and instead rely on a single ‘brain’ that helps orchestrate engagement with each customer. Brands can survive only by moving beyond sales and mixing additional messages that support retention, service, nurture and resilience actions into their marketing framework; only then can they deliver truly personalised customer experiences across channels while always remaining sensitive to their circumstances.
    Keywords: artificial intelligence; empathy; customer experience; empathy; marketing; data

  • 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