In the era of Web 2.0 (O’Really, 2005) corporations cannot avoid to take into account the role of social media in shaping stakeholders perceptions and opinions. According to literature (Bunting and Lipski, 2000), word of mouth generated on-line, regardless of the veracity, has an equal impact on the organization’s reputation as the organization’s activities. Among the different stakeholders, consumers are the most prone to use the new media to exercise their power (Bornemann et al. 2006) or simply to discuss about the corporations’ actions. Indeed, the creation of newly accessible communication channels has contributed to shift the attention from the organization’s power to the consumers’ power. The idea of consumer power and the concept of "consumer sovereignty" (Hutt, 1936) are not new. According to the classic economic theory, through the exit and the voice options (Hirschman, 1970; Hansen and Schrader, 1997), the sovereign consumer exercises control on the companies. The exit option allows the dissatisfied consumer to switch to a different supplier, thus affecting a product’s or a company’s overall sales and forcing corporations to meet his expectations and needs. The voice option, if consumers’ complaints reach public attention, can damage corporate reputation. But the consumers power can be really effective only if consumers act in a collective way, because they represent potentially the entire public opinion. In the old economy different barriers hampered the effective exertion of consumers’ power: among them the incapacity of consumers to communicate with the companies (advertising representing a typical one way communication mean from the company to consumers), but is also noteworthy that consumers could not communicate easily with each other and exchange information. The rise of the internet and specifically the potentiality of the Web 2.0 have changed radically such situation. Free and immediate information circulation, elimination of geographical boundaries supporting the growth of virtual communities (Cova and Pace, 2006; Muniz and O’Guinn 2001), interactivity enabling consumers to assume a more active role within the value chain, and, more broadly, the reduction of the information asymmetries and the improving of market transparency finally confer consumers a way to actually exert their power (Denegri-Knott, J et al. 2006; Cova and Dalli, 2009). Thus a better understanding of consumers communication on the Internet is strategic to corporate reputation management and many companies have implemented their communication strategies using social networks. The aim of the paper is to analyze the case of Tommee Teeppe, an UK manufacturer of baby products, internationally renowned, that has recently entered the Italian market. The company, whose headquarters remains in UK, through its communication agency, has developed a communication strategy based mostly on social media use, aimed at reinforce the brand awareness and the corporate reputation . The case is particularly fitting because in the baby products market customers, mostly new moms, are very prone to use the Web 2.0 tools to communicate with each other and with the companies (Liquida, 2009, Roscioni, 2011). The applied methodology is the descriptive case study (Eisenhardt, 1989, Yin, 1994). The evidences used to build the case come from different sources: several informal interviews with the communication manager, internal documents, press realises and direct observations and monitoring of social networks, forums, and blogs. Even if the project is in its early steps of development, some first results are already available: the steady growing number of people visiting the most shared social network (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) in which the company has started its activity, the positive buzz generated reflecting in the on-line discourses of the most visited thematic blogs and forum, the significant sell out increase.

Building corporate reputation trough social media: the case of Tommee Tippee in Italy, 2011.

Building corporate reputation trough social media: the case of Tommee Tippee in Italy

MORTARA, ARIELA;
2011

Abstract

In the era of Web 2.0 (O’Really, 2005) corporations cannot avoid to take into account the role of social media in shaping stakeholders perceptions and opinions. According to literature (Bunting and Lipski, 2000), word of mouth generated on-line, regardless of the veracity, has an equal impact on the organization’s reputation as the organization’s activities. Among the different stakeholders, consumers are the most prone to use the new media to exercise their power (Bornemann et al. 2006) or simply to discuss about the corporations’ actions. Indeed, the creation of newly accessible communication channels has contributed to shift the attention from the organization’s power to the consumers’ power. The idea of consumer power and the concept of "consumer sovereignty" (Hutt, 1936) are not new. According to the classic economic theory, through the exit and the voice options (Hirschman, 1970; Hansen and Schrader, 1997), the sovereign consumer exercises control on the companies. The exit option allows the dissatisfied consumer to switch to a different supplier, thus affecting a product’s or a company’s overall sales and forcing corporations to meet his expectations and needs. The voice option, if consumers’ complaints reach public attention, can damage corporate reputation. But the consumers power can be really effective only if consumers act in a collective way, because they represent potentially the entire public opinion. In the old economy different barriers hampered the effective exertion of consumers’ power: among them the incapacity of consumers to communicate with the companies (advertising representing a typical one way communication mean from the company to consumers), but is also noteworthy that consumers could not communicate easily with each other and exchange information. The rise of the internet and specifically the potentiality of the Web 2.0 have changed radically such situation. Free and immediate information circulation, elimination of geographical boundaries supporting the growth of virtual communities (Cova and Pace, 2006; Muniz and O’Guinn 2001), interactivity enabling consumers to assume a more active role within the value chain, and, more broadly, the reduction of the information asymmetries and the improving of market transparency finally confer consumers a way to actually exert their power (Denegri-Knott, J et al. 2006; Cova and Dalli, 2009). Thus a better understanding of consumers communication on the Internet is strategic to corporate reputation management and many companies have implemented their communication strategies using social networks. The aim of the paper is to analyze the case of Tommee Teeppe, an UK manufacturer of baby products, internationally renowned, that has recently entered the Italian market. The company, whose headquarters remains in UK, through its communication agency, has developed a communication strategy based mostly on social media use, aimed at reinforce the brand awareness and the corporate reputation . The case is particularly fitting because in the baby products market customers, mostly new moms, are very prone to use the Web 2.0 tools to communicate with each other and with the companies (Liquida, 2009, Roscioni, 2011). The applied methodology is the descriptive case study (Eisenhardt, 1989, Yin, 1994). The evidences used to build the case come from different sources: several informal interviews with the communication manager, internal documents, press realises and direct observations and monitoring of social networks, forums, and blogs. Even if the project is in its early steps of development, some first results are already available: the steady growing number of people visiting the most shared social network (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) in which the company has started its activity, the positive buzz generated reflecting in the on-line discourses of the most visited thematic blogs and forum, the significant sell out increase.
Social media, corporate reputation, case study, word-of-mouth, Tommee Tippee
Building corporate reputation trough social media: the case of Tommee Tippee in Italy, 2011.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10808/5845
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