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C11DK Business Marketing System

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  • Course Code: C11DK
  • University: Victoria University
  • Country: Australia

Question:

You are being asked by a brand of your choice to conduct a netnography to answer the specific marketing research questions of “How are consumers talking about our brand on social media?” and “What are the opportunities for the brand to improve as a result of this information?
 
You are required to write a report with your answers. The report as to contain information on the following
 
1. The choice of online communities and the criteria used to ensure they were appropriate to the investigation
2. The process of data collection and analysis (including steps taken to ensure the anonymity of participants
3. The main findings which are categorised into themes
4. A discussion of the implications of these findings for the brand
5. Reflection on the process of conducting a Netnography i.e what were the benefits and challenges that you encountered.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction:

It is certain that business starts with the brand and here the major part of the equation is its customers or audience. However, the question is, how the brand is supposed to connect to its audience in short time in such rapidly growing environment where each brand is exponentially developing and creating a challenging environment to survive. Therefore, the best option to connect the audience is to access the platform where the audiences are available or it is easy to connect. According to Edosomwan et al. (2011), Technology advancement enables brand to access such platform or community and share every detail to own the consumers. When it comes to promoting a brand or knowing people how they perceive the brand and what they talk about it, business was quite accustomed to traditional media until the last decade. However, rapid growth of technology emerged with new online communities that enable ten time faster communication between brand and their consumers. Instagram is one such online community allowing business to share the detail of their services with consumers as well as allowing consumers to provide suggestions so that brand can shape their business according to the needs.

Even though, there are numerous number of online communities but Instagram takes credit for its features of connecting people in a network which holds thousands of people around the world. With the passing of time and series of development, this online community has become tremendous popular even in the corporate field, as business like Starbucks can manage its community by influencing people to share everything they have/had with Starbucks- such as picture of visits, experience of new items tried and views regarding the upcoming services (Manikonda Hu and Kambhampati2014). Moreover, the brand maintains an open communication forum, where the users on Instagram can ask talk anything they wish to share. So, undoubtedly, this online community is spreading rapidly across the world which justifies the selection in relation to the brand Starbucks. In addition to this, Instagram provides a quick access to select the participants for collecting information.

 

Methodology 

By knowing the fact that selected online community provides opportunity to communicate with users or participants, collection of primary data has been considered as the fundamental material to perform the analysis. However, secondary data has also been collected to support the analysis.

Primary data collection: Primary data is a kind of information that can be collected specially for the purpose of the study (Neuman 2013). Nonetheless, in the study the significant advantage of collecting primary information from the respondents is that it allows researcher to tailor the data as per the needs. Primary data is usually divided into two different categories namely quantitative and qualitative, but in the study, quantitative data has been collected for the analysis.

Quantitative data collection: Quantitative data has been collected by performing an online survey in the Instagram community of Starbucks. As quantitative data provides statistical insight supported with mathematics, close-ended questionnaire has been prepared, meaning that respondents have to respond to questions like “How many and What”. For performing the survey, a particular number of respondents have been selected on the basis of sampling method.

Secondary data collection

According to Mackey and Gass (2015), secondary data is a kind of data that has already been published in books, journal articles, blogs and other open reading sources. In the study, secondary data regarding brand management has been collected from marketing journal articles and wide reading sources.

Sampling method: There are two different categories of sampling namely probability sampling and non-probability sampling. As the study is determined to collect data from the community, respondents have been selected in a random order. Thus, simple random sampling method best fits research criteria. The target population is the users of the community page of Starbucks on Instagram. The sample size selected for engaging the respondents is 20 users.

Data analysis techniques:

In order to analyse the quantitative data, first the raw data has been turned into meaningful data due to the implementation of rational as well as critical thinking. The data has been presented with table and graph and then they are analysed with the findings found in the secondary data.

Research Setting and Instrument:

A close-ended questionnaire has been prepared to collect the data from the participants. As it is online survey, questionnaire has been sent to the respondent through their emails which they provided before the process.  

Ethical Consideration

Ethical consideration is another significant area in the research; thereby, to avoid ethical issues such as respondents’ identity and will have been addressed by ethical norms. Before engaging the respondents into the data collection process, respondents have been assured that their identity will not be published. In addition, the data taken from them will not be used for any other purpose apart from the use in the analysis. Moreover, no respondent has been forced to take part in the study and it has been ensured that they can withdraw their participation at any moment.

 

Findings

  1. For how long have you been using Starbucks products?

Options

No. of Responses

Percentage

Total respondents

3- 6 months

9

45%

20

7 months to 1 year

6

30%

20

1 year to 2 years

5

25%

20


Table 1: Time period consumers using Starbucks

The graph indicates that almost 45% the respondents have mentioned that they are using Starbucks for 3 to 6 months, meaning that the rate of new consumers of Starbucks is relatively high, while almost 30% of the respondents have mentioned that they are using the product for almost a year and this indicates Starbucks has high customer retention rate. It can be stated that in the coming days, rate of new consumers will be increasing due to its growing involvement in consumers’ community online

  1. How Starbucks is different from other beverage brands? Choose from the following

Options

No. of Responses

Percentage

Total respondents

Better Service  

3

15%

20

High quality product  

6

30%

20

Ambience  

3

15%

20

Deals and offers

2

10%

20

Large variety of items

6

30%

20


Table 2: How Starbucks is different from other brands

The above data set indicates that almost 15% of the respondents have mentioned that Starbucks is different from other brand in respect to service, while 30% of the respondents have mentioned that high quality product differs the brand from others and almost 15% of the respondents say Starbucks’s ambience is different from other brands. On the other side, almost 30% of the respondents large variety of product items differ the brand from other brands. Thus, it is worth stating that Starbucks is excelling in its all aspect of business because it maintains its tendency of exploring and launching new items.

  1. How far do you agree that the brand Starbucks is socially active on Instagram?

Options

No. of Responses

Percentage

Total respondents

Strongly Agree

9

45%

20

Agree  

5

25%

20

Neutral  

0

0%

20

Disagree

4

20%

20

Strongly Disagree

2

10%

20

Table 3: Whether Starbucks is active on Instagram

Graph helps to state that almost 45% of the respondents agree to the fact the brand Starbucks is active on Instagram, while 25% of the respondents have the similar views. In contrast, almost 20% of the respondents Starbucks is not active on Instagram. The major implication found here is that regular response in the community, sharing of picture, new posts and videos positively influence people. It creates a sense that brand is in touch with the consumers on a regular basis.

  1. How convenient it is for you to communicate with the brand on Instagram?

Options

No. of Responses

Percentage

Total respondents

Highly Convenient  

8

40%

20

Convenient  

6

30%

20

Moderately Convenient  

3

15%

20

Not Convenient

3

15%

20


Table 4: Convenient communication with the brand on Instagram

It has been identified that almost 40% of the respondents have mentioned that they find it convenient to communicate with the brand on a regular basis with the brand, while almost 15% of the respondents have mentioned that they find it moderately convenient. In contrast, another 15% of the respondents have mentioned that they do not find it convenient at all. This data point creates an urge for the brand that when it is digital environment, it has to make sure that it gives an equal importance to all its consumers or community members.

  1. How far do you agree that Starbucks resolves consumers’ query actively on Instagram?

Options

No. of Responses

Percentage

Total respondents

Strongly Agree

9

45%

20

Agree  

5

25%

20

Neutral  

0

0%

20

Disagree

4

20%

20

Strongly Disagree

2

10%

20

Table 5: Whether Starbucks addresses’ consumers’ consumers

Both primary and secondary data indicates the fact that Starbucks is tremendously performing its activities on social media. If the primary data is considered, it is observed that a large percentage of the respondents have the opinions that the brand is quite active on Instagram. On the other side, the secondary data collected from the wide reading sources also implies that the brand routinely addresses its consumers query.

 


This growing engagement on online community is helping the brand to attract new consumers across the globe (Chen, Chiang and Storey 2012). The secondary data indicates the fact that consumers in the community often talk about brand’s quality and service. Consumers have a series of questions in relation to how and when it is going to launch the new item and to maintain the online activities accordingly, brand routinely monitors its followers.

Nonetheless, Lee et al. (2015) mentioned that staying active on social media is not the only task that brand is supposed to do excel in business, it has to take care of its products and service or other major operation. If this fact is considered, it is worth mentioning that Starbucks gains a great level of popularity due to its large variety of items and their promotion on social media platform. As stated above, almost 30% of the respondents have mentioned that large variety of items differ the brand than others. Alshawaf and Wen (2015) mentioned that Starbucks’ online presence or activities are aligned with service or product development strategy. Presently, the brand has 16 million followers on Instagram and the organization leverages this open platform to develop its products and services, meaning that it takes customers feedback regarding new items or additional element required to be added to an existing product (Manchanda, Packard and Pattabhiramaiah 2015).

 It can be mentioned that Starbucks is using online community at highest possible extent because it develops the products specially designed for Instagram such as photogenic, vibrant, Instagram Friendly Unicorn. Gong (2015) mentioned that Starbucks experienced a growth 26% in followers as it gained nearly 3.3M new followers. However, to remain successful in business using digital environment, Starbucks needs to analyse its consumers’ behaviour, choices, tastes and preferences and on the basis of such data, brand can individually target its consumers with its items. Starbucks has the opportunity to know its customers more closely, which further helps to categorize the products accordingly.

 

Reflection

When deciding upon Netnography, I was not fully confident about whether I will find reliability in the data because my past experience and the scholarly debates claim that online data could be biased in nature due to lack of sources and acknowledgement. Thus, when using the data for Starbucks, I checked the terms and originality of the data. For example, I had to ensure, whether the information I have collected are given on official community page of Starbucks. Confusion remains because there are several community pages on behalf of the brand created by fans. Thus, scholar disagree to such dataset. To avoid such issue, I suggest that information should be taken only from officially acknowledged community or page.

 

References

Alshawaf, E. and Wen, L., 2015, July. Understanding digital reputation on Instagram: A case study of social media mavens. In Proceedings of the 2nd European conference on social media ECSM (pp. 19-27).

Chen, H., Chiang, R.H. and Storey, V.C., 2012. Business intelligence and analytics: from big data to big impact. MIS quarterly, pp.1165-1188.

Edosomwan, S., Prakasan, S.K., Kouame, D., Watson, J. and Seymour, T., 2011. The history of social media and its impact on business. Journal of Applied Management and entrepreneurship, 16(3), pp.79-91.

Gong, X., 2015. Strategic customer engagement on Instagram: A case of global business to customer (B2C) brands.

Guidry, J.D., Messner, M., Jin, Y. and Medina-Messner, V., 2015. From# mcdonaldsfail to# dominossucks: An analysis of Instagram images about the 10 largest fast food companies. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 20(3), pp.344-359.

Lee, E., Lee, J.A., Moon, J.H. and Sung, Y., 2015. Pictures speak louder than words: Motivations for using Instagram. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 18(9), pp.552-556.

Mackey, A. and Gass, S.M., 2015. Second language research: Methodology and design. Routledge.

Manchanda, P., Packard, G. and Pattabhiramaiah, A., 2015. Social dollars: The economic impact of customer participation in a firm-sponsored online customer community. Marketing Science, 34(3), pp.367-387.

Manikonda, L., Hu, Y. and Kambhampati, S., 2014. Analyzing user activities, demographics, social network structure and user-generated content on Instagram. arXiv preprint arXiv:1410.8099.

Neuman, W.L., 2013. Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Pearson education.

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