Social media and its contribution to brand building with special reference to Generation Y.
This study investigated the contribution of Social media to brand building, with special reference to a sample of Generation Y consumers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The study is based on four research objectives. Research objective one was to determine the possible role of Social media in research to improve on selected aspects of brand building, e.g. awareness, knowledge and purchase, with special reference to Generation Y. Research objective two was to investigate whether Social media can help in contributing positively to customer relationships compared to traditional media, thereby assisting in brand building with special reference to Generation Y. Research objective three was to determine whether Social media can be used to gather information about selected aspects of a brand from Generation Y to help in creating brand awareness, knowledge, building customer relationships and brand building. Research objective four was to determine whether Social media can be used effectively to target Generation Y compared to traditional media. The literature review employed in this study specifically focused on the theory related to Social media, Generation Y and brand building with an aim to develop a greater understanding of the key issues investigated in the study. Primary data was collected from a sample of Generation Y consumers in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The findings, based on the sample studied, revealed that firstly, Social media and social networking do contribute positively to the performance and hence the building of a brand when targeting Generation Y. However, it was found that marketers cannot use Social media alone to enhance customer relationships because respondents spend more time on traditional media than Social media. Consequently, it was determined that Social media makes less of a contribution to brand building in this regard. In addition, the findings revealed that Social media and social networking can be used to gather information about selected aspects of a brand from Generation Y consumers to assist in creating brand awareness, knowledge, as well as customer relationship building and brand building. Furthermore, this study also found that traditional media influence the purchasing intent of Generation Y consumers more than Social media do. In addition, Generation Y felt that traditional media present the brand more clearly, as compared to Social media. Moreover, it is evident that traditional media contribute more positively to the process of building a brand. Thus, traditional media can be used to target Generation Y consumers more effectively than Social media alternatives. The main focus of this dissertation was to investigate whether Social media and social networking can be used in contributing positively to certain aspects of brand building, compared to traditional media, with specific reference to Generation Y consumers. The findings of this study indicated that traditional media are the most effective and can be used to build and manage customer relationships amongst Generation Y consumers and brands because the majority of this Generation Y sample of consumers spend more time on traditional media than on Social media. Companies that are targeting Generation Y must focus more attention on using traditional media because the findings revealed that advertisements on these platforms influence their purchasing behaviour more than Social media. In addition, based on the findings of this research, it can be recommended that if marketers want to use Social media to target Generation Y they should focus most of their efforts on Facebook because more Generation Y participants were found to be Facebook users more than users of other Social media sites.
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