Since the introduction of social media in the early twenty-first century, marketers have underscored their potential to radically change the nature of marketing communication. Through dialogic consumer-to-consumer communication, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter provide many opportunities for brands and organizations to build and nurture relationships with consumers. When brands successfully “engage” their consumers, improved consumer-brand relationships, enhanced reputation and image, and, ultimately, increased sales may come to them. More and more brands and organizations are consequently “going social” to foster the online dialogue with and – most importantly – between consumers.
Although social media are widely heralded for their brand-building potential, they also come with challenges that brands and organizations need to tackle to fully benefit from this potential. For instance, being open to dialogue implies being open to critique. As an increasing number of consumers use social media to express their dissatisfaction with brands and organizations, these often find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place: the brand engagement that they strive to achieve can easily turn against them.
This course focuses on this and other dilemmas as it encourages students to critically assess the strategic challenges that are related to getting consumers to be engaged with brands, and having an engaged consumer base. This will be facilitated by means of lectures, weekly readings, and individual/group assignments.