Digital Marketing: Research Roundup

By Andreea Mihai, MPC2017

An increasingly critical frontier of communication studies, digital marketing channels enable new and unprecedented ways to reach and engage audiences. In the following three Major Research Projects (MRPs), MPC students explore the intricacies of digital communication.

“Making Fans go “GAGA”: Intimacy, Identity and Brand Building Through Twitter” By Laura D’Angelo, MPC 2016

Laura’s research examines how Lady Gaga’s Twitter identity allows the star to establish her brand and build a community of loyal followers who affectionately call themselves “Little Monsters”.

Laura reviewed existing literature on studies that explored the connection between celebrity brand building and representation on social media.  She conducted a qualitative discourse analysis of 904 tweets and retweets from Lady Gaga’s Twitter account from May 31st 2015 until April 31st, 2016.

She found that Lady Gaga represents and reinforces her brand through fan and social identification, intimacy, empowerment, inspiration and through organizations the artist supports. The artist’s use of strategic discourse allows her to build intimacy with her fans, and by doing so effectively manage her brand.

Laura concludes that other marketers and artists can use Lady Gaga’s model for their Twitter use to become cultural entrepreneurs and build brand loyalty through social networking sites.

“What’s in an @reply? A case study of two-communication in Target Canada’s Twitter @replies” By Annabel Lee, MPC 2013

Annabel’s case study seeks to contribute to the body of literature that focuses on Twitter’s @reply function (responses to a user’s initial tweet). She analyzed Target Canada’s @replies when the organization entered the Canadian retail landscape in the Spring 2013.

Annabel applied Grunig’s (1992) two-way symmetrical model of public relations and Kent & Taylor’s (2001) dialogic theory of public relations. Grunig’s model emphasizes dialogue as a key component of a symmetrical model of communication that serves organizations and publics. She concluded that Twitter’s @reply function provides organizations an opportunity to participate in a two-way symmetrical, dialogic communication with their publics.

“A Riot of Opinions: A Study of Audience Responses on Organizational Facebook Pages” By Alison Terpenning, MPC 2012

Alison’s research explores how the audience to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure (SGK) branded Facebook page used information resources in their responses. Her paper used the lens of Media System Dependency Theory, which explains that audiences need media to receive information from outside their immediate vicinities and media rely on audiences as providers of information. Alison analyzed 750 responses that presented a sample of audience response to five messages posted by SGK.

Alison found that social media has the power to provide a space for discussion, and can suggest the shape of the discussion, but that power does not translate into control over how the discussion will evolve.