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Title: Integrated marketing communications and brand tribalism in a postmodern hospitality reputation management process
Author: Tuominen, Pasi Petteri
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 6214
Awarding Body: University of Hertfordshire
Current Institution: University of Hertfordshire
Date of Award: 2013
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Internet and Social Networking Services have made accessing information as easy as lifting a finger and consumer can easily ‘Google’ the cheapest airlines, find reviews and opinions online or look up the restaurant whose name was on the tip of their tongue (Sparrow et al., 2011). Organisations must focus on developing methods of reaching and servicing customers that appeal to a new generation and utilise the advantages of new media (Moutinho et al., 2011). Social networking services, (mobile) websites, location-based services, and group bargaining are among the most recent forms of brand building and reputation management used by organisations to appeal to their stakeholders. Considering reputation management as a strategic necessity of building and sustaining competitive advantage, this thesis applies the discourse of the postmodern branding, Integrated Marketing Communications and Brand Tribalism within the context of online tourism and hospitality. No previous study has covered and combined the fractured knowledge of reputation management, brand tribes and integrated marketing communications within the hospitality industry, and therefore this work is an original and systematic study of the possibilities and pitfalls of the research area. Combining non-participant netnographic method and semi-structured management interviews, 164 hotels and 43 restaurants from seven countries were studied with the aim to find evidence on four different problem settings; (a) the general challenges found in the hospitality SNS presence and activities; (b) the formation of an online tribe within the hospitality context; (c) the effect of peer reviews, tribal activism, and entertainment provision in SNS, and (d) the means and effects of managing SNS’s interactions and implementation of IMC into the reputation management process. The findings of this study suggest that the management of the hospitality reputation is continual, and requires resources and well-articulated integration to overall strategy and vision of managing strategic relationships. The study concludes that by adapting the recommended Ambient Reputation Management framework it is possible to expand the exposure, and enhance the general feelings towards the company and its products and services. Furthermore, the study postulates that providing entertainment and non-factual conversation topics, besides responding to customer needs, are the most effective stimuli in the brand-related engagement enhancement process. These findings enable management to define the service brand’s promise in terms of how the practical and emotional tenets should be blended to grow brand personality in the minds of potential stakeholders. Finally this study accentuates the generation of brand awareness through the growing rapport between the brand and the consumers towards the formation of a brand tribe, and materialisation of an active tribal loop; and that taking advantage of the web analytics from the actions to measure the resultant brand awareness is a key element of Ambient Reputation Management.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social Networking Sites ; Reputation Management ; Marketing ; Brand Tribe ; Hopsitality ; Customer Experience Management ; Netnography