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Title: Social media storytelling alliances and destination branding
Author: Lund, Niels Frederik
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 5649
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2018
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The emergence of social media necessitates a fundamental rethink of marketing practises as brands are now co-created with social media users. Destination management organisations (DMOs) therefore need to develop new social media strategies. This thesis suggests that DMOs ought to strengthen their storytelling capabilities as it is an essential tool in increasing social media engagement. A conceptual framework is therefore developed drawing on four particular sociological concepts: storytelling, mobilities, performance and performativity. Based on Foucauldian thinking, they are conceptualised as ‘technologies of power’, which are techniques used in the practical operation of power. They demonstrate that a combination of individuals’ storytelling performances, performative acts and mobilities enable stories to spread and influence brand narratives. DMOs can employ the conceptual framework to understand and analyse the underlying mechanisms that shape social interaction in social media and they can operationalise the technologies of power to engage with social media users and spread their preferred brand narratives. The findings show that social media platforms have grown into a ‘virtual apparatus’ utilising institutional technologies to suppress certain kinds of user behaviour. However, some users resist the constraining structures and they use the technologies of power to mediate engaging stories. The findings also show that DMOs’ social media strategies and practices are largely dependent on alliances with various storytellers. DMOs employ a strategy of ‘free value utilisation’ by sourcing content from users, while also enticing users to contribute stories to their social media platforms by providing culturally driven raw material. It is recommended that DMOs should operationalise the conceptual framework in their social media strategies to mediate appealing narratives that connects with people. They should also employ a strategy of ‘experiential micro-branding’, where every shared user story can be utilised as it represents a micro-brand appealing to a specific target segment.
Supervisor: Cohen, Scott Allen ; Scarles, Caroline Sponsor: University of Surrey
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available