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Commercialising social media: a study of fashion (blogo)spheres
Stockholms universitet, Företagsekonomiska institutionen.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A common characteristic of the theoretical developments within the field of social media marketing is that activities to which consumers devote themselves in social media settings shift power from firms to consumers. Extant literature has therefore analysed the practices of consumers within social media and their potential implications for marketing. The current state of social media, however, suggests that these settings are undergoing a process of transformation. Although social media were initially characterised as non-commercial in nature, firms have started to manage interactions within these digital landscapes. From initially being characterised by its social base, this development implies that social media have become increasingly commercialised.

The aim of this dissertation is to expand the literature on social media by describing the process through which they evolve from their initially social character to a commercial utility. More specifically, it seeks to develop a conceptual framework that captures the role of marketing processes that lead to the commercialisation of these spheres. This is done mainly through a netnographic study of the Swedish fashion blogosphere in order to explain how and why consumers and professionals interact, organise, create and appropriate commercial values in the fashion blogosphere.

Drawing on theory of spheres, this dissertation proposes a sphereological understanding of social media that expands the role of marketing. It is suggested that social media may be understood as a collection of micro-spheres that, together, comprise a densely connected foam of spatiality and place. In these spheres, consumers, together with commercial actors, take part in practices that become increasingly commercial. In that sense, marketing takes the roles of navigating social media in search of symbolic meanings of value, and of affecting, negotiating and redefining atmospheres of places in the social media landscape.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: School of Business, Stockholm University , 2014. , 81 p.
Keyword [en]
social media, commercialisation, marketing, fashion, blogs, spheres
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-32160ISBN: 978-91-7447-769-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-32160DiVA: diva2:1043949
Public defence
2014-02-13, Gröjersalen, hus 3, Kräftriket, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense the following paper was unpublished and had the status as follows. Paper 2: Accepted.

Available from: 2016-11-01 Created: 2016-10-31 Last updated: 2016-11-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Value creation and appropriation in social media - the case of fashion bloggers in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Value creation and appropriation in social media - the case of fashion bloggers in Sweden
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Technology Management, ISSN 0267-5730, E-ISSN 1741-5276, Vol. 61, no 3/4, 309-323 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores and explains the emergence of commercial blogging. Studying the contents of 18 of Sweden's top fashion blogs, our findings suggest that bloggers create value by generating improved transaction efficiencies. Fashion bloggers have high credibility and thus facilitate the flow of consumer information and choice. The blogs present a combination of private and commercial content, thereby creating a customer intimacy that differentiates them from more traditional market channels. The value of these relationships is appropriated partly through advertisements and partly from other sources of revenue, such as the creation of brands and online stores. Bloggers have become powerful intermediaries who often have a better contact with end consumers than fashion firms. This paper therefore suggests that management of the blogosphere is an emerging source of competitive advantage for fashion firms.

Keyword
social media, fashion blogs, fashion bloggers, business models, transaction costs, Sweden, value creation, value appropriation, commercial blogging, consumer information, consumer choice, customer intimacy, fashion industry
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-32174 (URN)10.1504/IJTM.2013.052673 (DOI)000318586700007 ()2-s2.0-84875657912 (ScopusID)
Available from: 2016-11-01 Created: 2016-11-01 Last updated: 2016-11-01Bibliographically approved
2. Brands, community and style – exploring linking value in fashion blogging
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Brands, community and style – exploring linking value in fashion blogging
2014 (English)In: Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, ISSN 1361-2026, E-ISSN 1758-7433, Vol. 18, no 1, 3-19 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: By using the concept of style, the purpose of this paper is to elaborate on the notion of brand community. More specifically, it seeks to explore how style can function as a linking value in forms of communities centred on brands that emerge within the empirical context of fashion and social media.

Design/methodology/approach: A netnography of the content produced by 18 fashion bloggers in Sweden was conducted. Content analysis of this material was used to map how consumption objects, in terms of fashion brands, were integrated in activities taking place on blogs, and through these processes, acted as a linking value for community members.

Findings: This paper demonstrates how fashion bloggers, together with their readers, constitute a form of community centred on style. It also shows how fashion bloggers, by combining and assembling fashion brands and products, articulate and express different style sets, and how they, together with their followers, engage in activities connected to these style ideals.

Research limitations/implications: As this study has been empirically limited to a Swedish setting, future research would benefit from findings of international expressions of communities of style. Practical implications: Based on this study, strategies for managing communities of style is suggested to represent a potential source of competitive advantage for fashion firms.

Originality/value: In the context of the conceptual discussion about what brings members of communities together, this study provides evidence of how style can function as a linking value in the setting of consumer communities that emerge within the boundaries of fashion and social media.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-32170 (URN)10.1108/JFMM-10-2013-0108 (DOI)2-s2.0-84898401729 (ScopusID)
Available from: 2016-11-01 Created: 2016-11-01 Last updated: 2016-11-01Bibliographically approved
3. When customers create the ad and sell it – a value network approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When customers create the ad and sell it – a value network approach
2013 (English)In: Journal of Global Academy of Marketing Science, ISSN 1229-7119, Vol. 23, no 2, 127-143 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Within marketing research, the notion of “vigilante marketers” has been offered to describe consumers' increased participation in the production of marketing messages and processes of value co-creation. Using a value network approach, the purpose of this study is to explain the role of vigilante marketers in their interaction with firms seeking to impose managerial control and influence processes of co-creation of brand values. A netnography of the content produced by 18 market-leading fashion bloggers in Sweden was conducted during 2009. This study revealed that these fashion bloggers are part of an emergent value network and have realised the value that they co-create for brands using various forms of vigilante marketing. The findings presented in this paper challenge the notion of vigilante marketing as an independent and unpaid activity, illustrating how a value network approach can facilitate the study of the borderlands emerging between consumers and producers.

Keyword
a value network approach, vigilante marketer, ICT, social media, blogger
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-32173 (URN)10.1080/21639159.2013.763487 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-11-01 Created: 2016-11-01 Last updated: 2016-11-01Bibliographically approved
4. In the borderland between personal and corporate brands: the case of professional bloggers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>In the borderland between personal and corporate brands: the case of professional bloggers
2013 (English)In: Journal of Global Fashion Marketing, ISSN 2093-2685, Vol. 4, no 2, 112-127 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A common feature of studies in the fields of personal branding and self-marketing has been the use of a labour market setting as their point of departure. As a result, studies have identified several challenges in the borderland between personal brands and corporate brands. However, more knowledge is needed concerning personal branding in an entrepreneurial context. This article seeks to explain how personal brands materialise in a process in which individuals engage in entrepreneurial ventures over time. Studying three professional bloggers in Sweden, the paper shows how these individuals have all engaged in personal branding efforts and, over the years, have become entrepreneurs operating several business ventures. This article shows how personal branding efforts can generate competitive advantages for individuals undertaking entrepreneurial ventures. Furthermore, it argues why conditions for individuals to engage in personal branding might be more favourable in an entrepreneurial context than in a labour market setting.

Keyword
personal branding, personal brand, entrepreneurship, corporate branding, blogging
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-32172 (URN)10.1080/20932685.2013.763474 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-11-01 Created: 2016-11-01 Last updated: 2016-11-09Bibliographically approved

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