Still Appears To Be An Incomplete Or Misspelled Term

User generated content

The current marketing dynamics and consumer trends have noted a common interest in User Generated Content, which is commonly denoted as UGC. According to MacKinnon (2012) asserts that UGC is a significant term applied in describing forms of content such as blogs, videos, digital images, discussions form posts, audio files as well as other significant forms of media. The content is commonly developed by the end users or consumers attached to an online system or even a service, which is available to other end users or consumers. MacKinnon (2012) noted that UGC as a concept entered the mainstream in mid-2000s and rose through web publishing as well as the production circles of the new media content. At one point, BBC is said to have adopted the concept for its websites in the year 2005. The concept equally made its way to the web 2.0 platforms with more investors showing increased interests. In addition, the commonly known Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is said to have expressed the concept through three central schools attached to UGC. The first school is that of publication requirement where the context and public accessibility to the website need to be necessitated. More focus is put on the specific group of people such as university students. The second school is that of the creative effort where new work is needed on the forums. End users or even customers are expected to add value to it as the UGC provides a collaborative element to the work. Lastly, the creation needs to be outside the professional practices as well as routines. This means that UGC may not carry with either commercial or institutional value. In other cases, UGC can best be produced by the non-professionals without necessarily expecting profits from it.

As mentioned before, user generated content keenly observes three schools. However, marketers are more concerned with what UGC can do when it comes to branding and marketing. Taecharungroj (2019) opens the debate by focusing on brand identity and the power behind harnessing content from most of the social media platforms. Taecharungroj (2019) noted that a place brand is essentially regarded as a network of associations reflected in the minds of the customers or consumers on the basis of their behavioural, visual as well as verbal expressions attached to the place. The researcher further found out that brands are culturally and socially embedded, which means that they can easily be co-created by significant social actors. The same thing applies to places, which can as well make use of social media platforms in communicating to their audiences through the UGC. This is possible because users can easily bring their personal perspectives and subjective opinions to the online space, which can subsequently affect the view of others regarding the outlook of the brand. A closer look at the commercial world denotes brand identity as holistic concept believed to be engaged in articulation of the corporation’s aims, values and ethos that differentiate it. Brand identity is still part of the branding process, which has an impact on the brand image as well. Taecharungroj (2019) further argues that social media carries with it the power to influence place branding due to the UGC capabilities and the Web 2.0 technology. With the help of UGC capabilities, users stand a chance of engaging in conversations, creating identities, foster relationships, join communities, find other people and share content. In the face of User Generated Content, social media platforms have become more open, participative, interactive and transparent while bolstering new as well as effective channels directed to

place marketing and branding. This implies that introduction of the UGC in social media platforms provides a new dimension of perceiving a place. In this context, the author explored UGC on a number of social media platforms including the Google Maps Local Guide, TripAdvisor and Flickr. The platforms have been relevant in enhancing place brand identity of Yaowarat and Khaosan. The UGC on the mentioned platforms is highly valued in understanding the place. For instance, Flickr draws attention to photography repository as well as sharing. The platform also gives room to users to share photos, join groups and even comment on the postings. O’Hern and Kahle (2013) noted that UGC developed or created by consumers commonly represents a significant shift of power from organizations, firms and companies to consumers. This has found space in branding and marketing while introducing fresh advantages in the business world. The rise and use of UGC can be aligned to increased connectivity, which is afforded through internet as well as the increased use of the advanced design tools. The usage of UGC can be realized through advantageous applications. The first use is realized through informing, which defines the process that engages users in developing content that can either criticize or praise a brand or product. The informing function of the UGC is commonly referred to as the promotion-focused user activity as denoted by O’Hern and Kahle (2013). This means that the user generated reactions are directed at user fellow customers. The prevailing marketing literature points out that a general umbrella that is commonly referred to as User Generated Content (UGC) covers the nature of this activity. Manap and Adzharudin (2013) also noted that the use of UGC in marketing and branding could be realized in its ability to co-communicate, which is regarded as process in which users develop novel marketing materials and end up sharing them with a firm for the purposes of enhancing

marketing communications. Co-communication closely resembles user-generated advertising, which opens calls or even contents believed to encourage end users or consumers to work on more innovative but promotional collaterals. The best example of the co-communication initiative, aligned to UGC, is the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl initiative. The campaign attracted a competition where customers were allowed to create 30-second videos for Doritos commercial. Within a week, the company realized a total of around 3500 videos. UGC can as well promote co-creation in which consumers or even users are given a chance to develop novel product designs through innovation-focused user activity. It is worth noting that a body of research is in place to explore thousand ways through which consumers can work closely with companies in co-developing new and innovative products. One notable example is that of Threadless.com, which is regarded as online apparel that relies on a network of consumers instead of the in-house designers. Consumers helped in developing a mass of designs, which attracted the core categories of wall art, graphic t-shirts, and the cell phone cases. Pioneering is also another use of UGC with consumers given room to work on new product improvements and share them with fellow users. Rachna (2017) insists that conceptualizing pioneering as a function of UGC gives consumers a significant freedom in developing new products. This can open way for the C2B knowledge flows, which is significant in driving innovations. Such cases have been noted in some of the online websites like Thingiverse and 3D Warehouse. Through pioneering, Thingiverse can freely enjoy 30000 individual product designs. Bahtar and Muda (2016) tapped into insights linked to product reviews on online purchasing and how this can be advantageous, or disadvantageous to marketing and branding in the face

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of UGC. The two researchers noted that UGC attracts perceived credibility, perceived risks, perceived usefulness and the right attitude towards a product or a brand. On the basis of the perceived credibility, most of the online consumers would end up believing that any content that is generated by the users is credible than the one which is provided by either marketers and sellers. Credibility informs on the positive characteristics attached to the communicator. It further entails trustworthiness and expertise before convincing internet users to entrust the content generated. According to Bahtar and Muda (2016), most of the consumers are likely to show preference towards User Generated Content compared to the traditional promotional methods because of the user’s honest opinion. UGC equally attracts perceived risk, which becomes unavoidable unless the online community accessed or encountered experiences and prior knowledge that barred them from making any bad decision. Perceived usefulness is also attached to UGC when it comes to the response given to information and how this can impact the attitude towards the discussed product. Users would constantly perceive information shared by their fellow users as being friendly with the content being easier to understand. On a case study conducted on Instagram, perceived usefulness was to have significantly relied on believability of the system and its tendency in enhancing performance.

Ransbotham et al. (2012) argues that UGC can be developed through collaborative efforts. This equally relies on the characteristics of a given network linked to creation of content. The author argues that characteristics and types of UGC are more significant in predicting the popularity and the value developed through the content. Ransbotham et al. (2012) further noted that more attention should be paid to the characteristics of UGC. First, firms should take note of the fact that UGC relies on the contributions from the users of a particular product or brand than the company or companies selling the same product. The second characteristic is that the contributions are significantly creative in nature with users attracted to always adding something new. Finally, UGC is characterized by ideas as well as contributions, which are commonly posted online and can easily be accessible by others through the same online network or system. On the other hand, Zhang and Sarvary (2011) asserted that despite having common characteristics of UGC, there are different types of use generated content that can be accessed via internet forums where individuals are allowed to share ideas and touch on different topics. The common type of UGC includes the social networking sites such as VK, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter where the users are given room to interact through writing messages, chatting, sharing content, posting images and even links. Another type of UGC is the social commentary blogs, which are commonly websites that are developed by associations, groups and even individuals. Blogs carry with them the journal style text that paves way for interaction between bloggers as well as readers who can later comment on the content. Common blog hosting platforms include Typepad which is apparently used by most of the media companies, medium, logger and WordPress. Other blogging platforms include Sina Weibo, LiveJournal and Tumblr. Travel blogs such as the Points Guy, Head for Points as well as Adventurous Kate are also used. Another type of UGC includes photo sharing, which is made possible through photo sharing websites like Flickr. The latter can allow users to upload their personal photos and label them. Another UGC type is the retailers such as Fatwallet, eBay and Dealsplus. Retailers would allow their consumers to post, or even discuss and control the bargains as they promote the community.

Besides, videos games also form another type and carries with them the fan made content expressed in terms of fan translations, server emulators and mods among others. Websites also carry a huge chunk of user generated content. Some of the information sharing and entertainment websites include the inbound org., Newgrounds, Reddit, 4chan and 9Gag. Sites such as 9Gag are commonly known for giving room to users to develop or create memes as well as quick video clips, which can be shared to companies, and even other users. Buzzfeed, for instance, is commonly known for engaging readers with relevant professional communities through posting the articles. Video sharing and sharing of photos is also allowed in Artistshare, Kickstarter and imageboards. Role in brand reputation management The importance of User Generated Content can be noticed in many areas in both the business and organizational contexts. Liu et al. (2017) explored the role of UGC in brand reputation management. The authors noticed that UGC has been a great source of big data, which is commonly extracted from social media platforms, which are laden with the significant value that can be of use of brand managers. Liu et al. (2017) presented the latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) as well as the sentiment analysis of the 1.7 million tweets for the 20 brands realized across five significant industries. The industries included telecommunications, electronics, fast food, footwear and department store. From the findings, the authors could respond to some of the brand related questions associated to brand reputation management. First, it could be noted that promotions, service and product are some of the dominant topics when customers interact with either the products or brands on the Twitter platform. Besides, consumer sentiments towards particular brands tend to vary across the industries and finally, negative or positive tweets are likely to generate an accurate understanding of the brand

topics and UGC. Based on the three findings, it could be established that brand managers are easily served with insights, using UGC, in response to social customer relationship management, targeted advertisement and brand management. Based on these observations, customers are commonly engaged with brands across the social networks. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are known for creating huge amounts of data that touch on the experiences linked to the products and brands. Big data extracted from UGC carries with it the potential business value as far as brand management and targeted advertisements are put into consideration. Goh et al. (2013) further noted that business research on UGC provides numerical values like number of tweets or Retweets or even the rating scores. Further attention given to UGC has shown the essence of text mining and sentiment analysis, which are common in extracting the attributes of the brand or product. Such extraction activities still play a focal role in examining the position of the brands as a result of the product reviews. Extended views provided by Liu et al. (2017) show the essence of the LDA model and the quality dimensions, which could be extracted from approximately 350000 product reviews. This paved way for analysis of the relationship between firm intervention through brand management and the consumer tweets aligned to primary motivation. The application of the LDA model pointed out that a single comment on Facebook or a single tweet is enough to explore a number of characteristics associated to the product or brand ranging from product promotions to brand reputation. Negative comments on Facebook or negative tweets would obviously show the scale of dissatisfaction among the users or consumers. This would obviously provide a lead to what brand managers can do in restoring the position of the brand in market before consumers can withdraw their loyalty.

Role of SEO in boosting web presence of brands through UGC A research on UGC would similarly attract case studies on Search Engine Optimization. Kim and Song (2018) noted that with the growing use of the brand related UGC, marketers are paying more attention on how UGC can be incorporated in the marketing mix. This can be extended to the role of SEO in enhancing web presence with the help of UGC, which plays a focal role in content sponsorship. Kim and Song (2018) further argued that consumers are fond of sharing brand experiences on internet. This leads to the rise of the consumer brand related conversations with opinions floated on gift cards, money and even free product samples. The inferences of motives are commonly guided by the way consumers tend to perceive the persuasive attempts, which can appear to be manipulative, obvious and even sometimes seen appropriate. Such inferences commonly have an impact on the effectiveness of the information as aligned to purchase intention and brand attitude. Based on this, UGC is an enabler to the SEO in bolstering web presence in a number of ways. First, UGC feeds the search engines with fresh or new with the most relevant content. This is aligned to the fact that UGC facilitates ideation as well as development of the new content that is consumed by SEO. Most of the search engines require many resources before they can yield the intended results. In this case, the UGC plays a fundamental role in facilitating a dialogue between the customers and the brand. Secondly, UGC strengthens the SEO by naturally shaping its attributes. Such attributes are not limited to the internal links, titles, keywords, and backlinks. Most of the customer testimonials are largely product centric with phrases and links attached to the product. Besides, UGC is known for helping the site to rank for the long tail words. The latter denotes specific search phrases that bear low search competition that can

commonly be ranked high. Furthermore, the user generated content bolsters social optimization, which is a common practice on visual platforms like Instagram as well as informational avenues such as twitter and Facebook. The tendency of sharing customer reviews or even photos is essentially thought to instil trust to the followers. This can attract more comments, likes and even shares. Notably, more engagements imply that there is an increase in terms of the traffic on the site (Berman and Katona 2013). Lastly, user generated content is more ideal for manual and automatic optimization as far as search engine optimization is put into consideration. Established companies like Google essentially employ significant search quality rates which allow the company to manually evaluate the reputation of the site. Key tenets under observation include the truthfulness in the content, mastery of the topic as well as the authority of the content. The tactic is a significant section of the SEO checklist with ratings and reviews making it easier to facilitate the exceptional outcomes to relevant search engine queries as far as the brand presence are put into consideration.

Brand reputation management

Brand reputation management is a significant concept in the growing space of internet. A number of variables are thought to be in brand reputation management and these include quality of the product or a given service, friendliness, trustworthiness and visibility. Based on this, Dittmer and Emtö (2019) defines brand reputation management as a practice, which takes significant measures in controlling as well as influencing the variables mentioned above, In doing so, brand reputation management is said to actively shape the public perception for the purposes of dictating how consumers perceive it. The concept is largely coined around the understanding of the brand reputation as noted by Loureiro et al. (2017). The reputation of the brand is largely described as extrinsic cue, which is an attribute linked to the product. However, the attribute is commonly delinked from the product’s physical composition. The researchers have argued that brand reputation would consistently evolve and may entail the flow of information among the users. Reputation covers general estimation where a firm is held by customers, employees, competitors, suppliers and the public at large. Companies would consistently compete for the brand reputation because the one with the strong reputation would realize the highest sales prices. This implies that it would end up being powerful compared to the rest. Proserpio and Zervas (2017) believe that brand reputation management, as a concept constitutes a combination of the public relations and marketing. In some cases, the combination goes beyond touching on online forces such as search engine marketing. High rankings and even visibility largely supports good publicity. For most of the online brands, reputation management aims at achieving high indexing and rankings for the purposes of attaining positive web presence. Three steps are involved in making the concept to attract use that is more meaningful. First, brand reputation management aids monitoring, which entails tracking what is being said about the brand. Brand managers need to be aware of the fact that ordinary people carry a significant influence on the general public views as far as the brand is put into consideration (Balmer et al. 2011). Brand managers, therefore, would be required to track the opinion forums, podcasts and even blogs for the purposes of tapping into online conversations. Secondly, the concept of brand reputation management is built on the capacity of the brand managers to analyse the visible information affects linked to the reputation and the brand itself. Finally, the concept yields more meaning when brand managers stand a chance to influence the outcome of participating in the debates and conversations thereby

eliminating negative details and attitudes. Participation of the brand managers in the enhancing the reputation of the brand is likely to boost the perception of the brand. 2.2.2 Importance in sales and marketing Most of the companies substantially invest in repairing the reputation in fear of hitting low performances, which are accompanied by huge losses. This implies that brand reputation management is important or plays a very important role in sales and marketing. According to Allagui and Breslow (2016), brand reputation management is a value creation process as well as a hub for value network that connects company to its customers. Currently, brands are action based and they are said to have moved beyond the gestures, identities, and symbols. This implies that brands are growing into strategic business practice and would rarely be regarded as a subset of design, communications, advertising, and marking. It is worth noting that brand reputation as part of the brand practice takes its vision, presents platform logic, carries with it the necessary tools and resources, and has a customer creation process. Allagui and Breslow (2016) further noted that companies having a strong brand reputation stand a chance of enhancing marketing and sales programs, which would end up attracting new customers as well as recapture the old ones. For instance, if a promotion aids provision of an incentive to taste a new flavour, it would be more convenient if the brand is popular or familiar. Balmer et al. (2011) also agrees to the fact that brand reputation describes the brand’s actions, which conform to its ability in delivering the outcomes as needed in the sales and marketing context. Brand reputation management is a true reflection of the changing perceptions and the

current state of the product said to attract different perceptions from stakeholders. Brand reputation also informs on the components that play a focal role during the marketing process and when making sales as indicated by Balmer et al. (2011). The first component is positioning, which portrays the coherence between core values and brand’s vision. Notably, brand positioning denotes what the brand stands for and what it can offer in the competitive market. According to the means-end theory, brand positioning is aligned to a set of distinct capabilities, which are known to differentiate the brand. This also determines the brand performance characteristics that play a significant role in developing marketing messages or brand messages, which can be delivered to the potential market segment. The second component is personality commonly known for embodying the brand emotional characteristics as aligned to the core values of the brand. Most of the personality traits are essentially developed via associations accompanied by the typical user imagery, consumer contacts and even endorsers. Most of the brand managers need to be sure of the brand personality, supported through brand reputation, before conveying it through the employees and even external communication links. Another component is relationships between the brand and the customers. The relationship needs to evolve together with the inherent values of the brand personality. The consistency of brand relationship essentially determines the impact of the changes in the faces of the contributions made by customers, employees and other stakeholders. Lastly, brand reputation management is closely concerned with the presentation which needs to reflect customer’s aspirations. Consumers are known for responding positively to companies and brands perceived to be consistent in their self-concepts and presentation of self-images. Most of the symbolic meanings are also known for assisting most of the customers in comprehending the

aspects of self. Advertisements, therefore, need to contribute towards the symbolic brand meaning. This implies that brand managers are compelled to pay more attention towards the potential incongruity between the desirable symbolic meanings associated to the brand, and the ones conveyed through employee and consumer behaviour. Theories Reputation management in the face of brand management attracts a series of theories. Zinko et al. (2007) asserted that most of these theories converge at the basis of the theory of reputation. The latter covers the construct domain linked to reputation in the face of the collective perception or a belief that is agreed upon. The theory argues that individual actors do not occur instantaneously but tend to emerge over a significant period of period. Zinko et al. (2007) argues that reputation is largely a perceptual identity which is commonly developed from collective perceptions seen with others. This is essentially reflective of complex combination of the known salient and personal accomplishments, characteristics, intended images and demonstrated behaviour, which are likely to be presented over a given period of time. Notably, theoretical foundations of the reputation management, transmission and developed can be covered through a series of theories, which are still considered as constructs of the theory of reputation. The first theory is the social comparison theory, which was introduced by Festinger. The introduction of this theory aimed at evaluating the opinions and abilities of the people where no objective standards are availed. Notably, Festinger’s theory can be applied beyond abilities and opinions in relation to the personal attributes that contribute towards

conceptualization of the organizational or brand reputation. The theory suggests that people have a tendency of comparing themselves with others having similar characteristics or behaviours. Researchers have, over a period of time, developed into identifying chances of people engaging in upward or downward comparisons. The second theory is that of social information processing theory, which is believed to be an extension of the social learning theory. The theory argues that individuals need to consider the mental processes, which other people use while relating the social world before they can comprehend the way actions of other individuals can be perceived. People said to receive the cues based on social norms would commonly take or consider them as inputs. The behavioural response to such cues would be regarded as a significant function of the mental processes, which commence the encoding process through perception and sensation. The cues are essentially inputted through the selective attention, which means that their storage is never consistent. Another theory is the social contagion theory which denotes the spontaneous spread of both the behavioural and emotional reactions across a given group of people. Essentially, organizational actors would engage in social talks or conversations which can lead to a shared as well as socially construed interpretation of the immediate social environment (Balmer et al. 2011). Nevertheless, the communication theory still plays a significant role across the sender-message-receiver model. The theory argues that individuals commonly coexist across the markets of exchange with a section of them signalling the rest in an attempt to facilitate transmission of information that can alter or change the beliefs of other people as well.

Empirical Investigation on role of user generated content in brand reputation management

The attention given to brand reputation is even showcased in some of the empirical studies. Baka (2016) focused on establishing how the user generated content reviews as well as ratings can intensify the contingency of the significant organizational reputation as far as the travel sector is put into consideration. The study made use of the netnographic approach and TripAdvisor. The argument behind this empirical study is the websites that host reviews as well as ratings end up opening the communication channels with the clients. In the process, the brand managers are forced to embrace the reputation making mechanisms. In developing the case study design, Baka (2016) narrowed down to a real-life context. The study went ahead using the TripAdvisor as a unit of analysis linked to multiple identities that embrace numerous groups of interest. This considers the fact that there are millions of the users-travellers who can create content online and share it with hoteliers and administrators where necessary. Based on this, the study identified 14 semi-structured interviews with the help of TripAdvisor in the respective European offices. The interviews are said to have lasted for 44 minutes while observing the guideline provided through the semi-structured format. The findings first identified TripAdvisor as one of the public online spaces which gives room for people to share their opinions about restaurants, hotels and even attractions with the help of the user generated free text and the click-button rating categories. The encounter with Steven Kaufer led to the fact that TripAdvisor can at least attract more than 340 million visitors in a month who can post 225 million opinions and reviews. Hotels ranked top in the area indicated that the TripAdvisor Popularity Index led to the growth of reservations, which is a positive

outcome. At the same time, negative reviews would end up discouraging most of the visitors from booking the accommodation. This happened in an incident where a TripAdvisor member posted a negative review in the year 2007. The outcome is believed to have outraged the proprietor who went around looking for the author for the purposes of suing him or her for the damage of the hotel reputation. Another incident occurred at Brook Bran Country House, which is a hotel with 97% popularity ranking on the TripAdvisor. The hotel later discovered a negative review which claimed that the owner was a racist. The proprietor was frustrated by the review with sales going down in just one-week’s time. The case scenarios suggest that UGC is only a significant source of data that provides the brand managers with necessary details, which can inform their decisions on brand reputation.

Conceptual framework

Global Railway versus Air

This chapter presents a review of other case studies associated to research topic under consideration. First, the review paid attention to the concept of user generated content and types that can be encountered on online platforms. UGC has also found space in marketing and brand reputation management. The review also showed or expounded on how UGC empowers the SEO in ensuring the website presence of a given brand. Same attention was extended to the wide concept of brand reputation management. The review also touched on the theories attached to brand reputation and empirical studies attached to it.

References

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References:

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