Social Media for Millennial

Streaming Video Services: The Importance of Building Brand and Brand Equity on Social Media for Millennials

Introduction

Background of the research

The review of the purchasing behavior by Mizra (2016) identified Millennials as the largest group of consumer where they were over 75 million millennial consumers at the United States in 2015. The research also found that Millennials purchased products worth $ 170 billion within the year showing why they were an important cog when analyzing any form of business within the country. With the view of Millennials as individuals who are between the age of 18 to 35 years, the analysis of recent business and commercial trends shows that they are the main drivers of e-commerce. Kamau, argues that Millennials are the leading consumer base in the e-commerce as they have the highest rate of embracing technology.

Millennials own computers

In United States, 97% of the millennials own computers while 94% of them own mobile phones. According to Kamau, millennials are the leading group in the use of technology as they have adopted it in all aspects of their lives. They not only utilize technology for communication purposes but also use it to purchase products and services on the online platform. With the rise of online banking, social media and e-commerce sites, millennials have relied internet in all aspects of their lives that it may be difficult for them to suvive without the digital technology. Their use of online platform for social and commercial needs is expected to increase over the years as digital technology becomes cheaper and faster in future.

Consumption of television services

One of the areas that millennials have influenced is the consumption of television services. While in the past the cable television services such as NBC, CNN and Fox News controlled the entertainment industry, the high use of digital technology by millennials and the general population has led to new trends in the television industry such as the development of video streaming services. According to Solsman (2015), 56% and 53% of all consumers in the United States stream movies and television respectively. However, the streaming rate is much higher among millennial consumers as 76% of them stream movies while 73% stream television. Only 46% of all consumers watch the regular TV programs and among Millennials, only 28% watch TV at least once in every week.

Streaming technology and spend an avarange of six hours

According to Kamau, most of the Millenials have embraced the streaming technology and spend an avarange of six hours streaming in every given day. The research also shows that at least 75% of United States Millenials have one streaming device while more than 90% of the respondents pay for one streaming services that they utilize in watching online vedios. In their review of US millennials use of streaming services, BI intelligence (2015) found out that only 3% of the millennials have not used the streaming services. The  statistics showing how millennials have embraced the streaming technology explains why  traditional pay-TV companies have been forced to change their digital marketing strategies to retain millennial customers. Many cable companies such as Nickelodeon, HBO, Dish and CBS stream their programs online as a way of reaching broad customer base and to retain the market share among young consumers.

Netflix is the most popular streaming services

According to Rose (2015) Netflix is the most popular streaming services company among millennials as it had about 36 million subscribers by the December 2014. Hulu is also popular among young customers as it had an approximately 4.5 million subscribers in the same year. The company also earned undisclosed revenues from advertisements of its users who are not subscribed to its payment option. Despite its history as a cable media, HBO started its streaming services in 2015 with the aim of concequring the millennial market. By the end of the year, the company had acquired over I million subscribers who have a medium age of 35 years. The company has lagged behind Hulu and Netflix in the acqustions of millennial customers as most of its subscribers are slightly older when compared with the two video streaming company.

Hulu and Netflix shows that the development of the videos

According to kamau, the review of HBO, Hulu and Netflix shows that the development of the videos streaming business could not have been possible without millennials. The utilization of social media by the three companies when marketing their streaming services shows that the three companies have discovered the esiest way to reach to their target customers. The approach the three companies have taken in the use of social media to reach their target customers is however different. While Netflix and Hulu have utilized the social media in promoting and supporting their brands, HBO has utilized the social media in promoting individual programs. Vedio streaming companies have not only discovered the potential of social media in reaching their target market but also in creating meaningful relationships between the companies and their customers (Correa, Hinsley, & De Zúñiga, 2010; Spillecke&Perrey,2012).

Research problem

It is clear that HBO has adopted product marketing on the social media where the marketing strategy is aimed in distinguishing the company’s products for the products of its competitors. Neflix and Hulu on the other hand have adopted a brand marketing strategy in the social media where the companies aim in distinguishing their customers with the customers of their competitors. According to Kamau, the maor different between product and brand marketing is that product marketing focuses on marketing messages for specific market segments while brand marketing focuses on the broad market of a given entity. Brand marketing targets in influencing customers to choose the products of a given company on the basis of personal indentify of the company that is selling the products or services rather than the features or characteristics of the products that are being sold. There is hence need to understand whether brand marketing is a more effective that product marketing among video streaming companies when they are using the social media to create their brands among the millennials.

Research aim

The research aim of the study was study the importance of building brand equity through social media and how it will influence Millennials’ purchasing video streaming services.

Research objectives

The research aim was further broken down into

  1. To Identify the perceptions Millennials have towards the brand of Netflix, Hulu and HBO
  2. To indentify  the strategies and tactics that streaming video services have implemented on their social media platforms
  3. To identify the social media brand strategies that are more appealing and effective to Millennials.

Hypothesis

Streaming video services that use social media to support their overall brand equity instead of individual programs are better able to attract millennial subscribers.

Three Research Questions

  1. What are the perceptions Millennials have towards the brand of Netflix, Hulu, and HBO?
  2. What are the strategies and tactics that streaming video services have implemented on their social media platforms?
  3. What kinds of strategies are more appealing and effective to Millennials?

Research report structure

Chapter one of the research has reviewed the research background on Millennial consumption behavior and their use of video streaming services. It has also disclosed the research problem, the research aim, research objectives and the research questions of the study that was implemented. The literature review chapter on the other hand includes the theories of brand marketing and review of the literature related to the research question. The research method section on the hand explains the research methodology, data collection and data analysis methods that were used in implementing the research. The research approach will involve a survey among 40 students who use streaming services for the quantitative research. It will also involve in-depth interviews among employees of Netflix, HBO and Hulu. The finding and analysis chapter has given the results from the primary research and the discussion of the findings. It has also given the limitation of the findings. The recommendation and conclusions chapter has outlined the research conclusions by showing how findings have helped in meeting the research objectives. It has also given the research recommendations and areas for further research.

2. Literature review

2.1 Introduction

The chapter has outlined the different marketing concepts that can be utilized by video streaming companies in building their brand and brand equity in the social media. Before explaining the product marketing and brand marketing concepts, the chapter has outlined the theoretical framework on millennial relationship with brand concepts and the influence of social media to millennial consumers brand engagement. The review of current and past literatures has outlined how different companies have utilized the social media in creating and enhancing their brand equity and recognition.

2.2 Branding

Among the areas of marketing that has generated interest in recent years is the understanding of organizational brands. According to Kamau, branding refers to the images that customers have regarding he services or products that are offered by an entity.  While in the past there was a great focus on building brand through packaging and delivery of services, Kamau (2014) explains how modern marketers aim on creating organizational brands with the use of symbols, mission statements and organizational culture. An example is how Tesla Inc. has built its brand as an innovational and sustainable company in the motor vehicle industry.  Brand concepts on the other hand express the brand interests and how it influences consumer behavior in a given market. The concepts include brand equity and brand perception.

2.2.1 Brand perception

The concept of brand perception is based on the ability of consumer indentifying a given brand from other brands or the ability of consumers to recall the characteristics of a given brand. Brand perception refers to the different expectations that consumers have regarding the products or services that they consume. According to Kamau, the brand perception may refer to the perceived quality that customers associate a given brand. To ensure the perceived quality is positive, companies build their brand by involving celebrities in the advertisement of their products and involving themselves in issues that are dear to their customers. Kamau asserts that the need of having a positive brand perception is the main driver on why modern companies are involved in environmental conservation activities that are dear to most of the modern consumers.

Brand perception

Brand perception is also influenced by the relationships that companies have with their customers. How the customers are treated will influence their perception to the company. How an entity engages with its customers is a huge determinant of their support to its brand. By engaging customers in respectful ways such as the establishment of customer care services, companies are able to understand factors that reduce or enhance customer satisfaction within their entities.  Customers with a positive view of the brand of a given entity also encourage their peers to utilize the products or services that offered under the brand.

Brand exposure

 Among the strategies that companies utilize to create a strong brand perception include the creation of brand exposure usually with the use of advertisements. They then enhance brand attention by ensuring the advertisement attract the target customers such as the use of sport and entertainment celebrities in their advertisement. The third step involved is the brand awareness step where the advertisement is passed in the mediums where they can reach their target customers. In case of millennial customers, social media is the ideal medium in ensuring the customers have interest or the brand that is being promoted. The last step of enhancing brand perception within a given company is brand retention that is implemented through the enhancement of the product and services quality to ensure they meet the customer expectations.

2.2.2 Brand equity

Brand equity concept on the other hand can  be defined as the added value that is given to the products or services that are given  under a given brand. Brand equity refers to the positive or negatve features that are associated with the products or services that adds or deducts the positive views that customers have towards a given brand. Kamau explained how understanding the brand equity of a given brand is difficult as it is an intangible concept that explains how consumers feel, think and act to a given brand. Despite its financial value, brand equity is a psychological issue among the consumers of an entity that establishes the price that customers are willing to buy the products or survives offered.

Among the factors that are used to enhance the bank equity within a given entity include the perceived quality, brand awareness and brand loyalty that consumers have within a market. In their review on why some brand have high equity than other brands Kamau2 found out that the value of may be explained by either the financial or customer perspectives. The financial perceptive explains the brand value by looking on the discounted cash flows that can be generated from the brand while the customer perceptive looks upon the customers views, feelings and ties that they have built on using the products or services under the brand that is given within an entity. When a brand is widely known, the brand equity is considered to be high as there is a high number of customers who are willing to buy from the product. Brand reputation also affects the brand equity of a company as bad reputation leads to the decrease in brand value. A case at hand is how the brand equity of Samsung Company has been eroded due to their exploding smartphones.

2.3 Millennials perceptions on brands

According to Kamau, the rise of Millennials as an important consumer segment has created problems among brand builders as they find them to be elusive. The question on what consumer want in brand has been a major concern among marketers as they are unable to understand the Millennials customer needs and the effective ways in which their entities can build strong brands that incorporate the market segment. The different customers and purchasing behavior among Millennials in comparison with other market segments explain the challenges of building a brand that incorporates their needs among different companies.

Kamau asserts that the selective nature of Millennials is also a major factor on why it is difficult to build a brand that target market. Unlike other market segments, most of the millennials are exposed to a lot of information that help them in making purchasing decisions. Most of the Millennials also have a high level of education that helps them in making critical decisions on the products or services that they consume. Another key distinguishing characteristic of Millennials is that they are technology driven and have more purchase options as they can purchase their products over the digital platform.

In explaining how millennials are different from other consumers within a given market, Kamau explained that most Millennials are not loyal to brands. The study by Kamau found out that Millenials consider themselves as rational beings and are hence likely to buy products and services on the bases of price and features rather than focusing on the brand name. The fact that Millennials also consider themselves as independent thinkers also explains why they are more concerned on product features rather than the name that is associated with the services or products that they consume. However, the research by Kamau, found out that when the features of the products or services are high, Millennials customers will focus on the brand when making their purchasing decisions. Unlike other market segments where companies only had to built strong brand names, companies that target Millennials must not only have a strong brand name but must ensure the features of their products are high and the prices are affordable to the Millennials.

There is also the perspective that Millennials are highly knowledgeable of their brands and are committed to brand that showcase their social and cultural values. The study by Kamau, found out that Millennials have a strong brand loyalty and awareness that they share with their peers on the social media. In their review of creating of positive brand among Millenials, Kamau, found out that millennials respond to brand that target them individually or brands that have personal touch with their lives. The concession among many scholars is that Millennials are highly ware of their brands and are involved in the interacting, co creating and sharing information of the brands they love. Due to the rise of the social media, they have a high discretion on the brands that they want and play a strong role in identifying the direction of the brands of the products or services that they consume.

Kamau asserts that Millenials are not aloof to different brands as they actively engage to the brands that they feel they are connected to. They are likely to choose the brands that they can relate to such as the brands that bring out their image and that correlate with their indentity. However, as not  all millennial consumers are enthusiastic in the creation of new brands, orginzations that come up with reward systems in creation of their brands have a high number of Millenials brand engagement in comparison with organizations that lack any form of a reward system. The use of social media gives the  Millenials an edge in influencing the direction of the brands they consume as they are able to share their experiencies with their peers in an easy way. In case of a problem on a brand they consume, Millennials are able to share the bad experience and reduce the brand equity of a given company.

2.4 Millennials brand engagement and the social media

Among the concepts that influence consumer perspective towards a given brand is the level of engagement they have with the brand. According to kamau, brand engagement refers to the emotional, behavioral and cognitive investments among consumers when they are interacting with a given brand. Brnad engagement refers to the relationship that consumers have with their brands such as their willingness of influencing their friends to use the products or services within a given brand. With the rise of social media, companies have been able to built new platforms of creating brand engagement particularly to Millennials consumers who use social media regularly.

The research by kamau that showed how engaged consumers have high levels of brand loyalty, connection and satisfaction explains why most of the companies in different markets have aimed in creating brand engagement with different consumer market segments. When trying to enhance brands engagement with Millennials customers, Kamau explains how the use of social media such as facebook and twitter is an effective method in creating string connections between the target customers and different brands. The heavy use of social media by Millennials explains why they are highly connected to companies that utilize the platform in connecting with them. Unlike other market segments, Millennials utilize the social media in being actively involved with the formation of the brands that they favor.

With the use of Electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM) that can either be negative or positive, Millennials consumers are able to contribute to the growth of all aspects of the brands. Companies that require building strong brand engagement with the Millennials must be willing to involve them in brands development as a way of creating customer loyalty and brand support among the market segment. According to Kamau, the review of empirical and non empirical literature shows that brands that utilize social media have strong engagement with Millennials customers in comparison with brands that have not embraced the social media.

 However, their views are opposed by the research of Kamau who urged that brand engagement is built by different factors such as the quality of services and products offered under the brand implying that social media has low impact on brand engagement. He asserts that brands that have entred into the social media have been exploited by the consumers who use the platform in criticizing any marketing efforts that are made in building the brands. Kamau, explained how the use of social media such as facebook, twitter and Instargram in promoting the brands has been seen as invasion of personal privacy leading to negative engagement with the Millennials customers. The research carried out by IBM also asserted that consumers follow the brands in the social media not to build a relationship but to gain tangible vale from the brand that is being marketed. Customers will hence follow the brands that offer discounts, raffles and loyalty points in the social media in comparison with companies that do not offer any promotion on the social media accounts.

One of the concepts that have been developed in explaining how brands can build strong relationship with their customers is the social customer relationship management (SCRM). It is a business practice that aim on engaging with consumers of a company over the social meida with the view of building brand connection and loyalty. The strategy has been employed by companies that have customers whom use social media in offering criticism or complaints from the services or products offered by a particular brand. Kamau argues that companies that respond to consumer complaints when pushed by consumers have the ability of building strong relationship with the consumers as consumers will recognize their role in changing the direction of the brand.

Kamau asserted that not all individuals who like the brand in the social media are its customers. When customers choose the associate themselves with a given brand such as liking the brand page on Facebook or following the brand on twitter, they are referred to the online community of the brand. Being a member of the online community of the brand is the first step that Millennials connect with the brand to form powerful engagement. The type of social media engagement with a brand can also be considered as low or high. While some companies such as Apple Inc. has created a high level of customer engagement with their Millennials consumers, some companies such as Blackberry created week engagement with the target market, leading to their poor performance.

2.5 Social media marketing strategies to Millennials

2.5.1 Product marketing strategies

Definition of product marketing  strategy,  its advantages and limitations.

2.5.2 Brand marketing strategies

Its definition, advantages and limitations and why it is favored when compared to product marketing strategy.

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