THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING ACTIVITIES ON BRAND EQUITY, CUSTOMER RESPONSE AND PURCHASE INTENTION: A RESEARCH ON FAST FASHION BRANDS
- Sosyal Medya Pazarlama Aktiviteleri,
- Marka Değeri,
- Tüketici Yanıtları,
- Satın Alma Niyeti,
- Hızlı Moda Markaları
- Social Media Marketing Activity,
- Brand Equity,
- Purchase Intention,
- Customer Response,
- Fast Apparel Brands
How to Cite
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Today, social media applications are valued as an indispensable marketing channel for every sector. Developing technological and informational processes increase the power of social media and brands use this power to increase brand awareness and contribute positively to brand image. It can be said that social media marketing is not an option but a necessity in today’s digital world, where brand value is measured by the number of followers, comments and shares.
Social media, as one of the most potent weapons of marketing (Kawasaki, 2017) is defined as “channels where the individuals who make up the society share the content they produce simultaneously and directly access the contents shared by other individuals who make up the society” (Yüksel, 2019, p. 28). According to Kim and Ko (2010), social media has a dramatic impact on a brand’s reputation. Besides, social media, which is the global voice of customers, offers its users a customer-social media engagement point of contact that allows users to interact and share their experiences with any brand or person anywhere in the world (Chung et al., 2016, p. 290).
Social media marketing is taking its place in marketing literature with the use of social media tools. It is defined as the process of creating viral communication among online users (Pentina and Koh, 2012; Pham and Gammoh, 2015, p. 325), the process of popularising websites by gaining awareness on social media sites and making presentations in online communities (Tuan & Moretti, 2013; Pham and Gammoh, 2015, p.325), using social media channels to promote their brands and products (Barefoot and Szabo, 2010; Pham and Gammoh, 2015, p. 325).
The fact that today’s digital customers acquire information from search engines and make purchasing decisions in line with blogs and social media platforms where experiences are shared shows that social media marketing activities have gained importance for brands and is also supported by studies conducted in recent years. Social media marketing has achieved wide acceptance in business, especially in e-commerce, so social media marketing activities (SMMA) have a critical role in today’s business strategy. Yadav and Rahman (2017) have categorised social media marketing activities as interaction, trendiness, information, customisation, and word of mouth communication.
- RESEARCH SUBJECT
This study investigates the effects of social media marketing activities of fast fashion brands on brand equity, customer response and purchase intention. Also tries to find the most effective dimension of SMMA.
- RESEARCH PURPOSE AND IMPORTANCE
The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of SMMA of brands on brand equity, customer response and purchase intention. At the same time, determining the effect of brand equity on customer response and customer response on purchase intention was included in the study as another objective. Also, it was aimed to direct the brands in social media marketing communication by determining which or which of the SMMA dimensions come to the fore.
- CONTRIBUTION of the ARTICLE to the LITERATURE
It is believed that the activation of brands in social media increases the interaction with their followers, and they act as a magic wand in finding potential customers as a result of sharing the value they offer to the customer with personalised suggestions and accurate information. In line with this assumption, it is predicted that the study will direct brands that want to manage their social media activations to reach their sustainability goals and contribute to the social media marketing literatüre.
- DESIGN AND METHOD
- RESEARCH TYPE
In the study, the quantitative research method was used. Survey technique was preferred, and e-questionnaire was used to collect the data. In line with the judicial sampling method in the online surveys, “following one of the fast fashion brands on social media” was determined as the criterion. The sampling unit was tried to be determined by using the “Do you use social media?” and “Is there any fast-fashion brand you follow with interest on social media?” expressions. Participants who answered no to these questions were asked to end the questionnaire. Participants took part in the study on a voluntary. For the study, 353 e-survey forms obtained were deemed appropriate for evaluation.
- RESEARCH PROBLEMS
In this study, it was aimed to determine the perceptions of social media marketing activities on fast fashion brands. The relationship between SMMA and brand equity, customer response, purchase intention were examined.
- DATA COLLECTION METHOD
The questionnaire data set consists of five parts. The first part is prepared to determine the demographics of the participants. In the other parts, SMMA scale adapted from Yadav and Rahman (2017), brand equity scale adapted from Buil et al. (2013), customer response scale Khan et al. (2019) and purchase intention scale adapted from Maxham (2001) are used. In the measurement model, participants’ opinions about the expressions were measured by applying a 5-point Likert (5 = strongly agree, 1 = strongly disagree).
In the first stage of the data collection process, a pre-test was applied to measure the reliability of the research scale. According to the analysis results of the data obtained from 67 brand followers, the Cronbach’s Alpha value for all items in the scale was found to be 0.947. After the pre-test was applied, 353 data obtained through online surveys and suitable for analysis, were analysed.
- QUANTITATIVE / QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
After the data obtained from the surveys were collected, they were reviewed and coded by the purpose and nature of the research. The SPSS 23.0 program was used to analyse the data obtained. In this program, appropriate analyses (frequency, mean, standard deviation, regression) were performed, and the results were evaluated.
- RESEARCH MODEL
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The main hypotheses proposed for the research;
H1: Brand equity affects customer responses.
H2: Customer responses affect purchase intention.
H3: Social media marketing activities affect brand equity.
H4: Social media marketing activities affect customer responses.
H5: Social media marketing activities affect purchase intention.
- FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
- FINDINGS as a RESULT of ANALYSIS
According to the frequency analysis, 67.4% of the participants in the study were women, and 32.6% were men. It was seen that the groups with the highest age range are 34-41 and 26-33. In the list of social channels most preferred by the participants, Instagram was in the first with 62.3%, and Twitter was in the second with 13.6%. In the preference of fast fashion brands, LCW (22.7%) shared the first places with Zara (12.7%), H&M (9.3%) and Mavi (8.8).
The α coefficient for the whole scales was found at 0.932. KMO and Barlett’s test value for all scales > 0.50 and sig. value was found 0.000. The factor loadings of all expressions in the scales included in this study were found suitable for hypothesis analysis. To the factor analysis revealed that the SMMA scale consists of two dimensions and these dimensions, activity and like, explains the total variance by 60,340%. To the Pearson correlation results, there was a positive and significant relationship between all variables.
- HYPOTHESIS TEST RESULTS
Hypotheses are tested by regression analysis. According to the results of the analysis conducted to determine the effect of brand equity on customer response, H1 hypothesis and sub-hypotheses (β =.693; β =.571; β =.815, p <0.001) were accepted. H2 hypothesis, which was investigating the effect of customer response on purchase intention, was accepted (β = .725, p <0.001). CR explained 43.5% of the purchase intention. Social media marketing activities, which are the main factor affecting brand equity in the model of the study, explain the brand equity by 57.5% in general. H3 hypothesis (β =. 685) and its sub-hypotheses H3a (β =. 790), H3b (β =. 726), H3c (β =. 540), H3d (β =. 637) were accepted (p <0.001). When the effect level of SMMA on customer response was examined, it was seen that this variable was explained by 17.2%. Brand price premium was 6.9%, and brand preference was 20.6% explained by SMMA. In general, H4 (β=, 420) and its sub-hypotheses were accepted (p <0.001). Social media marketing activities explained the purchase intention of fast fashion brands at a rate of 25.3%. H5 (β = .560, p <0.001) was accepted.
- DISCUSSING the FINDINGS with the LITERATURE
According to the results of the study, Instagram was determined as the social media platform most preferred by the participants. This finding is similar to the We Are Social 2020 report. The LCW brand, one of the fast fashion brands followed by the participants on social media, ranks first on Instagram with the number of followers, fans and subscribers on the October 2020 Social-Brands list, and is also the most followed brand in this study. In the study, the interactivity factor within the activity dimension of SMMA and the trendiness factor within the like dimension was a more effective component of SMMA for customers. Yadav and Rahman (2017) identified word of mouth, Seo and Park (2018) identified trendiness dimension as the most considered of SMMA. The results of the hypothesis analysis examined in the study showed that perceived social media marketing activities had a significant and positive effect on customer-based brand equity in line with previous studies (Kim and Ko, 2012; Seo and Park, 2018; Bilgin, 2018; Sehar et al., 2019).
In this study, brand equity was positively and significantly associated with customer response as in similar studies (Bruhn et al., 2012; Kim and Ko, 2012; Seo and Park, 2018; Khan et al., 2019). With a similar result to the studies (Kim and Ko, 2012; Yadav and Rahman, 2017), it was determined that the effect of social media marketing activities on purchase intention was positive and significant. Consistent with the studies conducted in different sectors, in this study, it is seen that customer response explain the purchase intention in a meaningful and positive way (43%). It was seen that brands could improve their relationships with customers by using social media.
- CONCLUSION, RECOMMENDATION AND LIMITATIONS
- RESULTS of the ARTICLE
Analysis results have shown that social media marketing activities have a significant and meaningful effect on brand equity, customer response and purchase intention. Also, the effect of brand equity on customer response and the effect of customer response on purchase intention is found significant and meaningful. In the study, two dimensions were determined as components of SMMA. These are activity and like factors. The activity factor includes the dimensions of interaction, informativeness and personalisation, and the other factor includes the dimensions of trendiness and word of mouth.
- SUGGESTIONS BASED on RESULTS
According to the results, it can be said that social media marketing activities are essential awareness tools in terms of creating a place in the minds of customers and positioning brands separately from other brands. It is predicted that motivationally raising the awareness of the brand and creating a positive image will strengthen purchasing behaviour. Producing content, campaigns and competition programs on social media will create a positive image and awareness in order to maintain relations with customers. By this way, it will also be possible to evaluate customer views focused on image and awareness by making sustainable cooperation for brands. Moreover, this perception will be transformed into a real purchase. The results show that brands need to invest more SMMA because SMMA with an innovative perspective will help to create substantial brand equity and get a good response from the customer.
It is seen that social media is a potent stimulus, especially in brand preference. The fact that the visibility and activity of brands on all social media platforms will make it possible for its followers to share their experiences, tag their favourite products and convey their satisfaction. In this study, the effect of SMMA on price premium willingness was found to be relatively low. This situation is thought to be due to today’s uncertain economy. Based on the effect of economic conditions on the purchasing decision, the activation of the in social media gains importance with the campaigns that will highlight the value awareness of the brands.
In social media marketing activities, brands need to focus on two-way communication, respond to messages or comments, offer alternative solutions, offer personalised suggestions, share content, and provide up-to-date, accurate and comprehensive information about products. It is thought that the correct management of the process will lead to the spreading of positive word of mouth information and the brand to become a trend.
In general, it is seen that SMMA will be beneficial in creating brand value in the minds of customers for the fast fashion industry. It is thought that the present research findings will contribute to the theory in terms of the sustainability of branding and profit targets, and in terms of revealing the necessity of integrating marketing communication tools to include social media. It is predicted that the study will enrich the social media marketing literature.
- LIMITATIONS of the ARTICLE
For future studies, it is suggested to examine the mediating role of social media marketing activities with structural equation modelling. Also, working in different sectors and increasing the number of participants are suggested. The limitations of the current research are geographic. The study only reflects the results of the participants following the fast-fashion brand in social media in Turkey.
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