Role of the Social Media in Corporate Reputation

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Reputation 2.0: The role of social media in corporate reputation - Case Nokia

International Business Communication Master's thesis Antje Grützmacher 2011

Department of Communication Aalto University School of Economics

AALTO UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS International Business Communication Master’s Thesis Antje Grützmacher

ABSTRACT 25 March 2011

Reputation 2.0: The role of social media in corporate reputation – Case Nokia Objectives - The objective of this study was to examine the role of social media in corporate reputation. In more detail, the study focused on the question if the participation of companies in social media affects their reputation. Nokia served as the case company to examine this objective. The study was divided into three research problem areas: (1) the study aimed at finding out what potential social media users were influenced by the reputational activities of companies in social media, and who participated in Nokia’s social media activities; (2) the study examined if social media users were potentially aware of the participation and reputational activities of companies in social media in general, and of Nokia’s social media participation in particular; and (3) the study observed if the participation of companies in social media positively or negatively influenced their corporate reputation in general and Nokia’s in particular. Methodology - The study used a single-case approach, consisting of qualitative interviews with four communication consultants, as well as a quantitative consumer survey among 284 social media users. Nokia was chosen as the case company, as it is a well-known and reputable brand, which is actively incorporating digital and social media marketing throughout its viral campaigns. Findings - The present study could not give a definite answer to the question if social media plays a role in corporate reputation. For instance, it seemed that neither the respondents’ awareness of Nokia’s presence in social media nor their participation in Nokia’s social media activities had a key impact on the evaluation of Nokia’s reputation. However, the few respondents that evaluated Nokia’s social media participation more positively or negatively also rated the company’s reputation correspondingly. Therefore, a relation between companies’ social media participation and its impact on their corporate reputation could neither be excluded nor denied. For this reason, it seems advisable to test the findings further to achieve more concrete answers based on a larger and more diverse research sample. Research limitations - To date, studies on social media are scarce, and the concept of corporate reputation elusive. Research models linking the two phenomena did not exist, enforcing the utilization of a case study whose results only deliver suggestive considerations. Practical implications- Communication practitioners should consider a combination of communication media to send corporate information to consumers. When using social media, a positive image can only be achieved when social media are not seen as a mere marketing channel, but a communication tool to start a dialogue with online stakeholders. In addition, the local and global level of social media services play a crucial role in reaching a target audience and, thus, have to be considered carefully, depending on the needs of the company in question. Keywords - social media, Web 2.0, corporate reputation, corporate image, Nokia, international business communication ii

TABLE OF CONTENTS
TITLE PAGE ...............................................................................................................................I ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................................ II TABLE OF CONTENTS..........................................................................................................III LIST OF TABLES...
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