Branding and Social Media: The Case of CNN, Essay Example
This paper investigates the efficacy of mobile applications on the marketing of various brands, which is this case considers how CNN, a top news network, enhances its brand via Twitter and Shapchat Discovery. Social media has emerged during the last decade as a forum through which information can be quickly disseminated to broad audience. Twitter, which launched in 2006, has become a significant tool in various political elections, especially in the 2012 presidential race. Because of the longevity of Twitter in comparison to Snapchat Discovery, CNN’s branding has been amplified by Twitter more so than Shapchat. However, Snapchat Discovery, according the CNN marketing strategists, can fundamentally change the way that the news and social media interact.
Social media forums and services such as Snapchat Discover and Twitter assist various commercial businesses and news outlets like FOX and CNN to actively participate in the dissemination of headline news stories through mobile platforms that reach a broad audience. A new function of mobile social networking applications, integrated marketing communication refers to a process for the planning, monitoring, and carrying out particular brand messages in order to forge meaningful relationships with consumers (Bampo et al., 2008). Twitter has emerged as a cheap, effective, and convenient platform for journalists searching for current news and information. Indeed, many reporters and journalists look to the internet to aggregate information and subsequently embed the information within journalistic discourses. A general typology of the roles tweets have in news stories can be found through a meticulous examination of tweets sent out by the news outlet CNN over a protracted period of time. Journalists often include tweets they render newsworthy or if the tweet bolsters a particular story and narrative. In some instances, the interaction between active agents on Twitter and/or controversial, individual tweets themselves provoke more news coverage on certain issues. This new discursive practice in journalism thwarts the balance of power between news sources and journalists/reporters. Recently, the mobile application Snapchat launched a news element called Snapchat Discover, which many experts believe will alter the face of advertising on mobile applications. While on the majority of social media users, publishers, and brands all fight for the public’s attention within the same space, Snapchat Discover embraces a divergent approach by situating content providers—along with the brands that advertise in conjunction with the providers—front and center. Both Twitter and Spanchat Discover as mobile, social platforms make invaluable contributions by offering CNN as a news source brand a forum to connect and interact with consumers.
Technology And the Ascendance of Social Media
The world today can effectively be characterized as technology drive, as social media platforms have emerged as avenues through which advertisers and marketing strategists showcase their brands in an effort to connect and interact with consumers. According to Chi (2011), social media marketing is defined as a “connection between brands and consumers…offering a personal channel and currency for under-centered networking and social interaction” (Chi, 2011, p. 46). The various approaches and tools for clear and effective communication between advertisers and customs have profoundly evolved as social media gains traction in almost every facet of life during the twenty-first century. As such, businesses need to fully comprehend how to utilize social media in a manner that fits into their idiosyncratic business plan, especial for companies and networks that seek to gain an advantage over their competition. Social media marketing has been researched by many experts, although the topic has only been broached via theoretical and empirical research rather than outlining the promotional benefits gained by retails from utilizing this marketing strategy (Chi, 2011). Knowledge of real-life mobile applications merit more formalized studies in order to contribute to a corpus of literature that focuses merely on predicted outcomes and theory.
Researchers deploy a variety of measures in order to measure the efficacy of social media applications as marketing tools. Researchers take into consideration the Consumers’ Sentiment toward Marketing (CSM) to gauge how consumers view social media marketing. As a concept, the CSM refers to consumers’ sentiments towards the marketplace and the act of marketing (Mady, 2011). The consumer’s perception of the marketplace as a whole figures prominently in whether or not they are persuaded to participate in various consumption behaviors. To devise a lucrative campaign on social media platforms, consumers must be technology savvy and exhibit a propensity towards using new technologies in a variety of settings (Mady, 2011). Consumer technology readiness is significant for retailers and brand strategists when launching marketing campaigns on mobile social networks because social media marketing would be ineffective and unrewarding if the target market is unfamiliar with or does not use mobile social media applications. Assessing consumers’ technology readiness can be ascertained vis-a-vis marketing techniques through interactive marketing and advertising. Another instrument that yields significant information on a consumer’s willingness to familiarize themselves with and use new technologies is the Innovation Adoption Process (IAP). The IAP refers to the gradual progression through which a consumer undergoes via a process of innovation-decision that is comprised of five steps: comprehension of innovation; fomenting a perception of the innovation; the decision to reject or accept the innovation; administering the innovation; and affirmation of the decision rendered (Mady, 2011). Marketing strategists look to the IAP to implement a social media marketing campaign that is effective and rewarding. Indeed, social media has evolved from merely allowing consumers to keep in contact with their friends and family and now also provides a space for consumers to gather information about certain products, brands, and/or news outlets. Retailers and marketers turn to Twitter and Snapchat Discover to reach consumers and interact with them.
Twitter And CNN as A Viable News Source
Twitter experienced a meteoric rise in popularity as a forum to encourage consumers to interact with CNN as a viable news outlet. It has served as a significant mechanism through which CNN can build its brand, make CNN better known as a viable news outlet, and differentiate CNN from its competitors such as FOX news. Launched in July 2006, Twitter was quickly embraced amongst reporters and journalists, and news outlets have increasingly utilize in the dissemination of market stories, news, and to interact with customers vis-a-vis the news. Reporters look to Twitter to find and glean information as a legitimate source (Wakefield, 2012). Twitter actively promotes journalists to cite the social media platform as a legitimate source for news stories, which is why the company in 2011 launched Twitter for Newsroom. Twitter for Newsroom assists reporters who are unfamiliar with utilizing micro-blogging networks to find sources, publish information via tweets, and engaging the public in a cogent and efficient manner. Twitter’s rise in popularity amongst journalists can be attributed to the overall rise in its active users, and various influential persons use the network to articulate their opinions on certain issues, interact and relate to other persons, and to market themselves. While Twitter retains and communicative function for some people, especially for celebrities, its information function often supersedes it (Wakefield, 2012). The highly public nature of tweets nonetheless provide an avenue through which interaction is easy, and journalists can interact with possible news sources, find information, and ascertain the volatility of certain popular debates.
Often touted as one of the top three news networks across the globe, CNN and its use of Twitter must be assessed as integral to enhancing the image of the brand. Leading news media outlets such as CNN implements an effective social media strategy, although the brand is not immune to certain flaws. CNN’s perceived audience plays an integral role in how firms and organizations communicate with the public. As such, social networking forums are critical in converging traditional broadcasting with communication on the World Wide Web. CNN’s twitter account provides news coverage on current issues and a cast array of international topics in real-time with the expectation that the tweets all contain true information, thereby branding CNN as a trustworthy source of news. As mentioned previously, Twitter has altered the way consumers and brands communicate, and CNN evinces how news broadcasts can effectively collaborate with internet social engagement (Flynn, 2015). On Twitter, CNN mereley functions as an umbrella account that is comprised of various twitter accounts that cater to certain subject arenasL @CNNWeather, @CNNInternational, and @CNNPolitics, among several others. Sterin’s Mass Media Revolution argues for the efficacy of narrowcasting in order to send messages directly to consumers by devising “narrowly-directed messages that are targeted to smaller” and “more clearly defined audience segments” (Sterin, 2012). For CNN, each of its Twitter accounts has over thirty million followers, which is why it is of paramount importance for CNN to disseminate trusted information. Each of CNN’s accounts delivers concentrated data in relation to the category it represents. @CNNPolitics regularly tweets out information about the political climate at the national and global levels. Because Twitter limits tweets to 150 characters, CNN cogently provides a link to the full story for curious consumers to further explore CNN news coverage and thus drives internet traffic to their main webpage. In addition to linking tweets to stories, CNN also effectively utilizes hashtags and tagging in addition to the re-tweet function.
As mentioned previously, CNN’s marketing strategy reveals the news station’s desire to merge television broadcast with online technologies are highly integrated and interactive in nature. As such, the CNN television news channel encourages their viewers to post pertinent hashtags in order to facilitate online interaction. The hashtags would allow the viewer to partake in the national conversation vis-a-vis Twitter, which underscores the cogent strategy deployed by CNN to get viewers involved. One example of this branding strategy was one story a reporter discussed about the upcoming election and the possibility of Vice President Joe Biden announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination. After finishing the story, the reporter encouraged viewers to get on their Twitter and offer up their opinions and including the hashtag #NewDayCNN. This technique encourages audience involvement and trustworthy and informative journalism in a more traditional sense. One shortcoming however is that notion of whether or not the audience stays engaged in the national conversation after viewers send out their tweets. While gaining more Twitter followers enhances the image of CNN’s brand, it is necessary to maintain an ongoing interaction between the news station and the viewers in order to better serve them. As such, it is unequivocal that CNN views mass media communication and social media networks as platforms that facilitate audience engagement and participation.
Another cogent facet of CNN’s use of Twitter is posting various videos and images that effectively grab the attention of viewers through infographics and live-streaming. Providing news in real-time conveys news through authentic visuals and foments interest in viewers and Twitter users. To complement this strategy, Twitter launched Periscope, an new mobile application that enables interaction between the audience and video/live-streaming. CNN thus can conduct live broadcasts from anywhere across the globe, and concurrently updates the Twitter account automatically and encourage viewers to participate. Viewers can pose inquiries to the reporter who has the prerogative to choose which questions to answer. Because this mobile application is quite new, CNN must continue to develop its strategy and use of Periscope to better promote more active audience engagement. CNN establishes itself both on television, on the internet, and on Twitter as a popular, trustworthy, and highly regarded news station that disseminates trustworthy information. Social media has indeed effectively enhanced the positive reputation of CNN as a brand.
Snapchat Discover and CNN as A News Forum
Snapchat Discover recently launched in January 2015, which is why it is largely unknown to most consumers and businesses. Although Snapchat has grown in popularity because of its capacity to transmit photos that disappear after a certain amount of time, it has attempted to also become a trustworthy news source for its large audience (Stelter, 2015). Since the launch of Snapchat Discover in January 2015, the company claims that its news outlet has more than sixty million users every month. It features a vast array of outlets such as CNN, VICE, Cosmo, and BuzzFeed in order to appeal to a younger audience. Every twenty four hours, Snapchat Discover shares particular stories every day, opting to prioritize narrative over the number of shares and clicks. By presenting Snapchat Discover as a news-driven outlet that caters to what editors believe are important. As such, the content on Snapchat Discover varies according to outlet. While Snapchat users utilize the application on a quotidian basis, the majority of those users hardly look at the news outlet. Only 2% of Snapchat users go to Snapchat Discover on a regular basis because they do not believe that it is a veritable source of primary news (Stelter, 2015). This notion is attested to the fact that BuzzFeed and Cosmo—two gossip news outlets that generally provide human interest stories rather than actually news like CNN-are the outlets that are most frequently visited. The main problem is that 90% of Snapchat consumers do not believe that the application is a news sources for them. Because Discover is quite new, it has not gained traction as a top, viable news resource. Nonetheless, there is much potential because of its vast array of media brands in addition to its popularity and interactive updates it provides. As such, the application expands access to various kinds of news and retains the capacity in the future to fundamentally alter the way consumers access news via mobile social media.
CNN’s channel on Snapchat Discover will feature five news stories for a twenty-four hour period as chosen by CNN’s producers and editors. The snaps sent on the CNN channel contain a surprisingly large amount of content and context that are saturated with videos and images to draw in a larger audience. When a consumer swipes up, he or she will be able to see more text, background, and images . CNN views Snapchat Discovery as a great new form of advertising that would enable the brand to engage a younger audience. Indeed, CNN sold a sponsorship exclusively for Turner Broadcasting, which is the parent company of CNN (Stelter, 2015). CNN officials eschew the notion that young people are disinterested in news, which is why it has launched an outlet on Snapchat Discovery. As such, the premise of having an outlet on Snapchat is that younger generations will learn about news coverage on CNN through snaps, which will cultivate their interest in certain stories and propel them to seek further information either on the internet or on the television broadcast.
It is unequivocal that mobile social media forums have engaged the public at-large with the news because of how accessible the news has become beyond the traditional media outlets. Twitter has emerged as a potent force, especially within political circles when elections are taking place. By catering to younger audiences through social media, CNN has enhanced its brand name through cogent marketing strategies on the mobile application. Snapchat Discover is relatively new, which is why many Snapchat users are unaware of its existence or do not use it very long. It is recommended that CNN continue to invest in Snapchat Discover because the nascent application retains the ability to fundamentally alter the way that the news is presented and disseminated. Catering to younger audiences with interface and other mobile applications is a cogent strategy that will enable CNN to triumph over all of its competitors.
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