This thesis aims to explore the importance of micro influencer in building online brand community.



1.      The Subject

This thesis aims to explore the importance of micro influencer in building online brand community.

2.      Background

Social media is any kind of digital media which connects people by using some features like chatting, live video, sharing photograph or video and any other services. Nowadays, many forms of social media are generally used for marketing purposes. That purposes are such as growing visibility, traffic, generating leads and enhancing sales also in order to creating loyal fans (Statista, 2019). The revolutionary of business market has been developing much in recent of time by using social media. This advance is started since the appearance of the second generation of web service which is called the Web 2.0 era. According to Hollebeek (2014) and Brodie (2013), the Web 2.0 era is characterized by two-way interactions between consumers and company, with a sharp contrast to more one-way conventional media. By this interactive communication in the Web 2.0 era through social media, customers are able to respond and also to develop related-brand communication itself.

Based on statista (2019), in January 2019, the result of 37.9% from the total 2.750 respondents shows that the respondents do a purchase transaction from 1 to 25% of the time after seeing online or social media advertisement. This rapid progress of marketing promotion by using social media from time to time influences many retailers to upgrade their marketing promotion from conventional style to be interactive style. Social media is used by the retailers in order to attract customer’s interest for the offered good and service and also to drive the traffic market to the each online store (Ryun and Park, 2020). In addition that purpose can be achieved by using some methods, the most popular method is collaborating the brand with the influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is a marketing strategy that uses the influence power as the key opinion leaders to acknowledge customers about the brand and the purchase decision (Brown and Hayed, 2008); (Scott, 2015). The influencer marketing can quickly drive the brand to the larger market rather than directly promote the brand to a large group of consumers.

However, influencer marketing as part of the social influence in which the influencer utilizes the behavior changed of the users in order to meet the demands of the social environment. Social influence may have an active or a passive effect for the users. Active social influence refers to observable verbal or physical encounters that are both understood and communicated between the parties (i.e. the actor(s) and the focal customer). Unlike active social impact, passive social impact does not require a clear and mutual commitment between the social influence and the focal customer. Despite that, the passive influence involves a one-way social encounter in which the focal customer is affected either by the users without social interaction or by the social knowledge which exists in that retail environment. (Argo and Dahl, 1919).

In addition, collaborating between social influence and social networking has many benefits for business market. The social networking has changed the way how people interact, link and influence each other (Jacobson et al., 2020). In 2018, the data shows that almost 89% of marketers estimated that the investment return from influencer marketing was higher than or comparable to other sources of investment (Mediakix, 2018). Marketing influencers transform to become an important part of digital marketing campaigns for retailers because many retailers claim that this modern form of marketing is effective to gain higher profits than before (Ki, Cuevas, Chong and Lim, 2020). The marketing influencers are used social media content to gather the interest of the users for the brand and service that are promoted. Furthermore, the content generated by the social media influence was found to be 6.9 times more powerful than the content produced by the studio (Ki and Kim, 2019). This success of the influencer marketing exponentially has risen, in 2018, 39% of marketers planned to increase the influence budget and then invest more than $100,000 per campaign (Bevilacqua and Del Guidice 2018). By this result, 42% of marketers intended to use influence marketing as the normal strategy instead of using it as a one-off, tactical initiative (Linqia, 2019).

A new study on trends in social media showed that 94% of advertisers that use influence marketing strategies can be considered as a successful brand (Ahmad, 2018). In addition, the influencer marketing generated 11 times of the Return on Investment (ROI) comparing with conventional advertisement. Due to the popularity and the existence of influencer marketing, the academic researchers pay a lot of attention to identify the characteristics of social media influencers that enable the influencers to gather more or less control over the followers (Arora et al., 2019; Audrezet et al., 2018; Ki and Kim, 2019). In order to know the result of the study, the researchers have viewed online advertisement from the social media of the influencers branded content then studied the effect that can potentially influence the follower decisions (Daniel et al., 2018; Glucksman, 2017). Furthermore, there is a growing need to update an understanding of social media and to build information further which can be met to the requirements of the social media marketing (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2013). The challenge for the marketers now is to see how the efforts can be paid off and how the practice of the social media can affect the important variable of the related brand itself.

There is a kind of marketing which is formed by the community that is related based on the attachment of the product or brand. (Hoffman & Fodor, 2010). Schouten and McAlexander (1995) described that the brand communities are the sub-culture of consumption which involves different sub-group of society that can select independently based on a mutual commitment to a particular product type, brand or consumer operation. The example is like the epic of Harley-Davidson "Posse Rides" in which the owners of the motorcycle gathered together with the management, it becomes the opportunity to take full advantage to tell the executives about what is the good, the right and the wrong side about the company. Furthermore, the product of the Harley Davidson brand is such the identity that keeps that group stick together despite the community membership which is from very diverse ethnic and economic history. This kind of human group can be identified as a brand culture community. The brand communities are obviously relevant and interest for both marketers and scholars (Schouten and McAlexander, 1995). In addition, the companies increasingly involve in building online brand communities (OBCs) to handle consumers because OBCs exerts more power and control on the brand and gives a broader sense of the brand relationship (Cova and Cova, 2002; Porter and Donthu, 2008; Fournier and Lee, 2009; Baldus et al., 2015). This form of marketing area can be categorized as micro-influence.

Micro-influencer is the common user or an individual person that has the right to speak in public, usually it has smaller amount of followers than the macro-influencer. According to Promise Phaelon (2018), the micro-influencers tend to focus for a narrow area and a small community of followers so that the efficiency of it depends on the dedication and trust. In this way the micro-influencer has more influences compared with the ordinary user because it shows that micro-influencer has 22.2 times more weekly conversation. Even though, there are various researches for the online brand community, this research aims to explore how micro-influences become one of the mechanisms to create an online brand community. Despite the value of online brand community (OBC) interaction, the term of the online brand mechanism remains a less study in current brand community analysis (Zhou et al., 2012; Sierra et al., 2016; Kumar and Nayak, 2018). Marketing Science Institute (MSI) and researchers have repeatedly called for the identification of factors that affect the participation of brand communities. This empiric research is to investigate consumer interaction with virtual brand communities (MSI, 2010, 2014; Hoffman and Novak, 2012). Dessart et al. (2016). Moreover, the internal reasons for customer interaction with the company also need to be identified and evaluated (Simon et al., 2016). Latter, social media-based on the brand groups are critical phenomena for advertisers to consider the dynamics and implications market. The society are made up of various groups of millions of individuals that communicate regularly, this area is like a perfect environment to seed the viral content, as the member of the group tends to exchange group message (Brown, Broderick, & Lee, 2007).



Research question

1.      How does the micro-influencer impact the building of an online brand community?

2.      How to explore the process of the building brand community?

Research objectives

1.      To investigate the impacts of the micro influencer in building an online brand community.

2.      To know the process of the building of an online brand community

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