Article

Media Brands in Social Network Sites: Problems German media companies have faced and the lessons learned

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Abstract

Media companies differ from conventional product producing companies in a number of ways, which also influence their brand management. Based on the special situation of media companies that includes their operating in an environment of structural changes as well as their dual organization structure with the creative content production on one side and the marketing on the other, this paper introduces results of in-depth interviews with media managers in Germany, which were conducted in 2011 and 2013/14. The aim of these interviews was to gain an understanding of how the companies managed their brands in social network sites (SNSs), the problems they faced and the lessons they had learned. The interviews showed that many media companies have difficulties navigating in the new environment of SNSs, in which it is the SNSs and their users and not the companies that set most of the rules for how media brands may be presented. Most crucially, the interviews revealed that it is mainly the editors and journalists who create and maintain SNS profiles for the media brands, with no or only minor involvement of the marketing departments. The paper emphasises the role of an integrated brand communication in order to fully utilize all the branding possibilities that SNSs offer.

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