Who are we? : Micro-sized companies’ corporate identity on social networking sites
Sammanfattning: Corporate identity is something every organization has (Bernstein, 1984, cited in Abratt, 1989, p. 69). Balmer (2001, p. 254 & 257) describes the concept with the question “Whatare we?”. Companies now recognize that a strong corporate identity is very beneficial because it can help them “align in the marketplace, motivate their employees, attractinvestments and also to serve as a means to differentiate their products and services”(Melewar & Karaosmanoglu, 2006, p. 846). Social networking sites (SNS), has become an integral part of both individuals’ as well as companies’ everyday life (Mangold & Faulds, 2009, p. 358-359). They allow companies to connect, communicate and share information directly with the target groups and also enables customers to talk to each other about the company (Mangold & Faulds, 2009, p. 358-359). The use of the SNS is easy and provides companies with a cost and time efficient method to instantly engage and connect with their target market (Bell & Loane, 2010, p. 213; Lacho & Marinello 2010, p. 128). Since SMEs have limited amounts of financial and technological resources, social media play a vital role for their ability to market themselves and their offerings (Narula, 2004, p. 153). There are lot of previously conducted research and studies on corporate identity and social networking sites, as two separate subjects. However, there is a lack of research of corporate identity and social networking sites combined and in relation to each other. The purpose of this study is to investigate and create an understanding for micro-sizedcompanies’ corporate identity and how they use the social networking site ‘Instagram’ topresent it. Moreover, to give researchers within this research field some guidance and practical recommendations for future studies in how companies’ corporate identity can be communicated via Instagram. To fulfil this purpose, five qualitative interviews with owners and managers of micro- sized companies, was performed. Via the findings from these interviews and with support from our constructed summarizing theoretical framework, we were able to answer our research question; How and in what way are micro-sized enterprises showing their corporate identity on thesocial networking site ‘Instagram’? The result from the study shows that what and how micro-sized companies present and display on Instagram, is a consequence from their corporate identity. Thereof, their use of Instagram is a digital extension of their corporate identity. This study also concluded that the founders of the micro-sized company personifies the entire organization, because they have the fundamental idea of what they want their company to be and stand for. Furthermore, it was seen that all dimensions within corporate identity are linked together and since every company has their own corporate identity, it is unique and difficult to copy. Moreover, this study provides insights in the lack of previous research about the relationship between corporate identity and Instagram.
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