Supervisor: Anna Karina Kjeldsen Characters excl. blanks 175,916, M Rasmussen

Content: Mikkel Rasmussen (MR90779) Supervisor: Anna Karina Kjeldsen Characters excl. blanks 175,916 The effect of personal branding efforts of a top level executive on Social networking sites and its implications for the corporate identity, a case study of Hummel. Master of Arts Corporate Communication Thesis AU-BSS
Abstract This thesis investigates top-level executive's personal branding impact, through social media, on consumers' perception of corporate identity. It takes departure in a case study of the Danish apparel company Hummel and their top-executive Christian Stadil. The personal brand identity of Stadil and the corporate brand identity of Hummel are established through discourse analyses, with a multimodal perspective, in an effort to provide an analytical background for the main focus group study. The focus group session is composed of Hummel's intended target audience, which has been determined through a multimodal discourse analysis. Findings suggest that Hummel is dependent on the personal branding efforts conducted by Stadil on social media. The study provides evidence of the importance of personal brand identity of executives on consumers' perception of an organisation's corporate identity. Thus, arguing that top-executives' personal brand influence organisations' perceived corporate identity and reputation. Keywords: Personal branding, Corporate branding, Identity, Discourse
Table of contents 1. Introduction .................................................................................................................................. 1 1.1 Problem statement ................................................................................................................. 2 2. Methodology ................................................................................................................................ 2 2.1.1 Scientific position .............................................................................................................. 2 Antipositivism and positivism ­ core reflections on ontology...................................2 Methods ­ competing paradigms ............................................................................... 3 Assuming a social-constructivist position..................................................................4 2.1.2 Research design ................................................................................................................. 7 Defining mixed methods ............................................................................................ 7 Characteristics of mixed methods in this thesis ....................................................... 10 Presentation of the research design .......................................................................... 11 2.1.3 Method of analysis...........................................................................................................15 Discourse analysis & communication theory ........................................................... 16 Focus group setup.....................................................................................................20 Data analysis method................................................................................................ 24 3. Theoretical background..............................................................................................................24 3.1 Corporate branding..............................................................................................................24 3.1.1 The first wave (marketing and campaign focus)..........................................................25
3.1.2 The second wave (strategic integration) ...................................................................... 26 3.1.3 A third wave of corporate branding ............................................................................. 29 3.2 Stakeholder theory...............................................................................................................33 3.3 Social media ........................................................................................................................ 35 3.3.1 Web 1.0 ........................................................................................................................ 35 3.3.2 Web 2.0 ........................................................................................................................ 36 3.3.3 Defining social media .................................................................................................. 37 3.3.4 Defining SNSs.............................................................................................................. 40 3.4 Personal branding ................................................................................................................ 41 3.4.1 Defining personal branding..........................................................................................42 4. Hummel CBI analysis ................................................................................................................44 4.1 Corporate Website ............................................................................................................... 44 4.1.1 News section and text .................................................................................................. 44 4.1.2 About page ................................................................................................................... 45 4.2 Social media ........................................................................................................................ 57 4.2.1 Facebook about page....................................................................................................57 4.2.2 LinkedIn about page..................................................................................................... 59 5. Christian Stadil PBI ­ analysis................................................................................................... 60 5.1 Approach and disclaimer.....................................................................................................60
5.2 Analysis fall 2014................................................................................................................60 5.3 Analysis spring 2015 ........................................................................................................... 64 6. Hummel's audience archetype ................................................................................................... 67 5.1 Corporate website .................................................................................................................... 67 6.1.1 Highlighted messages (current campaigns) ................................................................. 68 6.1.2 SBU pages .................................................................................................................... 73 6.2 Intended target audience ­ summation ................................................................................ 79 7. Focus group findings..................................................................................................................79 7.1 Focus group findings ........................................................................................................... 79 8. Conclusion ................................................................................................................................. 86 References .......................................................................................................................................... 88
1. Introduction Within the field of communications, vast and dynamic as it is, there are elements that can be said to be omnipresent. Those are influencers and context. Whatever, view one may have of information, as objective as one might be there will always be some sort of influence on the perception of a given topic. This is something many researchers agree upon, when discussing communication. Naturally, there are differences in opinion and alternate words for influence and context, depending on the chosen scientific approach to communication. However, it is a conclusive fact that modifiers influence us as living beings, when evaluating input from either environment, social upbringing, observations, culture or people. This thesis seeks to tap into a well-known modifier within the field of communication, namely people. For centuries, people have made a mark on history through their behaviour and more importantly because of their impact on their surroundings, giving them a reputation, which make them stand out from the rest. Arguably, some of the first celebrities in this world were the heroes of Ancient Greece, who gained renown through their deeds and heroics. Even back then, scholars saw the value of reputation. Socrates once said that `The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear' (In Karaduman, 2013 : 465). Thus, Socrates was one of the first to word the concept of personal branding of individuals. Today, the world has moved beyond the heroics of the ancient Greeks, but their reputation remains. People remember those who have had a profound impact on their lives and this is something, modern day organisations have been able to take advantage of in their communicative efforts. Corporate reputation and identity have in recent years been a great factor of influence, when consumers choose products. The reputation of organisations' has made for an increased focus on responsibility and sustainability in the corporate world, because good reputation has proved to be financially beneficial for organisations. Thus, companies has focused on establishing an identity, which their consumers can relate to and remember, so that the organisation stands out among the rest. One element of corporate branding and identity involves people; celebrities have been known to endorse products and organisations, some industries even rely solely on celebrity endorsements to sell their products. However, with the rise of social media, everyone now have a public personal brand (Karaduman 2013) and not just celebrities from television. YouTubers, Instagrammers and bloggers Page 1 of 91
have been known to become online sensations overnight, in part because of their personal brand. Now CEOs of organisations are realising the potential of personal branding. Instead of celebrity spokespersons, organisations make use charismatic CEOs who possess a positive reputation and can function as the face of the organisation. The role of CEOs has changed. It is no longer enough just to run a company, they must continuously rethink their organisation and adapt to an ever-changing environment. What they do and what they say have an increased impact on their immediate environment, but can correct communicative choices on social media make a difference to core customers' perception of a corporate brand? This is something this thesis seeks to investigate. 1.1 Problem statement How does the personal branding efforts of Christian Stadil on selected social networking sites influence the corporate identity of Hummel, and what are the implications of this influence on the public perception of Hummel as a brand? 2. Methodology 2.1.1 Scientific position The following section accounts for the scientific position of the thesis. It takes its point of departure in a reflection of scientific positions. The reflection concludes in an argument for the chosen scientific position of this thesis, as well as its research design. Antipositivism and positivism ­ core reflections on ontology Social science holds two polar perspectives, the positivistic paradigm, focussing on objectivity, and the interpretive paradigm, seeking a subjectivist approach to science. Kuada (2012) provide a disposition of the objectivistic and subjectivistic approaches to science. From an ontological viewpoint, the objectivist approach has the ontology of realism, meaning that `the social world is real ... [and] is made up of hard, tangible, and relatively immutable structures' (Kuada, 2012 : 73). The world is seen as being observable, and truth can be derived from the observations made about the world. The ontological viewpoint of the subjectivist approach to science is referred to as nominalism, which `assumes that reality is constructed by individuals in interaction with each other...' (Kuada, Page 2 of 91
2012 : 73). This viewpoint presents the world and reality as being constructed via the interactions made by people. If interactions are not made, no reality can exist. From an epistemological standpoint Kuada's disposition presents respectively positivism and antipositivism. Positivism seeks to `explain and predict what happens in the social world with an emphasis on regularities and causal relationships between its constituent elements' (Kuada, 2012 : 73). It is the core belief of any positivistic researcher that complete objectivity is achievable when conducting social science research, making the researcher ideally an objective observer of the social world. Positivisms counterpart antipositivism, which has associations with social constructivism, assumes that the social world is relative, making it impossible to understand without being `involved in the social activities under investigation' (Kuada, 2012 : 73). This antipositivistic approach is to be a cornerstone of this thesis, as it is the fundamental belief that knowledge and meaning is dependent on the context in which it is placed. The analytical elements of this thesis seeks to explore meaning making and its context by investigating the creation of meaning through language and discourses. On an epistemological level, this thesis seeks to combine two approaches to research, an interpretive and functionalistic approach. Both approaches to research are deemed valid in the context of the problem statement, which presents this thesis with a dilemma in terms of methodological approach and scientific positioning, as the analytical part of the thesis seeks to combine two, often polarized, research approaches. Methods ­ competing paradigms The above section touched upon polarized perspectives within social science. This polarization can be associated with the paradigm wars (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998). A Paradigm is defined as `the worldviews or belief systems that guide researchers' (Guba & Lincoln, 1994, in Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998 : 3). The wars-concept refers to the conflict between competing worldviews within scientific research. However, this paradigm conflict does not mean that the two systems are incompatible (Reichardt & Rallis, 1994). The perspectives listed in the previous section can be associated with the discussion of emphasising quality or quantity as a research paradigm. The interpretive approach is usually associated with qualitative approaches to research (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011), whereas, the functionalistic approach seeks to quantify placing it within the Page 3 of 91
positivistic paradigm (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998). Paradigm purists would argue that it is not possible to make use of both approaches without conflicting with the chosen scientific paradigm. Lincoln (1990), in Reichardt & Rallis (1994), presents the argument that the qualitative and quantitative paradigms are much too different to be combined, even though they may appear to seek the same ends (85). This understanding of qualitative and quantitative paradigms as being incompatible is referred to as incompatibility thesis (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998). This view of incompatibility is not shared in this thesis, as the research design is structured to be co-dependent and in a continuum. The thesis makes use of discourse analyses to establish patterns regarding personal branding and corporate identity, which has the overall purpose of providing a foundation for focus group work. The research design is elaborated on in section 2.5.2. It is the fundamental belief of this thesis that quantitative and qualitative approaches can be mutually beneficial and that `qualitative and quantitative [strategies] based on shared fundamental values is both possible and desirable' (Reichardt & Rallis, 1994 : 85). The combination of the two paradigms is referred to as a compatibility thesis (Tashakkori & Tedllie (1998). This thesis assumes a pragmatic position to research by combining both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The viewpoint of pragmatism is commonly associated with mixed methods research. Creswell and Plano Clark (2011) present pragmatism as an approach to research focussing on the question asked rather than the scientific methodology used. The pragmatic approach is appealing because it presents the researcher with a practical and applied research orientation, disregarding more rigid approaches to research (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998 : 30). Thus, pragmatism enables the researcher to make use of multiple methods (mixed methods) in answering the problem at hand (Creswell & Plano Clark (2011 : 41). The mixed methods approach to this thesis is elaborated on in section 2.5.2. Assuming a social-constructivist position The scientific position of this thesis, challenges the dogmatic thinking of scientific research as it draws on both social constructivism and pragmatism. The pragmatic approach allows for the adoption of a `pluralistic stance of gathering all types of data to best answer the research question' (Creswell & Plano Clark (2011 : 46). This thesis is inspired by the pragmatic approach to research, as it is acknowledged that even qualitative data needs to be able to be quantified to some extent. In other Page 4 of 91
words, the data needs to be generalised to a certain extend as to achieve a useful contribution to the field of study. The pragmatic viewpoint on scientific research allows for the combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches, as described above. The pragmatic benefits to research are incorporated in the overall scientific position as to enhance the thesis and its findings. Thus, this thesis assumes a scientific positon of social constructivism, drawing upon pragmatism. The rational for a social constructivist dominance is due to the nature of the main analytical data and method, as these are associated with qualitative approaches. When investigating the reality of constructivism one is presented with the viewpoint that reality is something that is constructed by the elements involved in the particular reality. In relation to this thesis, the elements include Christian Stadil, Hummel, consumers, and communication in terms of personal branding and corporate identity as being products of constructions. From the perspective of a social constructivist, this thesis does not intend to present ultimate truths about the highlighted elements. The objective is to gain insight as to how Stadil's personal branding efforts constructs a certain reality about Stadil as an individual and how this, in turn, contributes to consumers understanding of respectively Stadil and Hummel as brand entities. The core belief within the field of social constructivism is that our own social and cultural background influence our understanding of the world (Wenneberg, 2000). Kukla (2000) supports this view as he argues that our system of beliefs (how we understand the world and reality) are socially determined. However, there are many levels of interpreting the paradigm of social constructivism. Approaches to social research and the degree to which our reality is socially constructed is something that is debated within the social constructivist field. Constructivist researchers vary in how radically they interpret social constructivism. Wenneberg (2000) presents the scale metaphor in an attempt to illustrate the various ways of interpreting reality from the social constructivist perspective: Figure 4: The social constructivism slide. Adapted from Wenneberg (2000). Page 5 of 91
Figure 4 illustrates the different levels of interpreting social constructivism as a scientific position. The slide moves from perceiving social constructivism as a critical perspective (Social constructivism I) to viewing the field as ontology (Social constructivism IV). To view social constructivism as a critical perspective involves taking the critical standpoint that any phenomenon that appears to take the form of "naturalness" is not actually as such, but is instead a product of social constructions through time (Wenneberg, 2000). Beneath the alleged "naturalness" resides actual social influence and processes which affect our understanding of reality. To view social constructivism as ontology is the most radical position within the field of social constructivism. Social constructivism IV posits that the physical reality in itself is a product of social constructions and that reality only comes into existence if we have ideas and conceptions about it, created via our social processes (Wenneberg, 2000). This thesis operates from the position of social constructivism as a critical perspective, acknowledging that context, language, and meaning is a product of social processes and that "naturalness" is not observable and is constantly being influenced by social constructions. This means that the thesis recognizes that if the problem statement was approached in an alternate context, then the results would presumably differ from the findings present in this thesis. Additionally, the analytical elements of respectively Christian Stadil and Hummel, are also subjected to the current context this thesis operates within. The potential findings will presumably change, when applied to an alternate context. The thesis also incorporates the view of social constructivism as a social theory, or social constructivism II on Wenneberg's slide. To view social constructivism as a social theory one Page 6 of 91
acknowledges that the society we live in is socially constructed. This view is incorporated in an effort to explain how reality and social phenomenon are constructed and function (Wenneberg, 2000). Social constructivism I tends to deconstruct where social constructivism II seeks to explain the deconstruction by investigating the social phenomenon present in society (Wenneberg, 2000). Thus, the paradigm choice in this thesis presents the position that there is no ultimate truth and it follows the position that reality is subject to interpretation, making science subjective and a product of the interplay between the researcher and the researched topic (Darmer & Nygaard, 2005). The paradigm suggests a research design based on qualitative methods. However, some quantitative elements are incorporated in this thesis as to provide generalizable data towards the identity and brand positions found in the discourse analyses. 2.1.2 Research design The thesis employs a mixed methods research design. The following section will argue for this choice and explain the concept of mixed methods. The section concludes with a presentation of the final research design and its characteristics. Defining mixed methods The paradigm discussion in section 2.5.1 touched upon the argument of combining qualitative and quantitative approaches to research. This argument dates back to the 1980s where researchers began advocating for combining qualitative and quantitative approaches as a way to address the increasing `complexity of research problems, the legitimatization of qualitative inquire and the need for more evidence in applied settings' (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011 : 50). This development within the scientific community resulted in the establishment of a mixed methods research approach. Mixed methods research has provided researchers with the opportunity to combine qualitative and quantitative methodologies to achieve a more wholesome approach to their respective research (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). The mixed methods approach has been applied to many different scientific fields. However, it is a continued source of debate between purists within the scientific community (Schmeltz, 2012). It is the argument of purists that mixed methods research presents a problem regarding incommensurable paradigms and the mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, which is said to be incompatible Page 7 of 91
(Tashakkori & Teddlie (1998). Mixed methods provide a framework for the researcher to disregard dogmatism and use the method, which he or she finds to be most appropriate in relation to the research problem, making it possible to assume multiple methodologies and paradigms during the research. This can be difficult to accept for researchers anchored in either qualitative or quantitative research traditions (Schmeltz, 2012). Yet mixed methods approaches to research has gained in appreciation and use (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011 : 21):
The complexity of our research problems calls for answers beyond simple numbers in a quantitative sense or words in a qualitative sense. A combination of both forms of data provides the most complete analysis of problems. Researchers situate numbers in the context and words of participants, and they frame the words of participants with numbers, tends and statistical results. Both forms of data are necessary today. Many researchers has presented various definitions of mixed methods, however it is the definition by Creswell and Plano Clark's (2011) this thesis employs:
Mixed methods research is a research design with philosophical assumptions as well as methods of inquiry. As a methodology, it involves philosophical assumptions that guide the direction of the collection and analysis and the mixture of qualitative and quantitative approaches in many phases of the research process. As a method, it focuses on collecting, analyzing, and mixing both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study ore series of studies. Its central premise is that the use of quantitative and qualitative approaches, in combination, provides a better understanding of research problems than either approach alone (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011 : 5) Creswell and Plano Clark's (2011) definition addresses mixed methods research as something incorporating philosophical assumptions. These assumptions function as to inform and support the development of mixed methods in practice (Schmeltz, 2012). The philosophical assumptions within mixed methods research relates to the pragmatic viewpoint discussed in section 2.5.1, which allow the researcher to use whatever methodology, qualitative or quantitative, that is deemed useful in answering the problem at hand (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). The definition functions as a guide for conducting mixed methods research and shapes this thesis research design. Strenghts and weaknesses
Choosing a research design and method is a complex task to undertake for any researcher. Mixed
methods research adds to this complexity due to it combining seemingly incommensurable
approaches to research. Schmeltz (2012) has adapted a table addressing the strengths and weaknesses
of using a mixed methods research design:
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Table 1: Arguments for and against mixed methods research. Adapted from Schmeltz (2012 : 43).
Mixed Methods Research
Arguments for mixed methods research
Arguments against mixed methods research
- Words, pictures and narratives can be used to add
- Can be difficult for one researcher to carry out ­
meaning to numbers ­ quantitative research is
especially in case of parallel designs
weak in understanding context
- Includes weaknesses of both qualitative and
- Numbers can be used to add precision to words,
quantitative research
pictures and narrative ­ qualitative research has
- Time-consuming
difficulties generalizing
- Expensive
- Can draw on strengths from both quantitative
- A challenge to learn and master multiple
and qualitative research
- Gives the opportunity for both generating and
- Often requires researchers to work in teams
testing theory
- Problems of paradigm mixing
- The strength of one method can be applied to
- Methodological purists who hold that one should
overcome the weaknesses of another
always work within either a qualitative or a
- Can provide more complete knowledge and
quantitative paradigm
stronger conclusions through convergence and
- Problem of convincing others of validity
corroboration of findings
Schmeltz (2012) addresses the many arguments for and against the use of mixed methods research. She found that the main challenges, when working with mixed methods research is concerned with time issues, as mixed methods research is a time-consuming endeavour (Schmeltz, 2012). However, the benefits of using the strength of one research method to offset the weakness of the other is something, which makes the time-consumption issue worthwhile. Methodological purists argue that a researcher should not work within the two paradigms of qualitative and quantitative approaches to research, as these are seen as incommensurable. Reichardt and Rallis (1994) address this viewpoint as they find that the qualitative and quantitative paradigms share many fundamental values in terms of research, and are in fact compatible. Additionally, they argue that research would benefit from a partnership involving the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. This corresponds well with Schmeltz's (2012) table, where it is argued that stronger conclusions and knowledge that is more complete can be derived from the application of mixed methods research. It is for this reason that the mixed methods research design is incorporated in this thesis.
Page 9 of 91 Characteristics of mixed methods in this thesis The use of mixed methods in this thesis is limited, as the focus is on qualitative methods. However, quantitative elements do occur and it is therefore necessary to determine its placed within this thesis mixed methods design. Creswell and Plano Clark (2011) present four key decisions a researcher needs to consider when choosing the appropriate mixed method design. These are 1) the level of interaction between the qualitative- and quantitative strands, strands being the actual qualitative and quantitative elements within the research. 2) the relative priority of the strands, 3) the timing of the strands, and 4) the procedures for mixing the strands. Level of interaction The interaction between the qualitative and quantitative strands refers to `the extent to which the two strands are kept independent or interact with each other' (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011 : 64). This thesis seeks the interactive level, as the qualitative and quantitative elements are mixed before the final interpretation takes place (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011 : 65). Priority In terms of the priority of the strands, this thesis has an emphasis on the qualitative strand positioning the quantitative elements in a supporting role (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). The social constructivist position, combined with the problem statement generally positions this thesis in an endeavour to gain insight in to, whether or not certain communicative choices have an impact on customer perception. In other words, the thesis has an emphasis on interpretation and the construction of meaning through language and context. Thus, the quantitative elements are incorporated to allow generalizing about dominant discourses used within the qualitative discourse analyses. Timing The timing of the qualitative and quantitative strands refer to the temporal relationship between the two methods, the time the data is collected as well as the order in which the results are gathered (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). The timing of a mixed methods research design is classified in a concurrent, sequential, or multiphase combination (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). This thesis makes Page 10 of 91
use of a multiphase combination, as the research design contain multiple phases, of qualitative and quantitative strands. Mixing The qualitative and quantitative strands mix during the data collection process as the `results of one strand build to the collection of the other type of data' (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011 : 67). This type of mixing is referred to as connecting (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). The initial qualitative strand within the sequential phase of the research design is used as a precondition for generalizing in the quantitative strand that follows as to identity the dominant discourses. Presentation of the research design There are many types of research designs within mixed methods research. Creswell and Plano Clark (2011) presents six prototypical designs, which can be found within mixed methods research projects. These are the convergent parallel design, the explanatory sequential design, the exploratory sequential design, the embedded design, the transformative design and finally the multiphase design. The identified characteristics has assisted in the choice of research design and the best suited for this thesis is one combining the exploratory sequential design with the multiphase design. Figure 5 depicts the research design for this thesis. Page 11 of 91
Figure 5: A multiphase research design. The research design is divided into two distinct steps containing four phases. Step 1 contains a threephase analysis, and step 2 contains a focus group. Phase 1 of the research design is concerned with the identification of Hummel's corporate brand identity (CBI) and presents a discourse analysis of the organisation's social media platforms (Facebook & LinkedIn) as well as its corporate website. The SNS LinkedIn is incorporated as this platform presents a professional perspective of the Hummel CBI. The respective analysis of the corporate LinkedIn profile is conducted as to uncover Hummel's own perceptions regarding its CBI. Discourse analysis is commonly associated with the field of qualitative research (Daymon & Holloway, 2011). However, this thesis intends to provide quantifiable evidence as to depict the dominant discourses used by Hummel in the construction of the organisations CBI. Because of this, the qualitative discourse analysis is followed by a quantification of the analysis. The relationship between the qualitative and quantitative strands in this phase is one of a sequential design logic, connecting the qualitative discourse analysis to the quantification. The quantitative approach takes Page 12 of 91
the assumption inspired by the field of positivism that more exposure must arguably equal more impact, meaning that the more a certain discourse is presented, the more importance is contributed to that discourse. Phase 2 exchanges Hummel's CBI with a discourse analysis of Christian Stadil's personal branding communication on selected social media platforms. The SNS LinkedIn is not included in this analysis, due to the overall communicative purpose of the platform. LinkedIn is a SNS that arguably focus on the presentation of work-related achievements for potential employers and business associates. Thus, LinkedIn is not considered as salient a platform for PBI communication towards the intended target audience of Hummel and is therefore omitted from analysis. The sequential pattern from phase 1 is repeated in phase 2 and has the same analytical purpose, identify discourses (qualitatively) and identify the dominant discourses (quantitatively). Phase 3 of the research design functions as an audience analysis, and is separate from phase 1 and 2. This phase seeks to identity and present a stereotype of Hummel's intended target audience in an effort to gain insight in to the particular type of person, which needs to be targeted for participation in the upcoming focus group work in step 2, phase 4. The analysis takes its departure in Hummel's own categorisation of its target audience on their corporate website. The audience analysis is qualitative in nature as it seeks to construct an archetype of the Hummel customers. Thus, the phase provides criteria for a sampling of participants for Step 2 of the design. Step 2 phase 4 of the research design is a focus group, containing 4 people matching the archetype identified in step 1, phase 3. The focus group work is structured in three stages. Stage 1 involves the participants being presented with the modified results from the Hummel CBI analysis. The modified results refer to the adaptation of the identified discourses both individual and dominant discourses. The findings are adapted to the format of value cards, which are distributed among the focus group participants. Group members are then asked to select, which of the adapted values they personally associate with the Hummel CBI and why. The participants are then asked to discuss and evaluate the Hummel CBI and select which value cards they think fits the company. Stage 2 of the focus group work involves the presentation of selected communication made by Christian Stadil. The communication is adapted to posts and the participants are asked to provide an account of their impressions and select which statements made by Stadil they believe fits with the Page 13 of 91
Hummel CBI and why. The participants are then asked to re-evaluate the Hummel CBI in stage 3, having the Christian Stadil communication freshly positioned in their memory. Stage 3 is the critical stage, where it will be determined whether Christian Stadil, and is personal communication has an impact on customers' perception of the Hummel CBI. Focus groups ­ advantages & disadvantages The purpose of focus groups is to gain in-depth knowledge about issues affected by group settings. In other words, the focus group functions as to analyse and interpret participants' interactions with one another, and how meaning is created through this interaction. Daymon and Holloway's (2011) present the characteristics of a focus group: A focus group involves a group of people ­ often with common experiences or characteristics ­ who are interviewed by a researcher (who is known as a moderator or facilitator) for the purpose of eliciting ideas, thoughts and perceptions about a specific topic or certain issues linked to an area of interest. The ultimate goal in focus group interviewing is to see the topic (which may concern a service, product or issue) from the participants' point of view (Daymon & Holloway, 2011 : 242) Focus groups are dynamic, interactive and allow participants to socially construct their views, making room for more in-depth knowledge creation and attitude change, on for instance the topic of brand perception. Focus groups allow the researcher to perceive the participants interactions and their reactions when agreeing and disagreeing in groups (Daymon & Holloway, 2011 : 242). The method makes it possible for the researcher to examine how participants work out a common viewpoint and more importantly why they feel or think the way that they do (Daymon & Holloway, 2011 : 242). Morgan (1997, in: Halkier, 2012 : 14) finds that one of the great benefits of focus groups is that the Social interactions function as a source for data collection. The different experiences and perspectives of the participants is collectively processed in the group, thus allowing for the production of knowledge regarding the complexities found, in the creation of meaning and social practices (Halkier, 2012). When a researcher conducts a focus group session, it is important to assume the role as an ideal moderator, to stimulate discussion. The moderator is expected to guide the participants to remain on point, however not to be intrusive and hinder potentially fruitful discussions (Bryman, 2012). Thus, the role of the moderator is to allow the discussion to flow but at the same time remind group members about salient issues, if the discussion is side tracked. With focus groups there is a risk of social control Page 14 of 91
dominance, meaning that some participants may dominate the group in a way that hinders other participants experiences and perspectives to be shared (Halkier, 2012 : 13). The role of the moderator is therefore also to ensure a constructive environment for discussion and ensure that participants are comfortable enough to speak their views in the discussion, so that no one individual assume control of the conversation (Bryman, 2012). The researcher must also take into account the potential groupeffects, which arise from social interactions. Focus groups may create a sense of conformity, or a tendency for polarisation, both of which would limit participants' willingness to share and interact (Halkier, 2012). Focus groups have limitations. Bryman (2012) argues that the researcher conducting focus groups has less control over the proceedings compared to conducting individual interviews. However, this lack of control is arguably the whole point of focus groups as it functions as to stimulate discussion and for the researcher to observe how the participants feel about a topic and how they interact with one another. Yet the issue of control is something a researcher needs to be aware of and consider, when planning and conducting a focus group. Another issue is that focus groups are time-consuming to undertake, as the sessions provide the researcher with a large amount of data to be transcribed and analysed (Bryman, 2012). There is also the issue of securing agreements of people to participate. Incentives are usually provided as to limit the amount of people who do not show at the session, to further reduce this risk researchers tend to over recruit for focus groups as to offset the risk of people not attending (Bryman, 2012). Arguably, brand perceptions are subjected to the context in which they are discussed, and for that reason focus groups are thought of as, particularly beneficial for this thesis. 2.1.3 Method of analysis The overall analytical frame of this thesis is a comparative design logic. The thesis seeks to compare the discourses identified in Christian Stadil's personal branding efforts with discourses presented by Hummel in an effort to construct their CBI. The comparative design logic is applicable to both qualitative and quantitative studies (Bryman, 2012 : 72) and the analysis of Stadil's PBI and Hummel's CBI serve to form a background study for a focus group session. The focus group is subjected to transcription, categorization and interpretation analysis in an effort to answer the problem statement. Page 15 of 91 Discourse analysis & communication theory The dominant analytical methodology in this thesis is one of discourse analyses with a multimodal perspective. This method is applied to the entire first step of the research design, with slight variations in each phase. These variations are addressed in the individual analytical sections. Communication theory From a communication theory perspective, discourse analysis functions as a tool for analysing communication, be it either from the point of view of transmission or two-way communication. Theodorson & Theodorson (1969) define communication as: `the transmission of information, ideas, attitudes, or emotion from one person or group to another (or others), primarily through symbols' (In Windahl et al., 2012 : 12). Whereas Rogers & Kincaid (1981) view communication as `a process in which the participants create and share information with one another in order to reach a mutual understanding' (In Windahl et al, 2012 : 12). The two definitions illustrate the move from linear transmission type toward shared perceptions type (Windahl et al., 2012 : 12). This thesis does not consider communication as linear transmission of information. Instead, this thesis makes use of discourse analysis to understand the underlying messages found within the communication and what effect external, or peripheral, influencers have on the communication and how it may be perceived through discourse. This creates an understanding of communication as a dynamic entity, with multiple interpretations, depending on how messages are perceived on an individual level. Windahl et al. (2010) argue that communication is a dynamic process as `communication between sender and receiver develops overtime' (33). Dance (1970) suggests that the communication process is constantly developing adding something new to the process as it develops (In Windahl et al., 2010 : 33). Thus, this thesis is occupied with the context aspect of communication, and how this may influence the perception of the message, making discourse analysis, with a multimodal perspective, an appropriate analytical method for the thesis. The communicative context, considered vital in shaping communication, can be associated with the social- and cultural contexts in which the communication is situated. Gudykunst & Kim (1984) argue Page 16 of 91
that `all communication is intercultural' (In Windahl et al., 2010 : 35) thus all publics are considered as part of a culture or subculture within society (Windahl et al., 2010 : 36). Windahl et al. (2010) stipulate that social groups communicate differently and that group norms may serve as both an obstacle and enhancement to the communication. Increasing the importance of fitting the message within the norms of the group (35). This is very much applicable to this thesis, as the intended target audience, presented in section 5.2, is very specific both from a social and cultural perspective. Arguably, Hummel's communication is constructed discursively to the social and cultural perspectives in which the intended target audience is placed. When considering context, relationships and influencers as attributing to the perception of communication. For instance, Rogers (1983) argues that `communication tends to be more effective when the communicating parties share common characteristics' (In Windahl et al., 2010 : 37), this view presents people and relationships as key influencers in the perception of communication. An approach to the interpersonal aspect of communication is the two-step flow model by McQuail & Windahl (1983). The model enhance the relative importance of interpersonal communication and influencers/opinion leaders. Even though, the purpose of the model is to illustrate how corporations can use intermediaries, or opinion leaders, to communicate with its target audience, the model can be used to argue for the communicative power found in interpersonal communication. Windahl et al. (2010) argue that information travels spontaneously through interpersonal connections (71) arguably, increasing the relative importance of the interpersonal link between message and target audience. By considering communication theory, this thesis recognizes that communication is more than just what the communicator intends, depending on the recipient, and its influencers, i.e. interpersonal communication or relationships, communication and how it is perceived may divert from its intended purpose. "Environmental" considerations, such as social and/or cultural perspectives, may also influence perceptions of communication. Discourse analysis, with a multimodal perspective When considering communicative contexts, van Dijk (2011) argues that discourses can be interpreted differently, depending on language used and the context of the discourse (In Paltridge, 2012 : 3). The purpose of the language and context relationship in discourse analysis is to `provide a deeper Page 17 of 91
understanding and appreciation of texts and how they become meaningful to their users' according to Chimombo & Roseberry (1998, in Paltridge, 2012 : 3). Daymon & Holloway (2011) describe discourse analysis as a broad set of `methodological principles which are applied to both naturally occurring and contrived forms of talk and texts, including spoken, written, visual, symbolic and non-verbal language' (165). When conducting discourse analysis the researcher is interested in `communication processes through which meanings are created and expressed, and how these shape our sense of social reality' (Daymon & Holloway, 2011 : 165). Thus, discourse analysis is the discipline of identifying language processes through which meanings are created and maintained (Daymon & Holloway, 2011 : 168). This thesis approach to discourse analysis, assumes a social constructivist perspective as it takes into consideration `the relationship between language and the social and cultural context in which it is used' (Paltridge, 2012 : 12), when analysing communication conducted by respectively Hummel and Christian Stadil. The key focus of the analyses is to uncover what actions the discourses are doing and how and why these actions are used (Potter, 2004, in Bryman, 2012 : 529). Paltridge (2012) describes discourse analysis as: The relationship between language and the social and cultural contexts in which it is used. It considers what people mean by what they say, how they work out what people mean and the way language presents different views of the world and different understandings ... discourse is shaped by relationships between participants, and the effects discourse has upon social identities and relations (12). Ultimately, discourse analysis is concerned with `the bigger picture of language description that is often left out of more micro-level descriptions of language use' (Riggenbach, 1999, in Paltridge, 2012 : 12). Paltridge (2012) highlights that discourse analysis investigates the social and cultural settings of language use and assists in uncovering the meaning of particular language choices (12). As this thesis is focused on corporate- and personal brand identities, it is prudent to address discourse analysis in relation to identity constructions. When investigating for instance Christian Stadil's PBI and the discourses used to construct his identity, the idea that identities are created through peoples' use of language (Paltridge, 2012) is drawn on. It is also recognized that the identity of Christian Stadil is not solely constructed by himself, but through the perception of others, as Blommaert (2005) argues that people are defined `both in their eyes and in the eyes of others' (In Paltridge, 2012 : 24). When Page 18 of 91
dealing with online identities discourses function as `an ongoing process of establishing who we are, and who we want ... to be' (Paltridge, 2012 : 25), meaning that when Stadil addresses his personal identity through discourse, he continuously constructs an identity portraying his desired identity, which does not necessarily portray his actual identity (Paltridge, 2012). The thesis implements of a multimodal perspective in the discourse analyses. This is done to investigate how visual elements contribute to the overall communicative value of the discourses. According to Paltridge (2012) multimodal discourse analyses tend to give less attention to aspects of language that is considered important in regular discourse analysis (181). It is for this reason that a complete multimodal discourse analysis is not conducted. Instead, multimodal elements and perspectives are considered when evaluation the communication of Hummel and Stadil. The multimodal perspectives identified in the discourse analyses are thought of as providing attributive meanings to the written discourse. Where written discourses are concerned with the content of the text (ideational), the relationships presented in the text (interpersonal) and the structure of the message (textual), multimodal considerations focus on the visual elements and how they contribute to the overall ideational, interpersonal and textual meanings in the text (Paltridge, 2012 : 171). Arguably, when dealing with any digital media, a multimodal perspective is needed. SNSs such as Facebook, is constructed to be multimodal, by combining visuals with text. There is also a tendency for new SNSs such as Instagram to focus more on visuals as a method of conveying social interactions in the online sphere, which is the rationale for incorporating a multimodal perspective in this thesis discourse analyses. The final note, concerning the role and method of the discourse analysis in this thesis, is about establishing a Hummel audience archetype, to be used in the evaluation of focus group participants. Here it is the intend to investigate the communicated audience rather than conduct an audience analysis in the classical sense. To achieve this the Hummel international website is analysed from a qualitative interpretive stand point, making use of discourse analysis, with a multimodal perspective, as a method of identifying how Hummel constructs its audience ­ the who of the Hummel customers. Evidently, Hummel targets several types of individuals, this analysis will seek out the more dominant ones, based on discourses. Page 19 of 91 Focus group setup The focus group conducted is structured as to contain 4 participants. These participants are selected based on an audience archetype, determined in section 5.2. This thesis touched upon the strengths and weaknesses of using focus groups for data collection in section 2.5.2. There is however a series of methodological choices which has to be made prior to the establishment of a focus group. Chief of which is who should take part in the group. This thesis has conducted an audience analysis, which serve as to indicate an audience archetype. Thus, Hummel's intended target audience functions as a typology of who should participate in the focus group. Halkier (2012) argues that the process of selecting focus group participants should be analytically selective (27), which is why the thesis incorporates an analysis of Hummel's intended target audience. The focus group is structured to include three overall topics, as mentioned in section 2.5.2, and figure 5. The focus group itself has four stages. The first stage functions as an introduction to the focus group. An introductory round in focus group sessions are seen as a good "ice-breaker" and ensure that all participants get comfortable speaking in the group early on (Halkier, 2012 : 52). In the introduction, the participants are presented with the purpose of the study and they are encouraged to provide a short presentation of who they are. The introduction will also provide the participants with information as to what they should expect from the focus group, concerning style and participation. Halkier (2012) stresses the importance of making focus group participants aware of the fact that they are expected to discuss issue with one another and not with the moderator (52). The introduction is also used to explain the role of the moderator, Halkier (2012) recommends that the moderator expresses that he/she is there to learn from the group discussions and what role the moderator has in relation to the focus group session (53). The second stage is dedicated to the Hummel CBI. Here the participants are probed for their personal associations with Hummel. The group is then presented with an exercise, which serve to provide the focus group's perception of the Hummel organisation. The participants are expected to work together, discuss and ultimately select five "value cards" that they associate with Hummel. The "value cards" are composed of an equal number of identified discourses, used by Hummel to express their CBI, and made-up discourses. Arguably, if the group choose actual discourses used in the creation of the Page 20 of 91
Hummel CBI, then the organisation is successful in conveying their CBI towards its intended target audience. The third stage concerns Christian Stadil's PBI and the discourses identified in his Facebook posts. The participants are presented with prints of selected posts, which are found to be dominant on Stadil's profile. The dominant posts are found in appendix 1. The posts are divided into four posts from fall 2014 and four posts from spring 2015. The participants are asked to evaluate the posts and discuss their individual perceptions of the communication. The intended purpose of this is to uncover Stadil's role in relation to Hummel. In the final stage, the participants are asked to evaluate their work in relation to the conducted exercises and their discussions concerning Stadil's communication on SNS. The goal is to establish whether the PBI of Stadil influence the CBI of Hummel. The structure of the focus group session follow a funnel-model as described in Halkier (2012). The funnel-model initiates with a broad inquiry and then gradually narrows its focus, towards more specific questions regarding this thesis problem statement. This means that the moderator involvement, is more frequent at the end of the focus group session, as to ensure that the participants do not deviate too much from salient issues. Halkier (2012) argues that the funnel-model ensures a tight, as well as a loose control of the focus group proceedings and that by applying the funnel-model, the researcher provides the participants with ample opportunity for providing perspectives and interact with one another, yet at the same time ensure that the research purpose is properly illuminated (40). Additionally, Hansen et al. (1998) argue that the funnel-model is the most common in communicative research (In Halkier, 2012 : 409). Thus, the interview guide of the focus group is influenced by the funnel-model structure, moving from broad and abstract questions to more specified questions. Section 2.5.2, briefly explored the role of the focus group moderator. The level of moderator involvement is influenced by the funnel-model structure. A focus group moderator, operating within a funnel-model, enacts both a loose and a tight control of the proceedings. The chief task of the moderator is to facilitate interaction between focus group participants and thus enable social interaction rather than control it (Halkier, 2012 : 49). Pucha and Potter (In Halkier, 2012 : 50) assume a social constructivist approach to focus group sessions, arguing that a moderator must be able to do four key actions to be effective: Page 21 of 91
The moderator must ensure an informal atmosphere The moderator must be able to activate the participants The moderator must makes sure that the participants stick to the topic of the focus group The moderator must enable the participants so that they might produce varied opinions and experiences This thesis approach to the role of the moderator follow Pucha and Potter's list regarding moderator praxis (In Halkier, 2012). Halkier (2012) state that there are some ethical responsibilities a proprietor of a focus group must consider. It is for instance important that the participants are ensured anonymity and that their identity is protected (63). This thesis therefore only use the first names of participants, when addressing the findings, the transcribed material and the accompanying audio file of the session. It is also important that the participants are made aware of the purpose of the focus group and the role of their participation (Halkier, 2012 : 63). This is something the focus group session takes into account in its introduction round. Sampling & control This thesis approach to sampling is one of a "controlled snowball sampling." Halkier (2012) defines snowball sampling as the action of reaching out to the peripheral part of the researcher's social network (31). The process involves taking contact to a person within one's network and ask that person to find people within their own social network. The issue of being too familiar with focus group participants are thus eliminated, as the researcher do not know the participants beforehand. Bloor et al. (2001) cautions that focus group participants must not be too homogenous, as this would cause a lack of social exchange in the group interactions, nor must the group be too heterogeneous, as this would cause too much conflict and risk unwillingness to share perspectives among the participants (In: Halkier, 2012 : 28). It is because of this that Halkier (2012) recommends a screening process, or control, of potential focus group participants as to ensure a balanced pool of participants. Control The potential participants are subjected to a series of control questions that are meant to determine, to what degree the subject can be considered part of the Hummel archetype. These questions take the Page 22 of 91
form of a short questionnaire. In short the purpose of the questionnaire is to make sure that the focus group participants fit Halkier's (2012) demand for analytic selectiveness (27), when sampling focus group participants. Thus, the questionnaire is constructed and aided by the findings in section 5. The questionnaire is conducted through an online survey vendor,, and the potential participants are asked the following questions as to determine, whether they fit the intended target audience of Hummel. The potential participants are asked about personal information such as first name, sex and age. They are then asked about their level of physical activity, their interests, and their status regarding parenting. The group is finally asked about their prior knowledge regarding Hummel, in an effort to figure out their existing relationship with the organisation. For the sake of remaining true to the goal of participant anonymity, the findings are generalised and no names are highlighted. The findings show that the focus group participants are 50 % male and 50 % female, they are placed within the age-groups 23-27 and 28-32 and is thus considered young adults. The level of physical activity in the focus group ranges from the occasional run to frequent exercise during the week and every day, making the group active but not too homogenous. Concerning group interests, the majority is active on social media and is concerned with their looks. Regarding interest there is a general tendency to be up to date and interested in both sports, technology and design. One individual follow blogs. When asked about their family situation/planning, the group varied. One would soon become a parent, another was a parent of toddlers (0-4 years old) and two expected that they would have children within 3-5 years. The participants prior knowledge of the Hummel organisation is one of familiarity, but not to the extent that they follow the company on social media. Two participants answered that they knew of Hummel and two participants answered that they knew of Hummel and owned one or more Hummel products. What is evident from the participants' replies is that they are part of the intended target audience of Hummel, they appear somewhat homogenous but has different activity levels, interests and different statuses concerning parenting (see appendix 2 for survey results). Page 23 of 91 Data analysis method The focus group data is collected through audio recording. The recording measures 1.21 hours and was recorded on the 11 May 2015 at Aarhus University. The audio recording has been subjected to transcription (see appendix 3). This thesis process of transcription follow Bloor et al. (2001) recommendations (In: Halkier, 2012 : 72). Bloor et al. (2001) argue that transcription should not be as detailed as it is the case in classical conversational analysis, however, there are some elements that need to be considered when transcribing. For instance should uncomprehensive speech, incomplete sentences and expressions be listed in the transcript, as these add to the creation of meaning in the focus group (In: Halkier, 2012 : 71). When analysing the focus group data, this thesis turns to categorisation, coding and general interpretation methods. Bloor et al. (2001) recommends coding and categorisation as a method of indexing the contextual elements in focus group data (In Halkier, 2012 : 73), meaning that each section of the transcript is categorized into codes and categories, which express something about the section of the focus group interview (Halkier, 2012 : 73). The codes and categories are used to establish what discourses the participants emphasise, when discussing Hummel and Stadil's communication. Thus, the coding and categorization of the transcribed data is done in an effort to condense the data and extend the underlying interpretations found in the focus group interactions. 3. Theoretical background The following section describes the theoretical background of the thesis. The first theoretical field to be elaborated upon is the field of corporate branding and corporate brand identity, including a view of how this thesis approaches stakeholder theory. The section then presents the field of social media, followed by an account of the personal branding concept. 3.1 Corporate branding The field of corporate branding operates as a parallel field to corporate communication, focusing on the management of an organisation's corporate identity and originated in the 1990s (Kunde, 1997). According to Hatch & Schultz (2009), corporate branding is a continuously evolving concept, which has moved through three waves of development. These waves are referred to as the corporate branding waves. Hatch & Schultz (2009) provides an excellent overview of the three approaches to corporate Page 24 of 91
branding. The waves focus respectively on a marketing/campaign approach towards corporate branding, the integration and strategic implementation of corporate branding throughout the organisation, and ultimately a network approach towards corporate branding. 3.1.1 The first wave (marketing and campaign focus) The first wave of corporate branding began in the mid-1990s and proposed two approaches to corporate branding. Corporate branding functioning as an extension of the organisations product branding strategies driven by a tactical and visual approach, and corporate branding seen as a strategic and integrated field within the organisation (Schultz et al., 2005 : 10). Schultz et al. (2005) have identified a number of authors who have contributed to the first wave of corporate branding. One of the more prominent and recognized authors is Aaker who have had a leading role in the development of the concept of corporate branding. Aaker (2002) follow the marketing approach to corporate branding, identifying four brand identity perspectives, which may be used to enhance branding strategies. Aaker (2002) argues that brands have four perspectives; brands as product, brands as organisation, brands as a person and brands as symbol. What is characteristic about Aaker's (2002) research is that its focus rests on the marketing aspect of corporate branding, and not so much the integration of corporate branding on the strategic organisational level. This view is characteristic about the early work within the field of corporate branding and caused the tactical and visual approach to gain appreciation (Schultz et al., 2005 : 10). Thus, the first wave of corporate branding was grounded in a marketing and campaign approach, where corporate branding was used as method for value creation and was generally applied as a marketing discipline (Schultz et al., 2005). Even though the first wave of corporate branding and the view of corporate branding as a strategic and integrated approach in organisations were different, both agreed that the fundamental role of corporate branding was to `give greater focus to the organization as a force of differentiation' (Schultz et al., 2005 : 11). Because the focus of early corporate branding was on the marketing approach, the possibilities to build relationships with the organisation's environment as a corporate branding strategy was consequently ignored. This meant that the first wave of lacked key concerns that today arguably is fundamental for the construction of sustainable corporate brands. Corporate branding was seen as: ... a field that did not necessarily consider the organization's culture, long-term stakeholder relationships and employee involvement (Schultz et al., 2005 : 11). Page 25 of 91
The first wave thus overlooked the opportunities in integrating branding throughout the organisation, as well as ignoring the stakeholder perspective found in corporate branding (Hatch & Schultz, 2009). Over time, the lack of integration within corporate branding meant that organisations experienced inconsistencies between what was said and what the organisation enacted. This led to the recognition that the organisation themselves, more so than the products and services of the particular organisation, was of increasing importance, when organisations were to differentiate themselves from their competitors (Schultz et al., 2005 : 12). 3.1.2 The second wave (strategic integration) Schultz et al. (2005) are placed within the second wave of corporate branding, as they argue that corporate branding should be understood as a cross-disciplinary and dynamic perspective that considers aspects of an organisation's culture and stakeholder relationships as an integrated part of the perception of the corporate brand (Schultz et al., 2005 : 16). Thus, Schultz et al. (2005) see corporate branding shifting from the marketing and campaign approach towards the overlooked corporate branding path, which view corporate branding as an integrated strategic approach embedded within the organisation. The move from classical corporate branding, i.e. the first wave, towards corporate branding as an integrated strategic tool within organisations, is, besides the lessons of the first wave, arguably a question of economic considerations and globalization. Schultz et al. (2005) highlight this by stating that the cost of conducting and maintaining individual product branding in a global market place is too difficult, whereas corporate brands are able to `expand the parameters of differentiation and enable companies to exploit their unique cultural heritage and identity' (Schultz et al., 2005 : 28). Additionally, the developments of corporate branding, as being embedded within the organisation, presented corporate branding professionals with the realisation that organisational stakeholders would possess more power. Schultz et al. (2005) write that: Corporate branding has developed as a response to increasing stakeholder expectations that companies become more clear, sharp and coherent when answering who they are as organizations and what they stand for compared to others (Schultz et al., 2005 : 28). Thus, the second wave of corporate branding focuses on the strategic integration of corporate messages to address increasing stakeholder expectations as to who the organisation is, as a method Page 26 of 91
of differentiation. The second wave presented a new and diverse view of corporate branding, introducing new branding concepts throughout the organisational structure. Employer branding is, for instance, one of these concepts that originated due to the development of the second wave of corporate branding (Hatch & Schultz, 2009 : 251). To view corporate branding as a strategic, integrated communicative concept, makes corporate branding a cross-disciplinary profession. To illustrate this Schultz et al.'s (2005) model of key concepts and disciplines integrated within the field of corporate branding is highlighted: Figure 1: Corporate branding a cross-disciplinary field. Adapted from Schultz et al. (2005) Figure 1 presents corporate branding as integrated in five different strategic fields. Arguably, these fields need to be considered, when planning and executing corporate branding strategies. Thus, corporate branding cannot be said to be solely a marketing effort, it is a strategic action integrated throughout all aspects within the organisation. Page 27 of 91 Brand alignment The cross-disciplinary nature of corporate branding meant that it was of increasing difficulty to establish a clear-cut view of an organisation's corporate brand, as corporate branding as a concept is dynamic and constantly developing due to historical developments, corporate culture and work ethics, as well as stakeholder relations (Schultz et al., 2005 : 48). Yet, Schultz et al. (2005) list four key elements that summarizes a corporate brand. These are the organisation's strategic vision, organisational culture, stakeholder images and corporate brand identity (CBI). The four elements lay the foundation for the corporate branding tool kit developed by Schultz et al. (2005). The tool kit focuses on brand alignment. Brand alignment is the discipline of avoiding misalignment between who the organisation claims to be, in relation to the behaviour and belief system within the organisation, the coherence between brand promise and stakeholder expectations, and or the alignment between the vision of top-management and the organizational members (Schultz et al., 2005 : 50). Thus, the tool kit invites for the analysis of branding gaps, if left unchecked these gaps may cause organisations to loose reputation (Schultz et al., 2005 : 51). Figure 2: Corporate branding gaps. Adapted from Schultz et al. (2005) Page 28 of 91
Figure 2 illustrates the general branding gaps, which may occur in the management of corporate brands. It is the goal of brand managers to avoid the gaps and work towards brand alignment. However, Schultz et al. (2005) present the argument that organisations should not be too focused on maintaining coherent brands, even though it is important to ensure brand alignment. It is argued that a rigid approach to corporate brand management may hinder dynamic brand development. Instead, Schultz et al. (2005) suggest that corporate brand alignment should ` seen as a longitudinal, large-scale coherence between the identity of the brand and the various practices and perceptions that constitute each of the different brand elements' (51). This presents the second wave of corporate branding with a branding paradox because: On the one hand, a corporate brand must express central ideas, symbols, and identity claims, which allow stakeholders to recognize and relate to the brand. On the other hand, the brand must be flexible, adaptive, and allow stakeholders to influence the brand as their needs and perceptions change over time and across markets (Schultz et al., 2005 : 53). The tool-kit attributes to the understanding of corporate branding as a cross-disciplinary concept that involves strategic integration of CBI throughout the organisation. The second wave prioritizes brand alignment and stakeholder interaction as being central to the value creation of the organisation. Thus, corporate branding shifts from a marketing perspective to viewing the concept of corporate branding as a product of the strategic integration of various disciplines within the organisation, as well as the interaction between organisational stakeholders in the development of the corporate brand, which are attributed great value in the construction and maintenance of corporate brands. 3.1.3 A third wave of corporate branding In recent years, global business relations has changed and with it the perception of power and influence within the corporate world. The power has shifted from corporations towards its stakeholders, which means that networks and stakeholders are of increasing importance, when discussing the concept of corporate branding in theory and in practice (Hatch & Schultz, 2009). Hatch & Schultz (2009) argue that corporate branding is entering a third wave of development, where corporate branding seeks to include and consider all of its organisational stakeholders. Thus, corporate branding encompasses the organisation's entire network. Hatch & Schultz (2009) address the third wave of corporate branding as `...consisting of the entire organisations stakeholder interests Page 29 of 91
and expectations' (253). The shift in power within the marketplace has turned corporate branding `...into a strategic asset of increased importance for senior management' (Hatch & Schultz, 2009 : 253).1 Consequently, this means that the managerial bodies of organisations will spend more time and attention towards interacting with stakeholders and engage the entire organisational network through its corporate branding efforts (Hatch & Schultz, 2009). The building- and maintenance of relationships now shapes a diverse communication process used, when managing corporate brands. The increased focus on networks within the field of corporate branding has proved useful in the attempts to define corporate branding. This thesis relies on a definition, which encompasses all three waves of development within the field of corporate branding: Branding based on corporations or organisations traditions, values or convictions, that are shared by all members in the company, which symbolically integrate the various activities, that takes place between the company and its key stakeholders. Corporate branding is a product of an organisations identity and is expressed through the connections between the company vision, culture and images (Hatch & Schultz, 2009 : 281). The definition presents corporate branding from the network approach. The highlighted sections of the definition illustrates the three waves of corporate branding, as corporate branding arguably is flexible in its movement between the waves. Corporate branding as a concept still make use of teachings in the first wave, i.e. corporate branding as a marketing approach, it also incorporates the strategic integration approach and now considers the network approach as well. Thus, corporate branding is left with effectively four approaches. 1) the marketing approach, 2) the strategic integration approach, 3) the network approach and 4) considering all of the corporate branding waves in the corporate brand management activities. Corporate brand identity (CBI) The previous section referred to CBI and in order to define CBI, it is necessary to present a definition of corporate identity, as this is an integrate part of CBI. This thesis definition of corporate identity takes its departure in Hatch & Schultz (2009) view of corporate identity. They view the concept as the central idea behind an organisations brand. The identity presents who the organisation is and what
1 All direct quotes from Hatch & Schultz (2009) are my translations
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it stands for. The corporate identity is a product of competitor comparison, what is said about the particular organisation and what the organisation believes itself to be. The identity of organisations is usually expressed through statements about organisational core values, central ideas and basic convictions (Hatch & Schultz, 2009 : 282). CBI touches upon these aspects of corporate identity, yet it is somewhat different. Researchers agree that the strategic management of brand identity is a vital activity for organisation (Urde, 2013), and the imbalanced branding focus of organisations usually means that branding is associated with products rather than corporate identity, i.e. the pitfall of the first wave. Urde (2013) seeks to tackle the misconception of applying merely external factors to corporate branding, i.e. the marketing approach. From a management perspective CBIs are a product of strategic intent (the second wave) focussing on `how management wants the corporate brand to be perceived by internal and external stakeholders' (Urde, 2013 : 746). However, Urde (2013) is occupied by the relationship between the internal and external factors affecting CBIs and presents corporate branding as a complex concept, where organisational culture and multiple stakeholder considerations function as an essential part of the corporate brand, i.e. the third wave. Urde (2013) argues that the corporate identity is essential for establishing CBI, as the corporate identity `describes the defining attributes of any organisation' (Urde, 2013 : 746). Additionally, Balmer (2010) argues that CBI describes a `distillation of corporate identity' and that `corporate brands are born out of corporate identities' (In Urde, 2013 : 746). Thus, corporate brands are a product of corporate identities and are constructed through strategic intend, considering organisational culture as well as the perceptions of all organisational stakeholders (Urde, 2013). Although, Urde (2013) is inspired by Aaker's (2002) arguments regarding core and extended brand identities, which state that the core brand identity functions as `the central, timeless essence of the brand' (Aaker, 2002 : 68) and `the extended identity includes brand identity elements, organized into cohesive and meaningful groupings, that provide texture and completeness.' Urde (2013) finds that this view is inadequate to function as a brand management perspective (746). Therefore, Urde (2013) proposes the Corporate Brand Identity Mix (CBIM). Figure 3: The CBIM. Adapted from Urde (2013). Page 31 of 91
Figure 3 illustrates the waves of corporate branding and ads a structure to the management of CBIs. The model is composed of nine elements that define the totality of a CBI (Urde, 2013) and considers external and internal factors, as well as the relationship between the external and internal elements attributing to the construction of CBIs. Thus, Urde (2013) has provided a framework that advocates brand alignment. Johansen's (2012) work on corporate identity narratives suggests an alternate take on corporate identities. Johansen (2012) supports the notion of multiplicity, regarding organisational stakeholders and corporate identity, briefly touched upon by Urde (2013) and Urde (2013) rightly considers stakeholder relationships as more salient than the previous CBI frameworks did. However, the CBIMs implicit purpose is arguably concerned with brand alignment as the goal of CBI management. It is the argument of Johansen (2012) that corporate identities are evolving as narratives and that organisations use a narrative vocabulary to tell multiple stories of the organisational corporate identity (Johansen, 2012). Thus, the narrative vocabulary used, concerning an organisation's corporate identity, functions as a divergence from the adherent obsession with brand alignment usually found within the field of corporate identity. Johansen (2012) therefore argues that `it no longer seems meaningful to view an organization as one consistent entity to be expressed in one story. Instead, the organization is born and re-born in narrative processes and networks' (Johansen, 2012 : 244). Johansen (2012) finds that organisations construct a number of different narratives, targeting multiple stakeholder groups, each having a different emphasis. Consequently, the notion of a uniform Page 32 of 91
corporate identity communicating core values, organisational attributes etc. should arguably be seen as a coherence discipline, and not as the goal of corporate identity communication. Boje (1995) suggests that organisations should not be seen as one story, but `rather emerges in multiple stories and story interpretations' (In Johansen, 2012 : 236) this presents the construction of corporate identity in organisations is a continuous narrative process, involving both the narrator and the audience (Johansen, 2012 : 235). The argument for the narrative vocabularies in corporate identity communication provides an understanding of how corporate identities are constructed and maintained. Johansen (2012) argues that the narrative stories of organisations do not `present or represent identity, but construct identity' (235). Thus, the organisation's identity is a product of `a discursive construction emerging from multiple identity-relevant narratives' (Johansen, 2012 : 236) Thus, Johansen (2012) argues that the construction of corporate identities involves multiple storytellers who contribute to the `identity construction from differing standpoints' (236) and that these narrative processes and networks are a central part of `conceptualising and understanding identity' (237). Thus, Johansen (2012) is placed within the third wave of corporate branding, as the narrative processes found in the construction of corporate identities is seen as a product of multiple narratives produced by both organisation and its stakeholders. 3.2 Stakeholder theory As corporate branding has evolved to encompass the entire spectre of organisational stakeholders, i.e. the third wave, it is necessary to define this thesis' approach to stakeholder theory. One of the most cited researchers within stakeholder theory is Freeman (2005) who defines stakeholders as `any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievements of an organization's purpose' (Freeman, 2005 : 122). Freeman's (2005) definition functions well with the third wave, which serves to integrate the entire organisational network in the development of corporate brands. Evidently, Hummel has a large variety of stakeholders, who can affect or is affected by the organisation, yet to keep a focus on online communication and a generalizable audience it is deemed necessary to focus on a single stakeholder group. Mitchell et al. (1997) developed the notion of stakeholder salience, which is based on the understanding that `stakeholders become salient to managers to the extent that those managers Page 33 of 91
perceive them as possessing power, legitimacy and urgency' (In Friedman & Miles, 2002 : 2). This provides managers with the option of defining who their stakeholders are. However, by focussing on defining "the who" of stakeholders to organisations, Mitchell et al. (1997) does not incorporate the dynamics of the organisation/stakeholder relation itself in their study (Friedman & Miles, 2002). Mitchell et al.'s (1997) outlook, with the organisation as centred in the stakeholder relations spectre, is commonplace within stakeholder theory, as Friedman & Miles (2002) found that stakeholder theory is approached `from the point of view of business ethics, corporate governance and/ or corporate social performance' (3), thus placing the organisation in the centre of analysis in stakeholder relations. This is discouraging a balanced view of the organisation and its relationship with its stakeholders according to Friedman & Miles (2002 : 3). This imbalance has caused Friedman & Miles (2002) to develop a new model of stakeholder relations, focusing on the dynamics of the organisations relationship with their individual stakeholder groups. Friedman & Miles (2002) argue that it is important to make distinctions between different stakeholder groups, as each group holds an individual relationship with the organisation and that the weakness of stakeholder theory `lies in the underspecification of the organization/stakeholder relation itself' (15). Friedman & Miles' (2002) model provides evidence that the organisation/stakeholder relationship is dynamic, thus arguing that different stakeholders may prove more or less salient over time (16) depending on the context of the relationship. Thus, when considering Hummel's stakeholders it is acknowledged that other stakeholder groups may influence the group chosen for this thesis. Furthermore, Christian Stadil may serve as an influent on Hummel's relationship with its stakeholders due to the dynamic nature of stakeholder relations, where outside factors influence how stakeholders perceive Hummel. The stakeholder focus in this thesis is on the Hummel consumer. This group is regarded to be of constant salience to Hummel. The audience analysis found in section 5, functions as a determiner for Hummel's intended target audience, which in turn provides an understanding of the Hummel consumer. It is acknowledged that the identified archetype of the Hummel consumer, does not reflect the entire stakeholder grid affecting Hummel and that other stakeholder groups might have different perceptions towards the Hummel CBI and Christian Stadil's personal communication efforts on social media platforms. Page 34 of 91
3.3 Social media Social media is associated with social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. and is a relatively recent phenomenon within the field of communication. Facebook has recently held its 10-year anniversary, yet despite its young age, it is difficult for people to imagine a life without social media. Social media is actively used across many technological platforms and does not only involve SNS. The technological advances within personal computers and mobile networks in recent years, has made social media an interwoven part of consumers identity. There is a variety of views of what social media is and why it is. Jenkins (2006) argues that social media is part of the increasing participatory culture that empowers users to produce online content. Andrejevic (2011), on the other hand, views social media as a product of structural affordance within the capitalist economy, where users are exploited for free labour for the benefit of corporations (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 2). This presents a researcher with two bipolar perspectives on social media: Social media functioning as empowerment of consumers or social media as a tool for the exploitation of consumers (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Social media has its origin in the attempts to commercialize the web in the early days of the internet. The commercialisation of the web is associated with a change in attitude towards audiences and how media is delivered to audiences. Jenkins (2006) argues that media are no longer delivered in sealed packages, rather the audience plays a participatory role in its creation (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 11). This change in attitude marks the emergence of the Web 2.0, the foundation for the development of social media. 3.3.1 Web 1.0 In order to understand the emergence of Web 2.0 it is necessary to examine its predecessor, Web 1.0. The term refers to the first attempts of making money of the internet. Companies and organisations saw market opportunities in the growing number of people in the online sphere and sought to monetize the internet users present in the new market (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Web 1.0 was shaped by banner ads and was generally treated in the same manner as the traditional televised media, including the audience (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). It proved difficult to earn a profit with this approach. The main issue was that the internet lacked the technological advances to maintain internet commerce (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Another attempt at monetizing the internet users were the establishment of "gated- Page 35 of 91
communities" where users could sign up, which would indicate a given market share for the organisation behind the community. This too proved a failure as users did not wish to be confined for subscription payments (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 14). The next attempt sought to guide internet users to particular content, as to establish exposure to a given message. This proved more solid and investors flocked to companies claiming to be able to provide web portals and web server software to attract user attention. In the 1990s the financial market entered a "gold-rush" mentality. However, massive overvaluation of stocks ultimately lead to the bubble in March 2000 (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 15). 3.3.2 Web 2.0 The bubble marked the end of Web 1.0. What characterized the online businesses in Web 1.0 was their attempts to control the movements and attention of the internet users. The term Web 2.0 is commonly associated with personalisation and content creation from internet users' perspective, which stands in contrast to Web 1.0. O'Reilly (2005) presents the earliest definition of the Web 2.0: Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and service in a form that allows remixing by others, creating a network effects through an "architecture of participation", and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences (O'Reilly, 2005, in Fuchs, 2014 : 32). The move from viewing the internet as a technological platform to be composed of a social embeddedness is something that has defined the use of the term Web 2.0 (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 17). O'Reilly (2005) was the first to note that the key to market dominance within Web 2.0 was network effects from user contributions (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 18). The notion of capitalizing on user contributions has made social media and Web 2.0 a popular occupation for many companies and organisations. Where emphasis in Web 1.0 was on content distribution, it is widely held that Web 2.0 has emphasis on users and their own contributions to the internet. Hinton & Hjorth (2013) highlight how Web 2.0 differ from Web 1.0, as they write: ... Web 1.0, which was all about reading or watching content, to Web 2.0, which is much more concerned with providing users with the means for producing and distributing content (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 18). Page 36 of 91
Thus, the internet has developed from being mass-media oriented, like televised media, to a media containing social embeddedness, where users-generated content and social communities has gained appreciation and popularity. The communicative value in Web 2.0 and social media is something Kirtis and Karahan (2011) touches upon as they argue that branding and marketing activities through social media is more cost-efficient and the more convenient channel for corporate communication activities to specific target audiences (In Karaduman, 2013 : 466). Yet despite its widespread popularity Web 2.0 is contradictory, as it is empowering and exploitative (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 20). The empowering features includes the decentralisation media content production, the increased accessibility of information and the decline of monopolised media (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Social media also foster a democratisation of the internet. Events such as the Arab Spring has been associated with social media empowerment (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 24). Social media is exploitative as people are increasingly dependent on the digital sphere, and SNS are used for segmenting people and online information, which is a commodity of increasing value for companies (Andrejevic, 2011). The internet activities of users are monitored, and every online action, provides information about the users. This surveillance issue with social media is something that violates the privacy of internet users (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 25). Chun (2006) argues that the control over online information has developed into a necessary precondition for what people today view as freedom (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 26). Thus, social media create an illusion of control (Chun, 2006), as the users' personal online sphere is in their control (power) to do with as they please. Yet the users need a platform to do what they want, and it is at this stage that a trade-off between the empowerment of users and exploitation of users takes place within Web 2.0 and social media. 3.3.3 Defining social media Social media is a broad concept involving many different aspects to communication, media and social theories. The participatory culture is something, which is often highlighted by researchers defining social media, and social theory cannot be avoided when addressing the term social media, as how people function in social settings arguably has a direct impact on social media use. Page 37 of 91
Fuchs (2014) has sampled a variety of definitions concerning Web 2.0 and social media. From these definitions Fuchs (2014) found that social media is associated with `collective action, communication, communities, connecting/networking, co-operation/collaboration, the creative making of usergenerated content, playing, sharing' (37). These incorporate the essence of social media. When defining social media this thesis draw on Van Dijck (2013): The very word `social' associated with media implies that platforms are user centered and that they facilitate communal activities, just as the term `participatory' emphasizes human collaboration. Indeed, social media can be seen as online facilitators or enhancers of human networks ­ webs of people that promote connectedness as a social value (In Fuchs, 2014 : 36). Thus, social media functions as an extension of human social actions, mediated via a technological platform. The purpose of the platform is arguably to stimulate human collaboration, interaction and promote connectedness between people. Fuchs (2014) argues that social media as a concept contains various forms of online sociality. This means that media as a concept functions as a techno-social system, where the technological artefacts enable and constrain a social level of human activities (Fuchs, 2014 : 37). Boyd (2009) provides a more generalized definition of the technological platforms and argues that `Social media ... is often used to describe the collection of software that enables individuals and communities to gather, communicate, share, and in some cases collaborate or play' (In Fuchs, 2014 : 35). Boyd (2009) continues arguing that social media is generally associated with user-generated content or content that is contributed to a particular community by community members rather than editors (In Fuchs, 2014 : 36). Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) describe social media as `a group of internet based applications that build on the ideological and the technological foundations of Web 2.0, and it allows the creation and exchange of user generated content' (In Karaduman, 2013 : 466). Its users do not passively consume the creation of content on social media, instead users actively generate social media content (Laroche, Habibi and Richard, 2012, in: Karaduman, 2013). Social media as participatory culture Participatory culture is a term used for describing the involvement of users, audiences, consumers and fans in the creation of media content and culture (Fuchs, 2014 : 52). The model of participatory Page 38 of 91
culture in opposition to the mass media model, characterised as having a one-to-many sender receiver structure (Fuchs, 2014). Generally, the participatory culture is seen as empowering, yet social media has also been associated with control and having an exploitative approach to its users, as debated earlier in this section. Despite the debate, social media remains a participative medium (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). The way users participate on social media is varied, and the consequences for doing so equally varied: Participation can take various forms of agency from user generated content (UGC), in which users forward content made by others, to user created content (UCC), in which the content is made by the user. Every time we participate we partake in various forms of labour sharing ­ from creative and social to emotional and affective labour (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 55). Jenkins (2009) is a strong advocate for the participatory nature of social media. Jenkins (2009) argues that social media enables consumers in playing an active role in spreading content, and that the consumers are advocating/creating content that are personally and socially important to them (In Fuchs, 2014 : 53). From Jenkins perspective social media is an expression of the concept of a participatory culture as `... fans and other consumers are invited to actively participate in the creation and circulation of new content (Jenkins, 2008 in Fuchs, 2014 : 54). According to Jenkins (2009) social media is a spreadable media. Spreadable media is a media type where audiences actively shape media flows, making culture more participatory (In Fuchs, 2014 : 53). Jenkins (2009) further argues that successful content, within spreadable media outlets, have a potential benefit for brands operating, on for instance social media, as consumer loyalty increase when consumers feel an emotional attachment to the brand, company, individual or franchise (In Fuchs, 2014 : 53). The view of a spreadable media can arguably be associated with the concept of word-of-mouth (WOM). WOM and eWOM Social media offers companies and organisations a variety of communicative opportunities, seen from a corporate communication perspective. One of the benefits associated with social media is the possibility for interpersonal communication on a global scale. Marketers who are able to cultivate a positive buzz about a certain content or market offerings stands to gain additional value to a given message. Kotler et al. (2009) talk about the interpersonal communication concept of WOM and argue Page 39 of 91
that it is an important aspect of social media, more specifically SNS. Kotler et al. (2009) define WOM as the `interpersonal communication of products and services (market offerings) where the receiver regards the communicator as impartial' (703). Kotler et al. (2009) highlight that both positive and negative WOM have had an impact on companies and organisations on SNS, which is why WOM has been attributed much importance from a corporate communication perspective, since the origin of social media. Traditional WOM has had a significant impact on consumer purchases and postpurchase perceptions in a face-to-face interpersonal setting (Kotler et al., 2009 : 125). However, with the increasing popularity of the internet and social media, a new concept regarding WOM has gained appreciation. Electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) is a product of social media and enjoys higher credibility than marketer-created sources of information on the internet according to Kotler et al. (2009 : 125). The rational for the increased credibility factor of eWOM is because commercial interest, ideally, does not interfere with the communicated content (Kotler et al., 2009 : 125). Hseih et al. (2012) presents the concept of eWOM as a phenomenon that `refers to any positive or negative comments made by customers about a product, service, or company that then become available to many other people via the Internet' (202). 3.3.4 Defining SNSs As this paper investigates a particular field within social media, namely SNS. It is deemed necessary to provide a definition of the platform. The core of SNS is the construction of social networks in an online sphere, cultivated by technological platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. (Hinton & Hjorht, 2013 : 34). This thesis rests on Boyd and Ellison's definition of SNS: Web-based service that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system (In Hinton & Hjorth, 2013 : 34). SNS share the benefits of eWOM, as highlighted in the previous section. In SNS content is attributed more validity from users if it receives a high amount of likes/shares/comments from other SNS users. The eWOM effect will arguably only increase in value if the user viewing the content knows, and have a positive opinion of the sender of the message, as the message is then attributed the perceived value of that individual's character traits and opinions. Page 40 of 91
Because of this, it is arguably important to maintain a good perceived positive self on social media platforms, seen from a personal branding perspective. SNS such as Facebook etc. allows for this construction of the online self and the personal branding of individuals. Thus, SNS function as a platform for the construction of individuals' online identity, which is constructed to match the individuals' desired self in the offline setting (DeAndrea & Walther, 2011). The relationship between the online identity and the offline identity of people using SNS contributes to the complexity of social media in general. Hinton & Hjorth (2013) touch upon the relationship between the online and offline world of social media and argue that online conversations may be more valuable for individuals, who have an offline relationship, whereas for others this conversation might be less meaningful. This view substantiates the interwoven role social media has in society, as the offline and online world at times merge as part of a greater social network. 3.4 Personal branding With the rising popularity of social media, and the increased corporate presence in the online social sphere, the concept of personal branding has gained appreciation due to the new opportunities found within social media as a platform for personal and corporate communication. Karaduman (2013) argues that social media functions as a gateway to facilitate deeper connections with organisational stakeholders, from a corporate management perspective. Thus, the use of social media for personal branding purposes makes sense from a stakeholder relations perspective. In the past, personal branding was limited to an idea of individuals marketing themselves via a planned communication process (Khedher, 2014). This process has been more enhanced and complex with social media platforms. The earliest notion of the modern personal branding concept originated in the 1990s and was concerned with self-marketing and personal branding as part of self-improvement media (Shepherd, 2005, in Karaduman, 2013 : 467). Khedher (2014) argues that the classical view of personal branding remains and describes personal branding as the `...planned process in which people make efforts to market themselves' (29). Personal branding stands in contrast to alternate branding methods such as product- and corporate branding, as it assumes and individualistic approach compared to the holistic brand metaphor, often applied in product- and corporate branding. The individualistic approach is Page 41 of 91
evident in personal branding, as todays usage of social media has created the notion that everyone has a personal brand regardless of demographic, psychographic or even geographic variables (Khedher, 2014). 3.4.1 Defining personal branding Personal branding has many definitions. There are those who view personal branding as a method for being noticed in the labour market. These are Lair, Sullivan and Cheney (2005) who define personal branding as `...concepts of product development and promotion ... used to market persons for entry into or transition within the labor market' (In Khedher, 2014 : 30). Horn (2009) defines personal branding as: The public projection of your personality and your abilities in a configuration that gains for you every possible advantage in achieving your unique career aspirations. (11) Khedher (2014) also views personal branding as a method for personal differentiation within the labour market. However, personal branding may also function as a source for marketing individuals with motives other than finding a new job. Shepherd (2005) found that personal branding is a variety of activities that is undertaken by individuals in an effort to make themselves known (In Khedher, 2014 : 30). Alternatively, Hughes (2007) simply views personal branding as consisting of the same principles found in branding, but extended to incorporate people (In Khedher, 2014 : 30). This thesis considers the view of Shepherd (2005) and applies Khedher's (2014) definition of personal branding, which is seen as: ...the process of establishing a unique personal identity, developing an active communication of one's brand identity to a specific target market and evaluating its impact on one's image and reputation, and that to fulfil personal and professional objectives (Khedher, 2014 : 33). Identity and positioning The development of personal brands requires the establishment of the personal brand identity (PBI). Much like CBI, the PBI requires the definition of internal attributes, values, and beliefs etc., which make the person a unique individual. Researchers have found that personal branding functions as an Page 42 of 91
inside-out process, which is based on the strengths and uniqueness of an individual in relation to the target market (Motion, 1999, Shepherd, 2005, Rein et al., 2006 In Khedher, 2014 : 33). The positioning of a personal brand is the active communicative process conducted by individuals to situate themselves in the market. The promotion of the self and the positioning of positive attributes valued by the target audience is used for differentiation, in for instance social media. It is important to understand that `everything communicates' (Khedher, 2014 : 34) the brand reinforcing communication, the lack of communication, and response to criticism may be interpreted differently depending on the audience. Horn (2009) argues that `personal branding is focused on being true to oneself and promoting the qualities that you and others perceive as valuable' (24). The positioning occurs through self-presentation (Labresque et al., 2011 In Khedher, 2014). The target audience perception of the personal brand is influenced by the communication (non-verbal and verbal cues), the actions and characteristics of the individual behind the personal brand. Considering the view that everyone has a personal brand, so must CEOs of organisations. Bates (2011) argues that most CEOs possess unique values and characteristics, which arguably makes CEOs using social media brands themselves (In Karaduman, 2013). Thus, brand management principles should apply for CEOs using social media as it does alternate branding concepts. CEO branding is something that Horn (2009) view as a constant factor in modern organisation, as it is stipulated that most top executives have only one purpose, which is to `establish the best possible picture of their company (12). Of course, CEOs have more tasks than just creating a positive image of the organisation, they represent, but Horn (2009) has a point and CEOs are of increasing importance, when creating and maintaining positive stakeholder relations. The trend regarding CEO branding is something the branding consultancy company Branders Group (2013) highlights on their website. They write that CEOs function as brand ambassadors, brand figures and as intermediaries `between the corporate brand and its stakeholders' (1) Horn (2009) proposes that personal branding `consists of a picture you paint of yourself in broad terms' (31). The picture includes elements and considerations that serve as constituents of the brand. In this sense Horn (2009) views personal branding as an extension to the branding discipline as he argues that the vision and mission of the brand, the brand personality/core and behaviour influence the perception of a given personal brand (31). Page 43 of 91
4. Hummel CBI analysis This analysis focuses on discourses, with a multimodal perspective, identified on official Hummel channels. The identified discourses are highlighted in bold. The analysis was conducted in April 2015. 4.1 Corporate Website 4.1.1 News section and text In the news section, Hummel presents stories reflecting the organisation. Current headlines concern the appearance of Hummel sportswear in the new Avengers Movie, an article concerning Hummel's classic Bee collection, a sponsorship of two new Korean football clubs, an advertisement regarding Hummel's football game application, a Company Karma project concerning the sponsorship of women's football in Afghanistan and a presentation of the new Brшndby F.C. home kit. When considering all news stories, it is considered a tool for presenting the diversity of the Hummel organisation. Front-page text Hummel takes its departure in a historic account, presenting Hummel as being established in 1923 arguing that `hummel has a long history of creating sportswear...' functioning to establish corporate credibility within their market. Hummel presents itself as abiding to `Danish design tradition' by working `with clean lines, but also with mad love for the edgy look and strong colour combinations...' Here Hummel associates the organisation with the wording Danish Design, which is associated with a high concern for quality. Additionally, Hummel makes use of modern expressions, concerning their design style, and incorporates a passion discourse by stating `mad love for...' Hummel provides a description of their designs that is concerned with wordings such as unique, retro and current trends combined with cool, urban street style and sporty twist. These wordings serve to construct Hummel as a modern, quality conscious and passionate. The text then presents the footwear SBU reflecting on Hummel's `sports heritage drawing on classic sports styles from the brand's own archives'. This signifies the organisation as seeking inspiration from within, creating a discourse of a reflective and original organisation. Page 44 of 91
Hummel then describe its Karma programme as `changing the world through sport by sponsorships in poor and war-torn countries: always with the hope to build bridges and help pave the way for a better tomorrow.' It is clear that the Karma programme functions as Hummel's CSR programme as they write `we trust that we can make a real change in the world ...' arguably CSR considerations serve as a tool for organisation to "give something back" to its surroundings, from Hummel's perspective sports serve this purpose. For instance, Hummel argue that sports is the universal language for eliminating `differences in politics, culture, religion and beliefs.' Thus, Hummel is constructed discursively as being responsible and philanthropic. 4.1.2 About page Introductory video The YouTube clip at the top of the page is called `The history of hummel' and shows Christian Stadil tell the story of Hummel. The video is in black and white with Stadil talking about the organisation and its business philosophy. From 0:01-0:30 Stadil introduces a brief history of Hummel. He talks about the origin of the organisation, starting in Germany moving on to tell of how Max Nielsen and Jшrgen Vodsgaard brought the brand to Denmark. Nielsen and Vodsgaard are highlighted as visionary businessmen and handball players. Stadil stresses that the Hummel brand today owes its success to people like Nielsen and Vodsgaard. This section of the video creates a sense of heritage for Hummel, which is based on a discourse of visionary thinking and bold decision-making. At 0:36-1:40 Stadil continues his account of the company history, highlighting important celebrity endorsements, such as `Allan Simonsen, Frank Arnesen and Henning Jensen'. Then Stadil addresses the fact that Hummel went bankrupt in the 90s and continues talking about how the current management, himself and future characters will shape the Hummel story. Stadil presents the argument that `When dealing with a brand it's only on loan. It's important to keep this in mind and it makes you think twice (longterm) ­ so you don't bastardize or dilute the brand.' (1:11) He then states that `You really have to treat the brand with respect.' (1:23) and finally states that `Money is important, but it is equally important to respect our role in the history of the brand' (1:32). Stadil seeks to establish the importance of people in Hummel, by referring to the impact of past and future managers and employees in the organisation. A `phoenix' discourse is presented, as Stadil talks about the Page 45 of 91
bankruptcy of Hummel and how the organisation has experienced increased brand value since then. There is also evidence for an honesty, professionalism and pride discourse as Stadil frequently presents his view on the vitality of having respect towards the corporate brand. Stadil then talk of the re-launch of the Hummel brand.(Stadil makes it clear that he found that the organisation did many things right in the late 90s but the brand suffered because of wrong positioning. This provides an implicit discourse of an organisation willing to adapt and to make use of market opportunities. Stadil presents the rationale for buying Hummel at 2:17 where he state that they (THORNICO) saw opportunities in having an undeveloped brand within the market. Stadil then tell of how the company re-launched the Hummel brand as a fashion brand arguing for using fashion as a brand driver and the sports SBU as a source of revenue (3:00). The market opportunities Stadil refer to are the retro-trend that emerged in first-mover environments around the world (4:10). Thus, Hummel is constructed as a retro brand for first-movers. Stadil makes use of an explicit success discourse as he state that `things are looking better than ever before' (3:04). Hummel is constructed as willing to take changes through a success and opportunist discourse, which is applied once more as Stadil state that the brand re-launch was a good idea `despite some failed attempts in the USA' (3:20). Finally, Stadil talks about Hummel's approach to its product development process. He argues for the importance of having respect for the brand and the people, who like the brand and of the importance of being true to the brand DNA. This is clear in the quote `When it comes to brands, you cannot cheat people' (8:44) and `When dealing with a brand ­ you have a solid DNA that you cannot just change.' Stadil then presents a creed for designing new products that is `Change one thing only' (9:07). He implicitly argues that this approach to product development is why Hummel are better than ever before and states that the organisation see the financial crisis as an opportunity for conducting creative innovation (10:50). Heritage The overall purpose of the heritage page is to tell the story about the organisation, making use of a "from humble beginnings" discourse. An example of this discourse choice is found in the phrase `After having watch a football match in the pouring rain young shoemaker Albert Messmer develops one of the first football cleats the world has ever seen.' The sentence offers implicit meanings as the Page 46 of 91
wording pouring rain indicate struggle and the young shoemaker indicate a beginning. A multimodal perspective is provided as the first football cleats are illustrated, showing an old pair of brown Hummel football cleats. It is evident that it is a Hummel shoe due to the presence of the characteristic Hummel chevrons on the side of the boot. The image serves as to create a sense of nostalgia. The nostalgic approach is enhanced in the image associated with the 1927 history of Hummel, where Hummel illustrate an early catalogue distributed by the former owners, Messmer & Co. The image show a yellowed (indicating age) pamphlet of Hummel's product assortment. The 1930s tap in the chronological history slider is concerned with telling a story of struggles and financial difficulties. The text state that the Messmer brothers went bankrupt and the company was taken over by Herman Christian Knibbe and his business partners, Jьrgensen and Tigges. The text has an accompanying image, which has a yellow colour (indicating age), depicting a football team in the 1935s, presumably the characters Knibbe, Jьrgensen and Tigges is present in the picture. Hummel continues its struggles during World War II where the company is `swept of the city map' due to allied bombings. The choice of words here serve as an annihilation discourse and a resurrection discourse. The resurrection story is presented in the phrase `hummel reopens in the new premises outside Hamburg.' The next tab is the 1950s where Hummel gets new owners, a Bernhard Weckenbrock. The new owner moves the production from Hamburg to southern Germany. The page show a black and white image of what could be the Hummel production area. The picture show a 50s man, wearing high-neck blouse and jeans, moving carts of white Hummel sneakers. There are several carts filled with the characteristic sneakers with the Hummel chevrons. It is evident that the image serves as to indicate prosperity and increased production in the post-war Hummel organisation. Thus, creating a discourse of a new beginning. The 60s tab depicts the beginning of Hummel's sponsorship business model, which tell a story of the handball club Grьn Weiss Dankersen, now called GWD Minden. Hummel write that it has sponsored the club since 1964 `making the co-operation one of if not the longest in sports history.' This creates a discourse of credibility containing values such as dependability and trustworthiness for Hummel. The associated image depicts a thank you card from the original Grьn Weiss Dankersen handball team, containing a black and white team photo with accompanying German text, which translates to Page 47 of 91
a thank you card signed by all the players. Hummel continues its account of its early sponsorship agreements, signing the 2nd Bundesliga football club MSV Duisburg in 1968. In 1969, Hummel creates its bumblebee logo and reaps the benefits of their promotional sponsorships: `the company enjoys massive success.' The wording massive success is evidently an indicator of corporate success and profitability. The 70s of Hummel is characterised by a globalisation discourse and an organisation rising within its industry. This becomes evident in the section concerning 1972 where `hummel is sold in most European countries ­ and in Bahrain, where an Arab emir suddenly needs shoes worth 250.000 Deutschmark ... hummel signs its first major sponsorship deal with Werder Bremen.' The wording sold in most European countries enhance the perception of a successful company, additionally by referring to a deal with an Arab emir Hummel draw association with high value items, as it is wellknown that the Arab emirs possess substantial wealth. The deal with the Arab emir is illustrated in an image depicting what is presumed to be a Hummel representative showing the emir Hummel merchandise. The background and surroundings in the image suggests wealth. Furthermore, Hummel enhance its business prowess by referring to Werder Bremen, as it arguably requires good negotiation skills to sign with Werder Bremen. Hummel grows internationally and is introduced to Denmark. This is presented in text/image associated with 1974 where Vodsgaard and Nielsen of VN Sport ApS market Hummel in Denmark. The black and white image depicts Vodsgaard and Nielsen wearing Hummel tracksuits, holding Hummel merchandise. This functions discursively to create a Danish association to the brand and initiate the Danish story of Hummel. The Danish discourse is enhanced in the 1977 section, where Hummel signs `Danish star forward Henning Jensen who has just moved to the major European club Real Madrid and Borussia Mцnchengladbach.' This illustrates that Hummel has reached the very top of European football through promotional sponsorships, creating an implicit discourse of being "best-in-business", high brand value and professionalism. The accompanying image show a black and white photo of Henning Jensen in a football match, presumably on the highest professional level. 1979 depicts a milestone for Hummel as it signs its first sponsorship contract with the Danish national team. The accompanying image, in colour, show the '79 national team wearing the Hummel outfits, Page 48 of 91
presumably before a match. There is a lot of iconic players on the '79 team including Morten Olsen, Frank Arnesen and Preben Elkjжr. Hummel draws upon the likeability and credibility of everyone involved. Moving to the 1980s tab, the ownership of Hummel is transferred to VN Sport ApS transferring Hummel from a German to a Danish company. Hummel write that `The company is now 100% Danish' This connotes a sense of security, quality and trust, as to reassure its consumers that Hummel is now a Danish company. In '84 Denmark reach the final in the European Championships, Hummel is implicitly stating that this was made possible because of the Hummel products. Additionally, Hummel state that its tracksuits, worn by the national team, where `selected as the tournament's most attractive...' This speaks to the quality and design value of the Hummel products in '84. The '84 story is accompanied by a black and white image of the Danish national team of '84, depicting some of the most iconic players in Danish football. It creates a sense of pride to see these players and the feeling is meant to be associated with the Hummel equipment. This discourse is repeated in the reference to the national team of '86. Hummel taps into the national pride by showing a YouTube video showing Denmark vs. Uruguay in '86, a match Denmark considers as one of the best national team performances in history. Walkthrough of the "Dinamarca vs Uruguay (Mundial "Mexico 1986")" video: The video starts by showing Danish rooligans cheering for Denmark before kickoff (0:03). A Spanish commentator speaks of "Dinamarca" which makes the video seem as a Uruguayan sport segment. From 0:23-0:40 the commentator speaks of Laudrup and the video show him wearing the iconic "Carnival suit", which is the name attributed the '86 jersey, playing in the World Cup. It is evident that the video segment is meant as a presentation of the Danish national team and its players. At 3:12 Laudrup scores again, here the Spanish commentator uses the word "hombre" which translates to friend(s) in English, this gives the impression that the commentator finds the Danish team to be friendly with one another. It should be noted, that in '86 Uruguay were seen as favourites for the title, yet the Danish national team won. At 3:34, the Danish fans are shown singing "victory is ours". The match ends 6-1 in Denmark's favour. Communicative value Page 49 of 91
Hummel has presented this video to tap into the nostalgia of the national team of '86, which has been proclaimed as the most legendary team in Danish national team history. By having the Spanish segment, Hummel enhance the authenticity and constructs a feel of others talking about the deeds of the Danish, which serve as to indicate a sense of respect towards the performance. The fact that Denmark defeated the favourites enhance the implicit discourse of Hummel being the underdog, not to be underestimated by association with the Danish national team. It is often said that the team of '86 won the match because of their friendship and team spirit, which is something Hummel seeks to tap into by showing the video of the match. In 1987, Hummel has expanded its sponsorships to major European football clubs such as Tottenham Hotspurs and Verona, who at the time where among the very best in European football. Hummel wish to draw associations with the sponsored teams but also to signal "we know what we are doing" and professionalism. The accompanying image show a colour photo of the '87 Hotspurs team. In '88 Hummel `signs a sponsorship deal with mighty Real Madrid' the wording is used to indicate the impressiveness of signing one of the biggest European clubs. The associated picture show the Real Madrid team of '88. In the 1990s tab, Hummel revisits its discourse of Danish national pride by referring to the year 1992, where Denmark won the European Championship "-wearing hummel". It is evident that Hummel takes pride in the fact that Denmark won the tournament in Hummel jerseys. In 1996, Hummel sponsor the Danish women's national handball team, who won the Olympic Games in Atlanta `wearing the hummel chevrons'. Again, Hummel taps into national pride and implicitly argue that Hummel has been there when Danish sporting achievements reached new heights. This draw a direct association between Hummel and Danish sport, enhancing the perception of Hummel being as Danish as the national teams, and something, which creates pride. The picture associated with Hummel of '96 show the Danish women in the final against Korea. In 1999, Hummel begin to focus on fashion and re-launch `old tracksuit designs from the 1970s.' Hummel declare that the move contributed to the retro-wave, indicating that Hummel are firstmovers when it comes to bold design ideas. This discourse is evident in the phrase `The clothes are an instant and huge success and helps form the retro wave that runs across the fashion world in the years to come.' Below the text is an image of a female model wearing a tracksuit. It is evident from Page 50 of 91
the picture that Hummel draw a lot of inspiration for its current products from its golden age, still focussing on the retro-feel. In the 2000 tab Hummel experiences prosperity. As they write regarding the year 2001 `hummel's popularity rises to new heights when international celebrities ... take a liking to and start wearing the Danish brand.' The accompanying image show celebrities of the 2000s wearing Hummel clothing. This sort of celebrity endorsement functions to transfer the likeability and credibility of the endorsers towards the Hummel brand. Hummel draw association to the Danish national football team in 2002, where the team jersey is "retro-inspired". Even though the team did not perform like previous teams, it still reached the 2nd phase of the World Cup, which is something Hummel seeks to capitalise on as the team wore the `15th national team jersey from hummel.' This section of the text is accompanied by an image of the '02 team celebrating together. The discourses are on national pride, sports and retro. 2004 became a particular good year for Hummel, about promotional sponsorships. Hummel celebrated `its 25th anniversary as apparel sponsor for the Danish Football Association.' This presents a discourse of organisational credibility and trustworthiness. When Hummel describe its role in the sponsorship of the Danish delegation at the Olympic Games (Athens 2004) they write: ... the whole Danish Olympic delegation wear apparel and footwear but when the Danish royal family shows up wearing the hummel chevrons ­ an appearance that is later compared to having copyright on the Holy Bible itself by leading international communication experts in terms of PR value. This phrase functions as to present the Hummel organisation as a successful enterprise and the wording `compared to having copyright on the Holy Bible' server as to enhance the perception of uniqueness. Hummel also received commendation as Sportswear International choose Hummel as having the `best women's collection'. This is something that establish a discourse of quality. The early 2000s is characterised by Hummel winning a series of awards for the design and business methods. The mention of awards serves to enhance the discourse of an organisation, which provides quality products. A multimodal perspective in the form of an image shows a female model wearing the award winning winter clothing of Hummel. Page 51 of 91
In the 2008 tab, Hummel presents their sponsorship strategy and provides a perception of having invested massively in promotional sponsorships, more specifically within handball and the Danish Superliga (top level of Danish football). Hummel particularly highlight their sponsorship of Aalborg F.C. as the club won the Superliga and performed well in the Champions League. Arguably, when considering this section of text, Hummel seeks to present itself as an organisation fostering winners, through their sponsorships. The picture associated, illustrates an Aalborg football player outmanoeuvring a player from Manchester United in the Champions League tournament of 2008. In 2009 Hummel writes that `No fewer than 93 players and 4 different national teams wear hummel footwear and apparel at the men's handball World Cup...' Creating a popularity discourse, which speak to quality and good business strategy, as professional athletes, arguably, do not use inferior equipment. Hummel presents its campaign `The Unusual Characters' consisting of `world class players' in Handball, who function as endorsers for Hummel. The phrase `unusual characters' serve as a discourse for being original and special, in contrast to being usual characters. The accompanying picture show the handball players lined up, as if in a witness line-up at a police station. It is clear that the campaign draw association with the movie "the usual suspects" as the cover makes use of `the usual' as well as the line-up discourse. This provides a feeling of rebelliousness and attitude. This discourse is supported in the headline below the Hummel logo, which state `Character since 1923' celebrating attitude since the birth of the organisation. The 2010 tab focuses on Hummel's Karma programmes and social responsibility. A field, which arguably has experienced a greater level of importance for organisations, in recent years. Hummel launched the fashion footwear campaign called `PlayStadil'. By incorporating the name of the CEO in the campaign, Hummel constructs him as a brand entity drawing upon his reputation and goodwill to market its footwear. In 2010 Hummel also signed an agreement with The Black Eyed Peas with the purpose of creating recycling awareness. The partnership functions discursively as to signal social responsibility and "doing something for the environment". To illustrate the partnership Hummel provides a press photo showing the Black Eyed Peas band with Christian Stadil. There is also an endorsement video, in the form of a YouTube clip, from the band addressing Hummel. Walkthrough of "Black Eyed Peas PSA on hummel" video (YouTube) Page 52 of 91
The first scene shows the hummel logo with the text `Character since 1923' and the title `Supporting The Black Eyed Peas "E.N.D World Tour Recycling Program"' (from 0:00-0:09), while playing a Black Eyed Peas track. At 0:09 in the video, a member of the band talk about how glad they are to have Hummel support their recycling programme and continues saying that the programme involves the recycling of plastic bottles into jerseys, which is where Hummel makes its contribution. The bandmember state that 12 bottles go to 1 shirt and asks a rhetorical question of `how fresh is that?' (at 0:37). The band-member then urges the viewer to visit the Hummel website, ending the video by quoting one of the hitsongs of the band `just get it started'. The video then plays the song in an outro from 0:48, while showing the Hummel logo and website name. Communicative value The video provides Hummel with a direct endorsement, regarding environmental concerns and responsibilities. By having a member of the Black Eyed Peas talk of how Hummel actively try to improve the environment through recycling, Hummel's credibility and perceived responsibility is enhanced discursively. Additionally, there is an implicit message, where the band endorses Hummel's business methods and thus grants their implicit approval towards buying Hummel products. Another of Hummel's Karma projects is presented in the text of 2010. The project concerns the sponsorship of the Afghan women's national football team. The sponsorship signifies that Hummel believe in gender equality and oppose oppression. As there is, opposition to female rights in Afghanistan the Hummel organisation is implicitly attributed a boldness discourse and a willingness to help those who have difficulties helping themselves. In association with the text, concerning the sponsorship there is an image of the Afghan women's national team and a video depicting a friendly match played against female NATO soldiers in Afghanistan. Walkthrough of "A game between friends" video (YouTube) The video takes its departure by presenting a short written introduction, which presents the football match. The introduction ends by stating that `The match was set up in coorparation [sic] between ISAF, AFF, and the danish sportsbrand hummel.' The fact that Hummel manages to position itself in this scenario enhances the organisations credibility regarding their willingness to support gender equality and democratic values, as it is arguably the task Page 53 of 91
of ISAF to bring about peace and democracy to Afghanistan. At 0:12 the viewer is presented with a female footballer from the Afghan national team stating that she is nervous about the upcoming match, then camera then change scenery to a western woman who says that she finds the girls [Afghan women's national team] inspiring. The scene then changes to the female Afghan footballer who stresses the importance of having media attention and having a friendly match against the NATO soldiers, as to show her country that the women has a national team who can play football. At 1:03 the player says that not all of Afghanistan are bad and that a lot of people want peace and friendship. At 1:11 Stadil presents Hummel and its purpose for being involved in the Afghan women's national football team. He state that Hummel want to make it possible for young girls to `live out their passion for sports.' He then continues saying that Hummel's involvement is about sports and not about politics and about providing young girls the opportunity to play football. At 1:48 Henning Nielsen (hummel marketing manager) is interviewed talking about the support present at the match and how football is a social gathering point no matter your background. At 3:10 a US general is interviewed stating that it is a courageous match, which would not have been allowed during the Taliban regime. The video ends at 5:47 with the phrase `this is just the beginning'. Communicative value Even though Stadil proclaimed that Hummel's participation was not political, it had a political message. The video provide a heart-warming and hopeful take on the war in Afghanistan and illustrate the importance of fighting oppression and standing up for gender equality. All the positive emotions evoked from the video is, arguably contributed to the Hummel brand. Thus, Hummel is seen as an organisation who takes a stand to enable the joy of sports to be enjoyed by everyone around the world. Moving on to the text concerning 2011, Hummel returns to its promotional sponsorships. The text describes the sports performances by professional handballer Mikkel Hansen, who while `wearing hummel's Rebel Recycled shoes ­ partly made from recycled plastic bottles...' became top goalscorer in the World Cup of 2011. Here Hummel provides a sustainability discourse combined with professionalism and quality. Additionally, Hummel draw upon the reputation of Mikkel Hansen to enhance its brand with his personal qualities. Hummel then lists all their new sponsorship contracts of 2011. Page 54 of 91
In the 2012 tab, Hummel addresses its Karma Scoreboard programme, which took place during the men's European handball championships of 2012. The general idea about the programme was that any player who scored a goal wearing the Hummel shoe Rebel Karma resulted in 1 Karma Kit containing 10 training bibs, 1 handball, 1 football, 1 bag and 1 pump to be distributed charity organisations worldwide. Again, Hummel wish to signal that they wish to `make the world a better place through sports'. This goal is explicitly stated as part of the Karma United campaign. Accompanying the Karma United campaign is a YouTube clip called Karma United Strikers ­ Freetown. Walkthrough of video The video show the Karma United programme in action, where Hummel provide equipment for young boys in troubled areas of, presumably Africa. Throughout the video there is a happy music playing showing the young boys being happy (dancing, cheering, jumping) about receiving the Hummel equipment. Communicative value The purposes of the video is evidently to illustrate what the Karma programme does and why. Discursively, Hummel is presented as an organisation distributing happiness to troubled areas in the world. Company Karma and mission The page concerning the Company Karma Policy of Hummel is a page that translate to the organisation's approach to CSR. Hummel describe the concept of Company Karma as `the guiding philosophy of how we seek to do business, and it has become our version of a more holistic approach to CSR.' This phrase constructs a discourse of an organisation moving beyond `traditional' CSR programmes, in an attempt to conduct more "responsible business practices" compared to its competitors. Hummel write that the Company Karma policy is a `defining character of the way we work with people and the environment.' This view evokes a concern for people and the planet. Hummel's argument for the Company Karma policy is based on a `transformation of the business environment', thus Hummel responds to a changing environment creating the organisation as Page 55 of 91
proactive. Hummel recognizes its social and environmental responsibility as they see themselves `As an active participant within this environment, hummel embraces its global responsibilities to the world and the people in it', establishing Hummel as a corporate citizen.
When discussing the organisation's approach to CSR, Hummel present the THORNICO Company Karma Report, which is something produced by Hummel's parent company. Thus, Hummel wish to associate itself with THORNICO. Hummel then presents its business model of social responsibility where the
...core element of hummel's value systems, we consider our engagement within human well-being to be our key responsibility, externally through our "Change the World through Sport" projects and internally with our employees and supply chain partners.
From the wording, it is evident that Hummel seeks to construct the organisation as socially responsible, focussing on people and having a POSITIVE IMPACT on the world through sport. The phrase `Change the World through Sport' refer to Hummel's Company Karma projects and sponsorships of, for instance the Afghan women's national football team. Hummel appear determined as they implicitly state that its employees and supply chain partners are expected to support the projects.
Hummel then presents the specifics of their agreements with their supply chain partners. This is done in an effort to create a transparency and honesty discourse.
The Hummel mission statement is presented beside a picture of the Hummel bumblebee and a statue looking serene and harmonic. The mission statement state:
It is our passion to design, source and market sport and sport fashion products carrying the unique hummel heritage. We target teams and people with character working as a team with good energy and spirit. We grow our business through express market responsiveness, close supply chain partnerships, unique expressive designs, storytelling and a continuous profitability focus.
From the statement several discourses can be deducted. First, Hummel is constructed as specialists
within its industry and as having a heritage, making for a legitimate and credible organisation.
Second, Hummel is constructed as consisting of passionate individuals with character. Third,
Hummel's business methods are based on sound business practices, focussing on good
relationships, superior products, creative marketing and a constant focus on being a profitable
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4.2 Social media 4.2.1 Facebook about page The first element to be analysed on the Hummel International Facebook page is the "Page Info" section in the "About" tab. Company facts are presented such as date of birth, address, company descriptions, corporate mission, product categories and contact information. This section of the thesis takes its analytical departure in the company description, provided by Hummel. Hummel start with a question ­ `who would have thought that a bumblebee could fly?' The question serves as to draw attention and make the audience think. Additionally, the question refer to Hummel's origin, as the bumblebee is the old fashioned logo of Hummel, which has had a renaissance in recent Hummel marketing. This presents an implicit understanding of humble beginnings to unlimited potential. Hummel assumes in answering the question in the next section, where they compare the Hummel organisation with the bumblebee `...the journey of the hummel bumblebee has had its ups and downs as well...' Hummel then assumes a chronological account of the company history, taking its departure in Hamburg, 1923. The discursive purpose of this is to establish Hummel as a legitimate and experienced company. Hummel highlight the German businessman, Bernhard Weckenbrock, as the man who made use of sponsorships to raise Hummel to its next level in 1956. The wording `the hummel bumblebee really began soaring towards the skies...' functions discursively as a metaphor of an organisation experiencing corporate success. Hummel bought by Danish VN Sport in the 80s. The management approach by the new owners are described as `visionary and bold thinking', which discursively indicate a willingness to take chances to achieve success and being forward thinking. Hummel makes it apparent that its early corporate successes are a product of `the right sponsorships' which elevated the organisation to be `a force to be reckoned with in the sports industry'. The wording `force to be reckoned with' is often used to create an understanding of underdogs. In the 1990s Hummel experience financial troubles, which is illustrated by using the bumblebee metaphor. The sentence `the hummel bumblebee was heading for the ground fast ... everything ended in an emergency crash landing without too many casualties...' Hummel and the bumblebee are seen as being the same entity and the sentence creates a scene of a plane crash, which serve discursively to illustrate crisis. Hummel's survival came due to a change in focus as they write: `the company Page 57 of 91
found its feet again ... its wings began fluttering again ... when the bumblebee started flying into the sphere where fashion meets sports and vice versa.' Discursively, the sentence creates a survivalist story of adaptability. As part of their new approach Hummel reintroduced `old school tracksuits from the 1970s', creating a retro discourse in their SBUs. Hummel write that the company began `gaining ground not only in home markets but also across the Pond, when celebrities ... flashing hummel chevrons.' The wording "gaining ground" functions as a battle metaphor, relating to the market situation and creating a discourse of a fighter. By applying "the Pond" Hummel makes use of a well-known metaphor of the Atlantic Ocean, which indicate a presence in the United States. Hummel draw upon celebrity goodwill by referring to American celebrities, who have endorsed the "hummel chevrons". This creates a discourse of popularity of the Hummel brand on an international stage. Hummel introduces its first Company Karma project by telling the story of the organisation's sponsorship of the Tibetan national football team. Through the sponsorship, Hummel became known worldwide as the media `were all interested in telling the world the story about little Tibet standing up to mighty China from a political as well as a sports point of view.' By choosing to sponsor Tibet, Hummel implicitly supports the nation in its struggles. The Tibet-China relationship is a controversial topic and by supporting Tibet Hummel constructs itself implicitly as political and as an organisation fighting for the underdogs. Hummel continues its account, elaborating on the organisation's Karma projects. Hummel write that the sponsorships, like the Tibetan sponsorship, is based `upon an intention of supporting the joy of sports and the wish to give something back to others in need...' this creates a discourse of a caring and responsible organisation. Hummel then lists some of its Karma projects this serves to enhance the organisation's credibility, drawing upon the goodwill of for instance the `World Wildlife Foundation, Danish Red Cross ... Save The Children' etc. The final section of the description, concerning the Hummel organisation, is used to create a sense of perspective in the chronological story line. This serves as a discourse of humble beginnings as Hummel writes: `What started out as a two-men business ... has in 88 years grown to become a multinational corporation with activities in more than 40 countries'. This constructs Hummel as a global and professional organisation. Page 58 of 91
The description company ends where it began referring to the bumblebee who `should not be able to fly but the fact of the matter is, however, that bumblebees do fly ... higher and more agile than ever before.' creating a discourse of resilience and optimism about the future. The mission text presents Hummel as passionate about design within sportswear and ­equipment, having a unique heritage. Hummel state that their business is based on `market responsiveness, close supply chain partnerships, unique expressive designs, storytelling and a continuous profitability focus.' This works discursively to illustrate Hummel as responsible, dependable and quality orientated. 4.2.2 LinkedIn about page The LinkedIn page is influenced by its platform. The structure is business orientated, and focus on presenting the company from a professional perspective and the identified CBI takes its departure in the corporate history. Hummel introduces the about page with the phrase `Before the contracts, before the agents, before the billion dollar stadiums... there was hummel.' This creates an implicit understanding of Hummel as being old school, by implicitly stating `we have been doing this long before it became big business'. Hummel then write that it was founded in 1923 and has `deep roots in football and handball' thus creating a discourse of being specialists within the field of football and handball clothing and equipment, since 1923 (experience discourse). Hummel tells its story moving from a German to a Danish company and draw upon famous sports teams who has been sponsored by the organisation. This is done in an attempt to draw upon the specific teams' credibility and likeability and link Hummel to the teams. Additionally, this serves as an implicit discourse of credibility and professionalism for Hummel as it is arguably good business sense and negotiation skills, which has made it possible for Hummel to sign sponsorship contracts with respectively Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspurs, Aston Villa and the Danish National football team. The LinkedIn profile enhance the credibility and likability commits its sponsorship contracts by adding celebrity endorsements, or celebrities confirmed wearing Hummel clothing/equipment, drawing upon Jennifer Lopez, Pink and Paris Hilton as celebrity endorsements. The sentence Page 59 of 91
`operating in the sphere where fashion meets sports, hummel came storming into the 21st century by re-launching tracksuits from the 1970s...' functions discursively as to illustrate an organisation looking within to produce innovative products. The use of the word storming functions as a battle metaphor as if Hummel storms the gates of an enemy castle. Hummel introduces its Karma programme by first establishing a discourse of an organisation, not afraid of being edgy. This is shown in the phrase: `hummel has always been known for and prided itself in doing things a little differently, with a twist and a bit of Character.' Within this phrase, Hummel seeks to establish itself as being different, original and having "character". Next Hummel address its approach to sustainable business ethics in the phrase: `hummel believes in Company Karma and in giving something back to people and organizations with the right and most commendable causes'. Thus, Hummel incorporates the concept of Karma in its business methods, more specifically through corporate sponsorships, i.e. the football associations of Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. 5. Christian Stadil PBI ­ analysis 5.1 Approach and disclaimer Stadil's personal Facebook profile has been subjected to a discourse analysis, with a multimodal perspective. The analysis is time restricted, investigating the Facebook posts of fall 2014 (September/October) and the posts of spring 2015 (March/April). This is done in an effort to quantify the qualitative discourse findings and ensure representative randomness to the study, dominant discourses are highlighted in the tables and each individual post is numbered and located in appendices 4-5). As Facebook posts can be edited at any given time, some posts that are subjected to analysis may be different or not appear on Stadil's profile in the future. The reader should therefore consider the posts presented in appendices when references are made. 5.2 Analysis fall 2014 Table 2 illustrate the identified discourses used to construct the PBI in fall 2014. The discourses highlighted are considered dominant, based on their frequency. The first discourse identified is a excitement discourse. Stadil constructs himself as easily excited and generally portrays a positive and Page 60 of 91
excited approach to his posts. In post 1.2 the excitement is seen as particularly dominant for fall 2014 and 1.2 is therefore selected for focus group evaluation. The excitement discourse is shown in 1.2 where Stadil posts about a board meeting in Hummel, adding a discourse of being productive and a businessman. The excitement is apparent in the phrase `Super board meeting today at Hummel' Stadil also incorporates an implicit discourse of being visionary as he write `Big topics on the agenda' implicitly stating that he and Hummel are considering the future of the company at the board meeting. There is also a discourse of family in 1.2 as Stadil write `a great colleagues mother-in-law has backed a heavy carrot-champ' referring to homemade carrot cake, made by a friend's mother-in-law. The multimodal considerations in 1.2 is concerned with showing a casual business environment (untidy room and no ties) and the carrot cake in question, making the image function as an elaboration of the text. 1.2 attributed family values to Stadil and the discourse of family is a dominant feature in the identified discourses. 1.20 is a strong indicator of this discourse and has been chosen for the focus group session. 1.20 portrays Stadil waiting patiently for his second child. Stadil has taken his work back home and has cancelled his meetings so that he will be ready for when the baby comes. The family discourse is evident as he refer to child birth `6 days over due-date' and `We are more than to meet the little champ'. 1.20 also incorporate a productivity discourse, serving as an indicator for Stadil being a businessman, this is shown in the phrase `A lot of homework and a record amount of phone meetings'. Stadil is portrayed as a person who knows his responsibilities for both his work and his family and that his priorities are set straight as he has chosen to take his work home with him and cancel his meetings so that he might be ready for the new baby. This message is shown in the phrase `a week of limbo, in a good way, as I had hoped that we would be live with nr. 2, which is way I have cancelled all meetings this week' and is further substantiated as the accompanying image elaborates on his work situation at home. The next dominant discourse is Stadil as being a scholar/writer. Stadil posts about his fondness of books and has written a few himself, thus giving the impression of being a learned man. One of the more dominant posts attributing to this discourse is 1.14, which subjected to evaluation. 1.14 show Stadil recommending a book for his followers, which he does every month, indicating a strong preference for reading books, see for instance 2.5. Stadil does a short review of a book he is currently reading and this attribute to the discourse of Stadil as a scholar. 1.14 is also selected for focus group evaluation, as it resonates implicitly of Buddhism and mindfulness. Stadil is constructed as a person Page 61 of 91
who meditates as he talk about meditation and how the book can help the reader become a more proficient, when meditating. The sentence `Sit down on your pillow, close your eyes, and focus on you breathing' functions discursively to support the idea of Stadil being concerned with mindfulness, spirituality and implicitly Buddhism. From a multimodal perspective, the image serve as an elaboration of which book Stadil is currently reading. The next discourse found to be dominant is a businessman discourse. As this discourse is represented in 1.2 and 1.20 and thus, already functions, as a part of the focus group evaluation there is no need to add more posts with this discourse. Too many elements may clutter or limit the desired in-depth discussions about the presented communication. However, evidence of the businessman discourse is apparent in many of the fall 2014 posts. Examples are for instance in post 1.13, where Stadil share information about Tradono, which is a company that is part of Stadil's parent company. The reader immediately gets the perception of a businessman who takes an interest in start-up companies and sees opportunities in creative ideas. The accompanying image to post 1.13 server as to extend the meaning of Stadil's words as it illustrates, what presumably is the Tradono team `ready to go live'. Another example is post 2.2, where Stadil discuss the partnership between Tattoodo and Hummel. The post tell the story of the Hummel Tattoodo collection, which has experienced great demand and popularity worldwide as Stadil write `We are really happy that the Hummel + Tattoodo collection has been so well received' and Stadil signifies his role as he says `It warms both legs, when you have one in each camp'. The later extraction serves to present Stadil as having influence on the business of both Tattoodo and Hummel, making him a global businessman. The multimodal perspective is structured as a link to Tattoodo's webshop were the collection has been launched. This serves to extend the meaning of Stadil's post as it signifies where the reader might find the Tattoodo/Hummel collection. Stadil makes use of celebrity associations in his Facebook posts. This functions discursively to draw on the credibility and likeability of the particular celebrities, but also as an indicator of jetset-living, status and popularity. A dominant post is 2.9, where Stadil is placed next to the pop star Medina at an event at the Museum of Art. The celebrity association is obvious in the multimodal perspective of the post as Stadil is shown standing next to Medina, but it is also visible in the text as Stadil write `Medina pulled it off'. There is an additional discourse in this post, where Stadil is contributed a firstmover thought regarding design and fashion. Stadil refer to Hummel's role in the dress Medina wears on the image in the phrase `Our sweet designer Annette, with good creative sparring from Medina, Page 62 of 91
have made this funky creation for the occasion'. The combination of the two discourses serves as the rationale for adding post 2.9 to the focus group evaluation, as both discourses are dominant in 2.9. Post 2.8 is more focussed on Stadil's role as a trendsetter and design enthusiast. Here Stadil is portrayed as a mentor for Danish design talents, which constructs Stadil as a person who is on the forefront of fashion and design. The accompanying images to post 2.8 show Christian Stadil with designer Trine Lindegaard, this is done to elaborate on Stadil's mentor role in relation to Trine Lindegaard and to put a face on the persons mentioned in the post.
When investigating the fall 2014 posts, it becomes apparent that Stadil leads an active lifestyle. In post 1.6 Stadil refer to his Thai-boxing training as he write `Yesterday me and W did a thai sparring', where Thai sparring refer to the act of Thai-boxing. However, in 1.6 the more dominant focus is on Stadil's role as a parent. This shown in the extended meaning of the multimodal perspective associated with the written discourse. Stadil constructs the phrase as if he is with a friend `then relaxed with a book at his crib' but the associated image show Stadil reading to his son, thus creating a family discourse. The active lifestyle is more apparent in post 2.14, where Stadil is shown training Thaiboxing. The accompanying text is much concerned with how Stadil finds that he looks silly in the photos, yet the implicit meaning of the entire post is about how Stadil leads an active lifestyle and enjoy the sport of Thai-boxing. In post 2.14 there is also a small celebrity association discourse as Stadil write `Steffen Weise is former world champion', where Steffen Weise is his sparring partner in the post. Additionally, this enhance the professionalism of Stadil in relation to the sport of Thaiboxing.
Table 2: Dominant discourses
Discourse Excited Humble Visionary Family man Scholar/writer
Post Id. 1.1, 1.2, 1.18, 1.24, 1.26, 2.3, 2.6, 2.8, 2.10, 2.13, 2.15, 2.17, 2.20, 2.21 1.1, 2.14, 2.18, 2.20 1.2, 2.1 1.2, 1.3, 1.6, 1.10, 1.11.1, 1.20, 1.22, 1.24, 1.25, 1.26, 2.0, 2.3, 2.4, 2.6 1.4, 1.12, 1.14, 1.17, 2.5, 2.7, 2.12.1, 2.18, 2.20
Example `Super boardmeeting at hummel today' `a "fuck" sneaks its way in' `Great topics on the agenda' `mother-in-law has baked a heavy carrot-champ' Attending `...lecture by Clayton Christensen from Harvard'
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Businessman Celebrity association (popular) Active lifestyle/sport Foodie Charitable Oriental Buddhist/mindfulness/meditation First-mover, design-mindset Musical, cultural "regular guy"
1.2, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 1.13, 1.19, 1.20, 2.1, 2.4, 2.7, 2.13, 2.15, 2.16, 2.19, 2.21 1.5, 1.8, 1.9, 1.15, 1.24, 1.24.1, 2.9, 2.10, 2.15 1,6, 1.11, 1.11.1, 1.19, 1.21, 2.3.1, 2.13, 2.14, 2.19 1.7, 1.7.1, 2.16, 2.16.1 1.8, 1.9, 1.16, 1.21 1.12, 2.5, 2.16 1.14, 2.1, 2.3, 2,7, 2.17 1.18, 2.3., 2.3.1, 2.8, 2.9, 2.10, 2.11, 2.12.1, 2.15, 2.21 1.22, 1.23, 1.24, 1.24.1, 2.6, 2.12 2.6, 2.14, 2.16.1
`...Denmark's new second-hand market' `...our partner Daniel Agger has moved closer...' `took a thai sparring' `The infamous ants... a sexy noma interpretation of eggnog.' `... proceeds go to UNICEF' `... the Japanese version of...' `... introduction to meditation with no-bullshit' `...check out the designer' `...with Leonard Cohen' `the old man still got it'
5.3 Analysis spring 2015
In posts of spring 2015 the excitement discourse is repeated and considered dominant. However, as the focus group already incorporates a post depicting the discourse of excitement those identified in spring 2015 is not incorporated in the evaluation. A post that makes use of the excitement discourse is post 3.2 where Stadil is visited by Eric Alan Rapp, an American entrepreneur, who have brought "Lucky Buddha Beer" which Stadil thought of as being `pretty cool'. Implicitly, the Buddha Beer server as a discourse for Buddhism and it is presumably not a coincidence that Eric Rapp brought Buddha Beer for Stadil. Stadil's excitement concerning Eric Rapp is substantiated as he writes `Exciting meeting by the way.' A discourse of visionary thinking is also incorporated in 3.2 as Stadil write that `Things are really moving within that sector currently', when talking about Stadil's projects within consumables. The accompanying picture serves to elaborate on who Eric Rapp is and how the Lucky Buddha Beers look like, in other words the multimodality serves to illustrate why Stadil is excited.
Posts of spring 2015 is also dominated by the businessman discourse. Post 3.6 is considered particularly dominant concerning this discourse and also includes a discourse of responsibility, which is why 3.6 is part of the evaluation. 3.6 concerns Hummel's sponsorship of the Afghan national Page 64 of 91
football teams and portrays Stadil as a responsible businessman as he state `I am very proud on behalf of Hummel and the entire team that we have continued our contract with the Afghan National Football Association'. The responsibility discourse is very dominant in the post and is portrayed in the sentence `In Afghanistan football is not just for fun, but serves as an important light in a darkness created by war, terror and destruction.' Stadil promptly positions himself as opposing the war, terror and destruction by enabling young Afghanis to play football through the Hummel sponsorship. Stadil also creates awareness about the struggles of Afghanistan with the phrase `In Afghanistan football is not just for fun.' There is an implicit political message to be found in the post as the sponsorships indirectly challenges the cultural and religious dogma of Afghanistan, where women's rights and western sports/culture is arguably considered illegitimate. The accompanying images serve to elaborate upon the sponsorship, depicting the male and female national teams of Afghanistan. Concerning the discourse of Stadil the businessman, post 4.8 is considered dominant and is used in the focus group session. The post concerns an image of a freighter taken by Stadil in Shanghai. The multimodal communicative value is one of a man representing a global company, thus the image functions as an extension to what Stadil writes. The businessman discourse is implicitly stated in the phrase `when one of our ships', indicating successful business as the wares a distributed worldwide through shipping. There is also a discourse of the orient as the scene is `Shanghai's skyline' the oriental discourse contributes to the understanding of a global company and a global businessman. The active lifestyle discourse is also present in spring 2015 posts and post 4.15 is included in the evaluation. Post 4.15 show Stadil's personal relationship with exercise and Thai-boxing. There is a great deal of respect towards the sport and Stadil's prowess within the sport is substantiated in the phrase `I enjoyed a great training session with the top dogs Steffen (Weise) and Boo (Seang Athit). It is not every day you have two former world champions straightlining your, sometimes, rowdy techniques.' Stadil draw on the credibility of Weise and Seang Athit concerning his own sporting commitment. The active lifestyle is also visible in the last line of the post where Stadil state that `it is fantastic being able to train outside.' The image associated with the post illustrate the outside training session, depicting Stadil, Weise and Seang Athit training Thai-boxing, thus functioning as to elaborate on the topic in the post. Furthermore, post 4.15 creates an oriental feel as Stadil addresses Seang Athit as `nr. 1 in Thailand, former Rjadamneren champ...'. Page 65 of 91
Finally, the spring 2015 posts are concerned with Buddhism and oriental references. Post 4.6 is included in the focus group evaluation and is a strong Buddhist discourse. When viewing the post in its entirety it becomes evident that Stadil is a devoted Buddhist. This is shown in the phrase `I was up 4.30 to get a ritual tattoo made by munks and masters in a temple.' There is a trendsetting consideration and a level of originality in the post as it is an extraordinary thing to get such a tattoo made (see 4.6). The Buddhist discourse becomes apparent throughout the post but is for instance shown in the phrase `A wild transcending experience ... good karma' and `... buddhistic master, who recites buddhistic verses and mixes the ink with ashes from a dead master'. The visuals accompanying the post illustrate Stadil's experience from at the temple and thus elaborates on the text. There is a small discourse of active lifestyle in the phrase `in a real Tyler Durden fight club style', but the overall communicative value in the post is concerned with a Buddhism discourse.
Table 3: Dominant discourses
Discourse (MDA perspective) Excited Humble Visionary Family man Scholar/writer Businessman Celebrity association (popular) Active lifestyle/sport Foodie
Post Id. 3.2, 3.4, 3.4.1, 3.10, 3.12, 3.12.1, 3.12.2, 3.12.5, 4.12, 4.20 3.7, 3.15, 4.16 3.2, 4.10 3.5, 3.18, 4.1, 4.5, 4.16 3.1, 3.3, 3.12.4, 3.19, 4.21 3.1, 3.2, 3.5, 3.6, 3.9, 3.11, 3.12, 3.12.1, 3.12.2, 3.12.5, 3.12.6, 3.12.8, 3.14, 3.16, 4.1, 4.2, 4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 4.10, 4.11, 4.12, 4.13, 4.14, 4.18, 4.19, 4.20 3.7, 3.8, 4.2, 4.15 3.4, 3.4.1, 3.15, 3.16, 3.17, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.15, 4.17 3.12.8, 4.9
Example `Exciting meeting by the way...' `Franзois held a moving speech ... powerful' `Check out ­ a different trading platform' Husk quote ` book about creativity is new released in Korean.' `roll out plans, road maps and milestones...' `I had the pleasure of having dinner with the French ambassador couple' `Enjoying a hardhitting evening ... at Mikenta Fight Night' (Implicit) `It's time to gather inspiration...'
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Charitable/responsible Oriental Buddhist/mindfulness/meditation First-mover, design-mindset Musical, cultural "regular guy"
3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.14, 3.16, 4.10, 4.13, 4.18, 4.19, 4.21 3.1, 3.11, 3.12, 3.12.1, 3.12.2, 3.12.3, 3.12.4, 3.12.5, 3.12.7, 3.13, 3.18, 4.8, 4.15, 4.20 3.5, 3.8, 3.10, 3.11, 3.12.3, 3.12.9, 3.16, 4.1, 4.6, 4.10 3.3, 3.11, 3.12.9, 3.17, 4.6, 4.10, 4.17 4.2, 4.19 3.12.7, 3.15, 4.16
`exiting projects in for instance Africa' ` in korean' `there is good energy in that' `... new perspectives on creativity and innovation' `The new Avengers movie ... assumes a badass hummel style' `My Japanese twin'
6. Hummel's audience archetype
In order to establish a Hummel audience archetype, for prioritizing and selecting individuals for the focus group, this section investigates Hummel's communication found on the corporate website. Ultimately, the analytical work will provide an indicator for the intended target audience of Hummel. The approach to the audience analysis of Hummel is not a classical setup, normally found within the field of audience analysis. Instead, this analysis seeks to uncover the Intended Audience of Hummel, based on the communicative choices made on their corporate website. The analysis therefore investigates communication, constructs and discourses from a multimodal perspective. Additionally, this section only investigates the portion of the Hummel website that actively tries to communicate about Hummel's SBUs. Sections such as "Company Karma" and the "About" section are analysed section 3. 5.1 Corporate website The selected sections of the corporate website, has been subjected to a multimodal discourse analysis in the period medio March ­ medio April. The website analysed is the Hummel International website. Even though the focus group participants are likely to be Danish, the international website is chosen for analysis because it differs compared to the Danish in terms of communicative choices. For instance is the Hummel Kids, which is a huge portion of the Hummel business in Denmark, not as Page 67 of 91
salient on the international site. Additionally, the concept regarding "Company Karma" is not highlighted on the Danish website, but is attributed a great salience on the international site. The company karma programme is something, which presumably speaks to the desired identity of Hummel and is deemed important to analyse. Thus, making the international site the subject of analysis. The first impression of the website suggests that Hummel as an organisation focuses on four distinct strategic business units (SBU). These are Hummel Sport, -Lifestyle, -Footware and -Kids. At the front page of the Hummel website, a gallery slider is presented depicting organisational messages that Hummel, arguably, wish to highlight. Among these highlighted messages are STAY ACTIVE, MYMARATHONAS, LIFESTYLE and FOOTBALL ESSENTIALS. Further down the page, Hummel presents a `stories section' that present corporate news stories and stories about Hummel products and its sponsorships. The section is divided into four subsections dubbed "News", "Press", "Teams" and "Karma". The word "Karma" functions discursively as to represent the corporate social responsibility agenda of Hummel, as Karma is the teaching of the individual's actions and is a widely applied concept in Indian religion and philosophy (Karma). Within the Buddhist religion, the word Karma literally means action and every kind of intentional action (mental, verbal or physical) is regarded as Karma (Sayadaw, n.d). Thus, all actions, good or bad, constitute Karma, making Karma `the law of cause and effect in the ethical realm' (Sayadaw, n.d : 1). It is evident that Hummel use Karma as a CSR tool by describing their approach to good actions having a positive effect on the world, thus creating "good" Karma. The page "Company Karma" is an illustration of Hummel's actions to improve on its Karma. Beneath the `stories section' Hummel writes a few paragraphs, which serve to describe the organisation. These paragraphs are analysed in section 3. The first thing, to be analysed regarding Hummel's intended target audience is the highlighted messages. 6.1.1 Highlighted messages (current campaigns) #MYMARATHONA On the #MYMARATHONA site, the audience is introduced to the spokespersons for the campaign Sophus (model) and Marie Jedig (fashion blogger) in a banner picture on the top of the page. The Page 68 of 91
couple is casually posing in a green couch, where it becomes evident that they value style and fashion. This is deducted from their attire, tattoos, hairstyle as well as the associated caption, which serve as to elaborate the image (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2006) by describing who is shown in the picture, and their occupation.
The wording and constructs used on the site indicate a desire to attract the young and trendy segment. The first section of text presents the Marathona sneaker as having a `refreshing new take on the alltime classic hummel® silhouette' giving the impression that Hummel has reinvented a classic product, making it more modern. The words used to describe the new Marathona sneaker are "style", "trends", "retro", "colourful", "vintage" and "80s". The wordings strongly indicate a youthful, fashion-conscious segment and are arguably established as to describe the emotional appeal of the product (pathos) but also to make use of popular wording about what the young and trendy may desire as to build and enhance their personal style and image. The target group indicated in the text is both men and women, who are aware of sneakers being referred to as low tops (fashion language discourse), as Hummel write `So if you're thinking about replacing your low tops, this is where to find a new pair!'
The second area of text urges the audience to find styling inspiration by following fashion bloggers on the #MYMARATHONAS on Instagram. The fashionblogger, and campaign spokesperson Marie Jedig, is highlighted as one of the bloggers who `share their best styling tips of the new Marathona Evo sneaker'. The audience is invited to participate in a competition to win a pair of sneakers on the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. As Instagram is primarily used by the 12-29 year old in Denmark, according to statistics by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (2015). It becomes evident that Hummel seeks to appeal to the younger segments through the hashtag campaign. Arguably, the fact that Hummel makes use of a # (hashtag) as part of the title, functions discursively to create a sense of youth and relates to the SNS of respectively Twitter and Instagram, where such semiotics function as a method of categorizing messages.
The site incorporates a slider, containing pictures of the Marathona sneaker and a YouTube video depicting the campaign spokespersons creating different styling options, using the Marathona sneaker.
Video #MYMARATHONAS ­ The retro Marathona sneaker
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It is evident from the video, that the intended target audience for the Marathona sneakers is the young, fashionable "hipsters". In the video the couple Sophus and Marie is presented as the trendy power couple, who are fashion orientated, original and in touch with their respective individuality and personal style. An example of this is on 0:20 of the video, where Marie states: `I find it comes naturally to me to mix different elements when I'm styling' as she tries on different pairs of Marathona sneakers. The emphasis on personal styling is shown throughout the video at various occasions. For instance, at 0:43 Marie is shown cutting the sleeves of a Hummel sweatshirt, as to create a new unique style and the couple is shown changing styles often throughout the video. Based on the video setting, which presumably is the couple's apartment, it becomes apparent that the couple prefer design based on modern and industrial principles combined with quirky items and other elements, to express individuality. At 0:29 and 1:08 the video show a behind the scenes view, showing camera crews and photographers, substantiating the understanding that we are visiting the couple in their personal space (home). They are both active in social media and use smartphones on a regular basis to share their lifestyle with friends and family. An example of this is found on 0:58 in the video, where the couple takes pictures of each other and share them via their smartphones. This makes for an integration between their offline and online world, which tells a story about them being active on social media platforms. Marie also refers to the Marathona sneaker and its benefits at 1:39 where she state `I love the freedom of movement you get from wearing sneakers ... and regardless of what you combine with it, it gives a certain casual coolness.' At the end of the video (1:49) a "disclaimer" is presented, where Marie speak of how she finds it important to remain true to herself when blogging about fashion. This functions as to signal that, what is stated by the blogger in the video is something she supports and believes in. The video ends with Marie saying: `I might be a bit quirky, but I see that as a strength.' This emphasises the wish for being true to yourself, and wear what you want to wear making the Marathona sneaker a symbol for individuality. STAY ACTIVE The site is structured much like the MYMARATHONAS site, with a banner picture, text followed by pictures of related products and ultimately a YouTube video at the bottom of the page. The banner picture illustrate two young adults, male and female, who are wearing Hummel outfits, while taking Page 70 of 91
a walk in sand dunes. The male and female model invoke the impression of being a couple in the way they are looking at each other. The image is in grey tones and the Hummel logo and stripes on the clothes are highlighted in respectively light blue and orange colours, as to draw salience to these features. The picture has accompanying text, which functions as to extend the meaning of the image (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006). The text states `Stay active anywhere anytime' and extends the meaning of the image by telling a story of the young couple walking in the dunes, implicitly arguing that the scene is made possible because of the Hummel outfits, i.e. because you wear the Hummel outfit you will be able to fulfil the promise presented in the image-text relationship. The main body of text is targeted at active minded people. This becomes evident in the phrase `... perfect for light training, to and from the gym or as a fresh, sporty input to your wardrobe.' This functions as a discourse for activity, outdoor and sports. The product description provided also speaks to the desired audience as it states: `The Classic Bee collection from hummel ® combines laid-back street vibe with comfort and ease.' and ` features no-fuss designs' creating a discourse of fashionable streetwear and down-to-earth honest clothing. When considering the multimodal discourses identified on the page, it becomes evident that the audience are young active-minded adults who seek quality items, which serves the purpose of an active lifestyle, while at the same time promotes a fashion vibe. Video ­ hummel Classic Bee collection 2015 The accompanying video is very short and illustrate the different styles and outfits found in the Classic Bee collection 2015. The actors presented in the video are attractive male and female models posing in Hummel outfits. The actors are situated in an outdoor environment (a beach). The models pose beside a classic American locker, which connotes a youthful and sporty impression upon the viewer. The general impression of the video is a promotional discourse. The video enhances the product focus of the page, by applying the same visual choices, which are present in the banner picture, namely a grey tone and coloured Hummel wear. The video functions as to support the desired target audience as young active-minded adults. HUMMEL LIFESTYLE Page 71 of 91
The LIFESTYLE page of Hummel rely more on visuals compared to the previous pages on the Hummel website. The page contains a small main body of text, a banner picture, a product slide gallery, and two images showing respectively the male and female styles. The banner picture makes use of the same visual elements as the STAY ACTIVE page, with a grey toned image where the clothes and text is made more salient by adding colour to the respective elements. The image show a male and female model on a beach, wearing Hummel outfits, of the more casual collection called hummel ® Lifestyle collection. The casual vibe is created via the actors in the picture who are smiling, as if one of them has recently told a joke. The accompanying text functions as to elaborate the picture by stating `New season new styles' creating a discourse of a new and fresh take on clothing. When examining the main body of text, it is evident that a lot of emphasis is placed on the design and quality of the clothes. This is shown in the phrase `...mixes the casual street look with sporty silhouettes and comfortable fabrics.' Words such as "street look", "casual" and "comfortable" supports the casual feeling found in the banner picture. Even though there is more emphasis on the casual and relaxed atmosphere, Hummel also cater to the active-minded people, as was the case in the STAY ACTIVE page. This is shown in the wording `A versatile range that'll easily fit into your everyday life whether you're on your way to training, at work or lounging at home.' When connoting the visual and textual elements on the page it is clear that the target audience is the laid back young adults, who are active and seek a casual lifestyle. FOOTBALL ESSENTIALS The layout of the page, match the previous pages analysed: A banner picture with accompanying text followed by the main body of text, which is then followed by product pictures and a YouTube video. The banner picture is coherent with the pictures found on the STAY ACTIVE and LIFESTYLE pages, making use of grey tone and selective colouring for salience. The image show a young male, who juggles a football, wearing a Hummel football kit. The location is sand dunes, and there is a football net in the background. The Hummel shirt is highlighted with a bright green colour, drawing attention to the clothes and Hummel logo. The accompanying text functions as to elaborate on the image by stating `Raise your game on the field.' The phrase functions as a metaphor, where "your Page 72 of 91
game" refer to the football skills and "field" which refer to the football field or training ground. The implicit message is that by wearing Hummel's football collection the wearer can improve their football skills. The main body of text, leaves little for interpretation, yet it is evident that Hummel Football collection is meant for people interested in football, as genre wordings (bold) are used to describe the feel of the product: `Whether you're a goalie, a player or a fan, our football collections will definitely help you stand out on the field.' At the bottom left corner of the page, an image of a football net is depicted. The image is in grey tone, and contains two football shoe sets which are coloured, as to draw salience. Beside the image is a promotional YouTube video of the Hummel Football collections 2015. Video ­ hummel Football collections 2015 The video makes use of the visual characteristics as the pictures on the page, combining grey tone with selected coloured items (Hummel wear). The video takes its departure on a beach showing a female model kicking a football (0:04). The video then presents professional Brшndby F.C. footballer Simon Makienok (0:06) and fellow Brшndby football professionals, playing football, performing tricks and juggling, whilst fighting to maintain ball control from the opponents. The video has a scarce female representation, as the actors throughout the video are male. Thus, when considering the entire visual and textual elements found on the page it is the young adult male, which comes to mind. The audience is interested in football, more specifically Danish football, due to the presence of Brшndby F.C. professionals in the promotional video. 6.1.2 SBU pages SBUs ­ lifestyle The first thing that draws attention on the page, is a banner picture followed by an elaborate product inventory gallery, which dominate the page layout. The banner picture follow the characteristics of the previous banner pictures analysed. The image depicts a young female model wearing Hummel clothing. The image is grey toned and the Hummel wear is highlighted in a red colour as to draw attention to the clothing. On the left hand side of the page the is a product filtering box, which serves Page 73 of 91
discursively as to create a sense of control and categorisation for the viewer and user of the page. The page's purpose is to function as a display area for Hummel wear and products within the Lifestyle category. When choosing a product, the viewer is redirected to a site that highlight the individual product and assists the website user with locating a retailer. Thus, the individual sites does not serve as a shopping cart option, but rather as individual product presentations. This creates a sense of autonomy for Hummel, making the entire website a testament to what the organisation can achieve concerning design and product quality, rather than a sales platform. The text on the page serves as an indicator for Hummel's intended audience. The first paragraph in the text states: `The HUMMEL lifestyle range for men, women and children is designed to make you look your sharpest and most on-trend & sporty whether you're off to the gym or lounching at home for the day.' Words such as "sharpest", "on-trend" and "sporty" functions discursively to create a certain feeling to be associated with the Hummel Lifestyle products making the clothing a fashionable choice for active-minded people. However, the text is not attributed salience, as it is hidden away at the bottom of the page. Hummel targets parents in the second paragraph. The text takes its departure in the phrase `For the smallest kids, we have developed a special line of wool. To be able to you the very best, we have chosen the softest and most premium materials ­ Merino wool ­ which originated from well treated sheep that haven't been exposed for mulesing.' Within the phrase, Hummel constructs a discourse of an organisation that cares about toddlers' well-being, as well as sustainable production. The text then provides the parents with the scientific specifications of wool as to enhance the organisation's credibility and create a discourse of a knowledgeable enterprise. The text is targeted at parents as it states `Wool products regulate your baby's body temperature as it detains heat, absorbs sweat and allows the skin to breathe. It has the natural ability to keep the body warm when it's cold, and chilled when it's warm. Combined with its bactericidal and self-cleaning features, this makes the wool perfect as pyjamas or under a snowsuit in the winter.' Next, the section addresses season specific product concerns, again targeting a family segment. The text presents the viewer with the swimwear line of the Hummel Lifestyle product category. The Page 74 of 91
family discourse is highlighted in the phrase `For summer days, our swim- and beachwear ensures the whole family with style, quality and protection from the sun's harmful rays.' Hummel further the family discourse by providing evidence of how the Hummel Swimwear helps protect toddlers from being harmed by UV radiation. This is evident in the text `Swimwear for kids, babies and tweens is equipped with UV 50+ protection, which is the highest level possible, and our range also includes swim suits and sun hats that protect your child from top to toe.' Thus, Hummel is depicted as a knowledgeable and caring organisation. SBU ­ SPORT The Hummel Sport collection site, has the same general layout as the Lifestyle section. The banner picture show a female and male model wearing outfits from the Hummel Sport collection. The image is in grey tone and the Hummel clothing is highlighted in an orange colour, to draw attention to the Hummel logo. At the bottom of the page, the text describe the Hummel Sport collection. Hummel highlight three particular sports activities, which they use to describe the Hummel Sport collection assortment: `Our many collections are divided into categories with focus on football, handball, active days, running and much more.' Arguably, this signifies a focus on particular sporting events. However, Hummel incorporates a diversification discourse in the sense that Hummel presents its focus areas (football & handball) but at the same time diversify as they make it clear that the Hummel Sports collection have "much more" than just football and handball equipment. By doing this Hummel diversify the intended audience to incorporate all active minded people and not just foot- and handball segments. The next paragraph is used to highlight Hummel's skills and knowledge concerning sportswear production and quality. Hummel creates a discourse of best in business by stating, `We value quality, durability and functionality, which is why we use the latest technology and cutting edge materials and develop our own technology.' The wording serve to support the identified discourse and construct Hummel as experts in sportswear. The diversification of the Hummel Sport collection is evident in the text concerning sports accessories, where Hummel targets the active minded people as well as professionals within Football and Handball. The former is highlighted in the phrase `whether you're going on a weekend getaway Page 75 of 91
and need a larger bag or trolley for the plane, or you just need a bag for your sports clothes and gear, there's a bag in our range to fit your needs.' Hummel diversifies its product line by highlighting different scenarios where its customers might need its products. The more professional target audience is targeted in the sentence: `You will also find plenty of footballs and handballs for all levels of the game, match and training.' However, by incorporating the wording "all levels" as to describe its product line, Hummel ensures that its football and handball equipment is family and hobby friendly. Finally, Hummel promotes its Classic Bee collection, which is one of the highlighted elements on the main page of Hummel's website. In this paragraph Hummel emphasize the popularity of the collection "one of our bestsellers", by doing so Hummel create a discourse which serve to illustrate likeability in the collection, making it evident that the Classic Bee collection is popular among Hummel's customers. Hummel again diversifies its targeting by stating `great for both sports and leisure' making sure not to alienate a particular segment. Hummel also address product quality in the phrase `The seamless, thin fabric and tight fit makes this one of the most comfortable attires you can wear ...' SBUs ­ Fashion The Hummel fashion SBU shares its overall layout with the previous pages. However, the banner picture depicts a male child with a colourful carousel in the background. This evidently targets parents or future parents as the scenery creates a discourse of a family trip to an amusement park. The picture looks like it belongs in a family photo album. This theme stands in contrast to the previous pages, which was highly focused on young adults, whereas this targets a more mature audience, i.e. parents and future parents. The fashion SBU page has text at the bottom of the page, as the previous SBUs. Here the intended audience is varied. The headline of the first paragraph is a strong indicator to a discourse of inclusion: `Fashion clothes for men, women, kids, tweens and babies from hummel.' This sentence show that Hummel targets most age groups, however implicitly this is done in an effort to target parents and families as such is arguably more likely to visit the page compared to kids, tweens and babies. Furthermore, there are no clear word constructions or illustrations that targets children, thus the target audience must be parents or adults thinking of establishing a family. Page 76 of 91
The family discourse is repeated in the text, where the Hummel Kids fashion and baby fashion wear is highlighted. In the paragraph `hummel Kids fashion wear for kids aged 3-12 years' presents the kids fashion line and highlight the fact that the beachwear of Hummel is `equipped with UV50+ protection.' As identified from the SBU Lifestyle section regarding beachwear for kids, the wordings function to create a perception of a caring organisation. The paragraph also includes technical specifications, and refers to Hummel's technology within clothing as it states `... is designed with Movetech technology to ensure durability and functionality in all kinds of weather.' This constructs a discourse of quality that parents arguably look for in clothing for their children. Hummel focus on parents in the sentence `The baby fashion collection is all about keeping your baby happy all year.' It is clear that Hummel wants to ensure the happiness of the end-user, as they discursively reassure parents who consider buying baby clothing. Hummel revisits its wool quality, touched upon on the SBU Lifestyle page, which found that the wording functioned to enhance Hummel's credibility regarding sustainable production, and help construct the organisation as caring, focussing on toddlers' wellbeing. However, Hummel also incorporates messages for young adults in the paragraph titled `Men and women's fashion clothes in co-lab with the worlds' greatest designers and brands.' Here Hummel presents how the organisation collaborate with popular brands and designers within their fashion SBU. Hummel state that the organisation hosts co-labs `where we mix our styles and make the coolest styles possible.' This create a discourse of adaptability and creativity. Hummel's style collaborations include `Japanese designer Ryo Yoshihashi, Roskilde Festival, Black Eyed Peas and many more.' Here Hummel seeks to tap into the goodwill of the designer, artist and event's, trying to attract the fan base. SBU ­ Footwear The Hummel Footwear page share layout with previous SBU sections, containing an elaborate product gallery, a banner picture an accompanying text at the bottom of the page. The banner picture show two Hummel sneakers, red and blue, the contrasting colours function as to draw attention towards the products. Cobblestones dominate the background of the image, which signifies an urban environment. Additionally, a bicycle wheel is present and adds to the urban feel of the image, and arguably denotes a Danish atmosphere within the urban environment due to its cultural significance. Page 77 of 91
The image is in high resolution colours, yet the colour schematics is shared with the grey toned themes of the previously analysed SBUs, as the cobblestones are grey and the products are brightly coloured. As in the previous SBU pages the text is placed at the bottom of the page and is difficult to access, when first visiting the page. This means that the text functions in a supporting manner, and the more salient objects of the page, which is the product gallery, is attributed more importance. In the text, Hummel makes use of a diversification strategy. The first sentence in the text is targeted at two particular segments, those who look for quality and those who look for style. The wordings in bold `The right footwear can make all the difference in the world. Choose poorly and you'll end up with blisters and aching feet ­ or just looking really naff' function to highlight the importance of choosing the right footwear and be aware of quality. Hummel is implicitly saying that by choosing a Hummel shoe you will make the right decision. The last part of the sentence is targeted at style conscious people, as the word "naff" is an adjective signifying a lack of taste or style and being a bit old fashioned. Hummel highlights its knowhow in footwear in the sentence `In our collection you'll find everything from football boots and performance indoor shoes to on-trend, smart footwear for men, women and kids. We value quality, durability and functionality, which is why we use the latest technology and cutting edge materials to keep your look street sharp.' The wordings in bold signify Hummel's knowledge regarding shoes and footwear. They diversify their target audience by focusing on sports and style related products. Hummel also recycle the discourse of quality as they highlight their values and claim a technological insight in their production. When analysing the text it becomes evident that Hummel targets everyone with their footwear, including all age groups in their headlines. Generally, Hummel presents a variety of scenarios to illustrate a need for a particular shoe type for its audience. However, there is an emphasis on activity and sports as several paragraphs in the text illustrate how Hummel shoes can be used for fitness, running and football. There is a focus on presenting the technological abilities of the Hummel products as to enhance the organisation's credibility and skill. Page 78 of 91
6.2 Intended target audience ­ summation Through the multimodal discourse analysis the overall intended target audience of Hummel has been identified to be: Young adults (male & female), who have an active lifestyle and are interested in fashion and trends. The level of physical activity ranges from medium (walking, the occasional run) to highly active (regular exercise regimes). The audience is interested in following the latest fashions and could be categorized as would-be hipsters. The audience is potentially recent parents or thinking of establishing a family. 7. Focus group findings This section accounts for the focus group findings and its implications. It assumes a chronological logic taking departure in an evaluation of Hummel's CBI, Stadil PBI and the relationship between Stadil and Hummel, in the eyes of the intended target audience. Finally, the section discuss the potential role of a top-executive in relation to the perceived corporate identity of organisations based on the findings. 7.1 Focus group findings One of the more interesting findings concerning Stadil's influence on participants' perception of the Hummel CBI is found in the very first section of the focus group, where the participants were asked what they associated with Hummel. Every participant immediately thought of Christian Stadil: Tine: `I associate it with a strong Danish brand .... Perhaps especially because of ehm what is his name .... Christian .... Stadil .... Is that his name, the guy that is CEO' Rikke: `...I just know that he is bald and wears glasses...' Niels: `Christian Stadil' Anders: `When you mentioned it then, bamm, I thought of him and his personality .... His ehm .... yes all his mantras ehm .... I also follow him on Instagram, he is a special kind of person and that was the first thing I thought about when I think of Hummel.' Page 79 of 91
Already this positions Stadil as a crucial element in the branding process of Hummel. It proved difficult to make the participants disregard Stadil, when discussing the identity of Hummel, as the participants were more inclined to talk about Stadil than Hummel. However, eventually the group connected Hummel with their childhood experiences concerning the brand, which were mainly concerned with a particular Hummel jersey: Rikke: `...when I was younger, I knew that those shoes were Hummel and those shirts...' Anders: `... I think about sports clothing, those with the high necks' Tine: `Yes I think about those as well' Anders: `... then I thought about [ ] there was a period where it was retro to buy second-hand Hummel with Gajol and Stimorol prints on right?' There was a tendency to associate Hummel with two periods, the old Hummel and the Stadil Hummel. The discussion quickly moved towards how Hummel used to be about sports and with Stadil it had become more fashionable: Niels: `I must say that the modern Hummel is what I associate with Christian Stadil .... This young modern Buddhist who have brought up Hummel. When I think about Hummel I think about it as two persons, the old which were a sports-brand, when I think about the old Hummel .... I think about their connection with the European football championships, the old national team .... Then I find a sort of gap, where it blooms into something new [ ] Anders: `With him [Stadil]' Tine: `That is right' When the group was presented with the top-5 exercise, they quickly chose four discourses that were part of the dominant discourses identified in the CBI analysis of Hummel. The participants attributed Hummel originality, responsibility, being retro and pride. The group also incorporated one of the made up discourses provided, associating Hummel with being ordinary (regular). This indicates that the CBI of Hummel, at least the CBI identified in this thesis based on dominant discourse use, reaches the intended target audience. There was strong agreement to the retro discourse, the rationale was based on the group's perception of the jerseys they had seen/ owned as teenagers: Page 80 of 91
Anders: ` is the jerseys, perhaps because I at one point wanted to own one [Laughter] I cannot remember, but that is the one I think about ( )' Tine: `It is because it was so hugely popular [ mmm ] It was one that had been there before' Niels: `Yes because a lot of it reappeared [agreement] in second-hand and new productions .... And was suddenly ehm used by one of their fashion labels [agreement] .... They reinvented it [ ]' The retro discourse was associated with originality, as it was quickly agreed upon that being retro meant being original as well. The group then chose the discourse proud, because of their personal connection to Hummel, where many were proud of the Danish heritage. Tine: `...when I think about it as this big Danish brand, then I am proud of Hummel and what they have achieved ... Mostly because it is Danish, a bit like how you feel about ECCO. It is a huge Danish brand, I want to cater to Danish labels and brands' It became apparent that it was important for some of the group members to perceive Hummel as Danish. For instance, when the group discussed the role of sponsorships in Hummel the talk moved towards, whether Hummel was still sponsoring the Danish national team, when it became evident that Adidas was the current sponsor and not Hummel, the group reacted with disappointment: Tine: `But it is sad, there should be a Danish label [ ]' Rikke: `Yes I think so too ( ) as it is a Danish and we are so fond of our Danish ( ) [ ]' Niels: `... you like it when something Danish does well [agreement]' Thus, the pride discourse was very much concerned with the fact that Hummel is a Danish company, and that the group would feel proud when Danes made their mark on society. When asked whether certain events caused the group to attribute a special pride towards Hummel the Danish football triumphs of '92 and '86 were highlighted: Niels: `Of the top of my head, one of the first things I think about is EC 92 and I cannot even remember if they were the sponsors back then I just think that they were, and WC 86, the old national football jerseys. Then I see Hummel, whether they actual were sponsors I do not know for certain [Laughter] However, that is what I see before me and when I think of the EC 92 victory you do get a bit nationalistic and proud ( ) so I associate the label with that.' Page 81 of 91
The group then chose to attribute responsibility and not sustainability to Hummel. The rationale were that Hummel conducts itself in a responsible manner, for instance towards its employees, and that the organisation sponsored the national team of Nepal. However, these were more associated with Stadil than Hummel: Niels: `I also consider something like responsible and sustainable, but then again I draw those associations with Christian Stadil' The group did not perceive the organisation to be particularly sustainable, as the participants associated sustainable with being environmentally friendly, which they did not find Hummel to be in any particular way. The group had some difficulties in agreeing on the last value-card in their top-5, but reached an agreement concerning the discourse of Hummel being ordinary (regular). Rikke: `For me it could just as well be regular, I mean Hummel clothing is regular clothing [agreement] that the Danes are familiar with [ ]' The exercise leaves 6 dominant discourses that the group did not consider part of their top-5. These discourses are credibility, quality, sustainable, survivalist (fighter), professional and successful. When asked from where the group had their top-5 perception the group answers varied. Some had their perceptions from Stadil's talk show appearances and others have had casework in high school. The group did implicitly attribute the survivalist discourse to Hummel in their discussions, but did not directly associate the discourse with the organisation. When asked why they did not include the value-card "fighter" in their top-5, the group agreed that the fighter discourse were more attributed Stadil than Hummel. When debating the sustainability of Hummel the group argued that the organisation was considered more responsible than ecological (environmentally sustainable). The participants did not associate Hummel with the highest level of quality in their industries, as they thought that companies such as Adidas and Nike were of higher quality. The group did not as such consider the credibility discourse to be dominant, but did not find the company to be untrustworthy either. When asked about discourses such as professionalism (experts), the group did not find Hummel to be the leading expert within its industry and thus, did not attribute Hummel a dominant discourse of professionalism. The successful discourse proved debateable, as this was not considered dominant. However, the group would have included the discourse if given the opportunity. Much of Page 82 of 91
the successful discourse concerned Hummel's ability to reinvent themselves, drawing on the survivalist discourse. Most often, this reinvention was considered to be caused by Stadil: Niels: `They are successful as they have managed to re-emerge [agreement]' Anders: `Yes, through Christian [Stadil]' The group was then allowed to select, which of the provided value-cards they would attribute Hummel, if they were not limited by the top-5 exercise and which they would disregard completely. Here the group added four discourses that were found to be dominant in the CBI analysis. These were successful, fighter (survivalist discourse), quality and credibility. The participants also included two made up discourses, which were comfortable and unpretentious. This means that the group chose 8 of 10 dominant discourses. The sustainability and professionalism discourses were not chosen. When presented with the task of evaluating Stadil's communication on Facebook, it became apparent that Stadil has a profound impact on the perceived Hummel identity. Overall, the group thought that Stadil had a positive personality, which they found likeable. Here the group referred to Stadil as being a successful, physically active, well-travelled business man with a conscious (Buddhism affiliation) who is passionate and makes calculated choices as to establish himself as a brand fully aware of the fact that what he does reflects upon the organisation he represents. One participant was critical towards Stadil's personal branding efforts as he deemed them to be selfcentred, an opinion that was not shared by the rest of the participants. Generally, the group found him to be calculated, but also that this was necessary because of his role in Hummel and that social media only portrays the good stuff and not the bad: Niels: `...that gives me an artificial impression and therefore it has no effect on me [ ] ... Again, we are looking at his person, his personal page and therefore I know that everyone makes mistakes and therefore it seems wrong to me, it is not real' Tine: `I just think it is because we are used to just posting all the good stuff' Anders: `I am not as negative toward it as you are, because it is the premise for being on social media ( ) it is the perfect life that is being portrayed and that is just how it is.' Page 83 of 91
Stadil's religious views definitely has an impact on the perception of Hummel as the group found that Hummel's responsibility efforts, in part, were a product of Stadil's personal mantras, inspired by Buddhism. It became evident that Stadil is a person who seeks to make a difference: Niels: `...He is one of those who have made a difference and still makes a difference, because of his work but also because of his mentality.' When inquired about Stadil's role and influence in relation to Hummel the group had difficulties separating Stadil and Hummel from each other. Additionally, it became clear that Hummel was more dependent on Stadil than Stadil was dependent on Hummel. Tine: `I think it is because I am having difficulties separating them, I think they are the same, in a way.' Niels: `I look at him as their greatest sponsorship [mmm] they could have another big celebrity but they have their own man ( ) branding in a way .... He is the public face' Anders: `Yea and we talked about this before, I think it is difficult, I mean I cannot remove him from Hummel. I cannot think about them as separate [ ]' Rikke: `I think it is because, sometimes he overshadows Hummel a bit. Ehhhm when I think of Hummel of I think of him, but when I think of him he could just as well represent another sports brand or something. I mean he really is a big personality [agreement] ( ) it is not 100% Hummel.' Niels: `I think it would be a greater loss for Hummel to loose him, than for him to loose Hummel [ ]' Thus, Hummel is seen as dependent on Stadil, in the eyes of the intended target audience. The focus group participants were in disagreement concerning, whether Stadil functioned as a conduit for Hummel in his posts, or whether it was 100 % his own motivations that constituted the posts. Through the discussion, the group concluded that the posts were mainly of his own agenda, but as Hummel was seen as a big part of Stadil, it became natural to draw associations with Hummel through Stadil. In order to provide an indicator for what respectively Stadil and Hummel represented for the group, the participants were asked to determine how Hummel and Stadil were compatible and where they were incompatible. To this the group agreed that the way Stadil was portrayed as leading an active lifestyle, functioned in accordance with their perception of Hummel. The group found that Stadil and Hummel differed about Buddhism, where it was associated with Stadil rather than Hummel. This is an interesting aspect, as Hummel's CSR programme is called Company Karma, which is made Page 84 of 91
apparent in the CBI analysis. This was not something the group found to be associated with Hummel at all, making the organisation dependent on Stadil, when communicating their CSR initiatives the intended target audience. Where Hummel was generally perceived as unidentifiable, Stadil was seen as exciting and colourful: Anders: `Like if they were colours then Hummel would be a sort of grey, like the floor [Laughter] and he is like a pink-orange [Laughter] who totally eclipse the other colour. Now I do not know a lot about colour mixing, but if you mixed the two it would turn into his colour. [agreement & laughter]' When asked more directly about Stadil's impact on the group's perception of Hummel, there was a tendency to attribute enormous value to what Stadil would communicate, on social media and in televised media. One group member stated that: Niels: `... it directly affects my perception of what Hummel is. Because I see them as one of the same. Both positively and negatively....' Rikke: `...I think Hummel is a bit ehhm unknown, not unknown we do know what it is, but we do not see them often I do not notice them ... However, he is a person you notice and his opinions and lifestyle, which is very interesting.' Tine: `... Buddhism has nothing to do with Hummel, but it has something to do with him. But of course some of the values are reflected upon Hummel ( )' Thus, the group attribute a great value to what Stadil communicates. They see the Stadil and Hummel as being the same. However, when asked to separate the two the participants found Hummel difficult to identify, which strongly indicate that the group's perception of Hummel is influenced by their perception of Stadil. This is supported by the fact that the group thought of Stadil, before any of the dominant discourses identified in the Hummel CBI, in the question as to what the participants associated with Hummel. Having established the importance of Stadil and his communication towards the participant's perception of Hummel. The group was asked to determine the importance of the sender versus the message in online communication, here it became apparent that the group found both important but recognized the impact of the sender on the perceived message. So when asked if their perception of Hummel would change, if Stadil was not part of the company, the group agreed to the following statement: Page 85 of 91
Anders: `They would disappear from my line of sight ( ) like they were before. [Laughter] ... Yes exactly, a more grey and boring mass that just is out there some strange place [laughter & agreement].' 8. Conclusion This thesis sought to uncover, whether the personal branding efforts of Christian Stadil on SNSs influenced the corporate identity of Hummel and what implications this influence has on the intended audience's perception of the Hummel brand. From the PBI and CBI analyses in the thesis it was found that Stadil and Hummel share many dominant discourses; original, Buddhism, active (sports) and design (first-mover) etc., which indicate a strong brand affiliation between Hummel and Stadil. This was confirmed in the focus group inquiry as the participants had difficulties separating Hummel from Stadil and vice versa. The focus group found that the responsibility efforts of Hummel was something Stadil represented, thus attributing the discourse of responsibility to Stadil rather than Hummel. This was because of the group's perceptions regarding Stadil's religious views, which they perceived as being personal mantras that served to make a difference in the world. Consequently, Hummel is dependent on their intended target audience perception of Stadil, when communicating their responsibility efforts. It was also found that many of the group's perceptions of Hummel, originated from Stadil, as the discourses used in the Hummel CBI was considered to be linked to Christian Stadil even though Hummel explicitly apply them in their communication. An example of this is the fighter/survivalist discourse, which is used frequently in the CBI of Hummel, but did was not attributed the organisation according to the focus group participants. The implications of Stadil's influence on Hummel proved to be profound, to the point that Stadil's PBI in some respects overshadowed Hummel's CBI, as the intended target audience first association to Hummel was Stadil. Additionally, the focus group participants had difficulties identifying Hummel and not think of Stadil at the same time. It was ultimately argued that if Hummel were to loose Stadil as a representative/conduit, they would lose the attention of their intended target audience. Thus, Hummel is dependent on the goodwill its intended audience has towards Stadil, if the organisation wish to maintain a good brand reputation or in fact even be recognized by its intended audience. Page 86 of 91
The case study in this thesis indicate that top-executives potentially have a profound influence on the identity of organisations. It is therefore necessary for the managerial bodies to consider personal branding strategies in their online behaviour, as to ensure positive brand associations between their PBIs and the companies they represent. Additionally, the case study provides a potential pitfall of PBI influence on corporate identity, as charismatic PBIs may dominate and potentially overshadow CBIs. Thus, it is important to consider brand alignment strategies between executives PBIs and companies CBIs, but at the same time allow for dynamic brand narratives so that CBIs and PBIs are not seen as completely the same. Characters excl. blanks 175,916 Page 87 of 91
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