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Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Marketing and Management | Marketing | 2009
Thesis number: 12133
Viral and VOM marketing: a new dimesion of online branding? Examining the "viral revolution" in marketing through the case of Ovi by Nokia.
Author: Kokkonen, Niini
Title: Viral and VOM marketing: a new dimesion of online branding? Examining the "viral revolution" in marketing through the case of Ovi by Nokia.
Year: 2009  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing and Management
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; brandit; brands; internet; internet; palvelut; service; mobiilitekniikka; mobile technology; sosiaalinen media; social media
Pages: 135
Key terms: online branding; viral marketing; WOM marketing; word-of-mouth; mobile services; Internet services; Ovi by Nokia; social media marketing
The main objective of this study is to find out how viral and WOM marketing techniques can be used in online branding. The main case in the study is the mobile and Internet-based service Ovi by Nokia. The study also wants to find out what viral marketing experts have to say about the future of viral marketing and whether it really is the new revolutionary force in marketing. The theoretical part covers the topics of 1) branding in the digital age, 2) WOM (word-of-mouth) marketing and 3) viral marketing. At the end of the theoretical part, a detailed viral marketing classification system will be presented and explained, which will function as a part of the theoretical framework of the study. The framework, which examines how viral marketing and branding intersect, will – together with the results acquired from the empirical part – guide the formation of a branding and viral communication plan for Ovi by Nokia, which will be summarized at the end of this thesis.

The research was conducted as an exploratory qualitative study. The data was collected from two sources: semi-structured interviews with carefully selected viral marketing and branding experts and other data such as informal discussions with Nokia personnel and non-public material such as internal blogs, informal discussions and presentations. The respondents of the interviews were from Nokia, the advertising agency Laundry, The Finnish Direct Marketing Association (ASML) and the communications agency Fruktmusic. The data analysis followed a thematic analysis approach and was focused around 3 main themes and 11 individual sub-themes, through which the data acquired from the interviews was analyzed. From these themes, conclusions and recommendations for the branding of Ovi by Nokia were drawn.

Previous studies have proven that viral and WOM marketing have a connection with company growth and customer loyalty, among others, whereas this study has established that viral and WOM marketing techniques are indeed becoming increasingly important in brand building and management, but for the impact of viral marketing to be beneficial for the brand, the viral efforts must be designed and targeted correctly. The results of this study also suggest that in the future viral marketing itself will become more interactive, communal and commonplace as well as more refined and multi-dimensional. Viral marketing will also evolve more to the direction of trans-media storytelling and professionally produced projects. Viral marketing will probably not override other forms of marketing and branding completely any time soon, but it is becoming increasingly clear that whereas viral marketing is increasing in popularity, traditional marketing’s popularity is decreasing.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.