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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 | Marketing | 2015
Thesis number: 13924
Evaluating the blog as an arena of word of mouth marketing. A consumer investigation of how consumers evaluate organic and amplified electronic word of mouth communication in Finnish consumer fashion blogs
Author: Mustonen, Johanna
Title: Evaluating the blog as an arena of word of mouth marketing. A consumer investigation of how consumers evaluate organic and amplified electronic word of mouth communication in Finnish consumer fashion blogs
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; mainonta; advertising; viestintä; communication; sosiaalinen media; social media; blogit; blogs
Pages: 96
Key terms: marketing communications; social media; blog; word of mouth communication; word of mouth marketing; blog commerciality; fashion
Abstract:
Objectives:

How we view marketing communications has tremendously changed in the 2000s. Especially in the converging worlds of media and commerce, authority is shifting away from corporations and centering on smaller networks and individuals. Consequently, companies have become interested in directly managing these interpersonal word-of-mouth (WOM) communication activities by so-called WOM marketing practices. Subsequently, especially the blog as a new media has been transformed into an arena of editorial and commercial content.

The objective of this thesis was to understand how consumers perceive the use of WOM marketing in blogs by examining the topic through the concepts of organic, bloggers' personal editorial WOM and amplified, firm-created WOM. To this end, this paper explores how consumers evaluate blogs as a venue of both organic and amplified eWOM content in the context of Finnish consumer fashion blogs.

Methodology:

The study is a mono-method, qualitative study that examines four popular Finnish fashion blogs. Ten qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted in the fall of 2014 among fashion blog readers that were recruited with banners placed in the selected blogs. The interview transcripts were then analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Findings:

The most central finding of the study was that consumers expressed an inclination to thinking that all content in fashion blogs is commercial to a certain extent. Concerning organic eWOM, an important finding was also that it was often evaluated as amplified eWOM. Relating to the previous findings, many consumers saw that the bloggers themselves were driven by commercial motives that impact and shape their organic editorial content. The study also indicated that negative organic eWOM was deemed more reliable than positive organic eWOM.

Concerning amplified, marketer-affected eWOM, it was overall believed that commerciality is somewhat a natural side effect of fashion blog consumption nowadays. Hence, when talking about fashion and blogging, commerciality was mainly evaluated neutrally and even expected to be present. However, an important finding was that full-disclosure on the use of amplified eWOM was a priority for the consumers. In addition, the study found that rules and regulations concerning amplified content were unfamiliar to most, leading the readers to make assumptions about blog content and its commerciality based on subjective feelings.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.