Media convergence is an effective mechanism to enhance brand visibility of medium enterprises in the market as it’s varied and cost effective. However medium enterprises are hampered by fragmented marketing structures and efforts which prevents them from taking advantage of media convergence to amplify brand messaging across media sites and channels. In fact some medium enterprises marketers still view paid, owned, earned and shared media as separate hence develop brand media strategies independent of each other. Thus they miss out on effective ways to offer relevant and necessary brand information to their clients and to heighten their level of engagement with the target customers. Hence this consequently constrains their brand growth in the market. Therefore the objective of the study was to examine the effect convergence of media on brands growth with specific reference to selected medium enterprises in Kenya. The specific objectives of the study included the effect of owned, paid, shared and earned media on brand growth in the medium enterprises in Kenya. The research study used descriptive research design in collecting the data from respondents. The target population was drawn from selected medium enterprises consisting of marketing/brand managers. The research study used multi-stage sampling procedure to select a representative sample of 128 respondents consisting of brand/marketing managers. The primary data for the study was collected using the questionnaires. Data was analyzed using descriptive, chi square, regression and correlation statistics with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences and presented using tables. The study established that paid owned, earned and shared media affects brands growth among medium enterprises as they enhance brand recall levels and engagement with customers; improve relations with the customers and other stakeholders who are key to brand performance and facilitated enterprises to leverage on customer conversations and reviews to promote their brands and reduce communication costs hence resulting in brand growth. The study recommends the need for marketers to utilize all of online and offline paid media to increase brand engagement; to take advantage of earned media through the creation of unique content and offerings tailored to each specific target market

Background of the Study 
In the 1990s there were cell phones, radios, television sets, and computers, each was designed to perform its own specific tasks. However, today there are multiple all-in-one technological gadgets that perform all of these tasks in one single device (Corcoran, 2009). For instance the smartphone enables users to not only make calls, but much more, while the iPad, enables users to search the web, watch TV and movies and other such computer-like actions. Even laptops and desktop computers now have the ability to make phone calls as well as allow users to video chat from computer screen. The internet has also converged with television allowing internet users to watch TV shows and movies streaming online. This is because these devices or channels intersect and overlap each other in what has come to be known as media convergence (Dwyer, 2010). 

According to Lieb and Owyang, (2012) media convergence has resulted into categorization of media forms as paid (Paid company ads, in a magazine, blogs, facebook, google, LinkedIn, TV or radio); owned (Company owned or wholly branded blogs, e-books or newsletters, website videos, and owned presence on social media channels), earned (On and offline word of mouth, reviews, forums, social media updates, videos, photos, pitching company story to online and offline publications, blogs, or news outlets), shared(consumers working in concert with a brand to create and share/promote the brand’s content offline and online) and traded media (companies work with influencers and bloggers to garner product coverage or social media love in exchange for access, information, or input on a company’s product) . 

Media convergence has become essential to the growth of brand as it facilitates communication with millions of potential customers on both traditional and new media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogs, whatsup among others (Solis, 2012). To achieve brand growth, a brand must continuously reach all buyers of the category through consistent and continuous communication; ensuring that the brand is easy to buy, the brand gets noticed; refreshing and building memory structures; creating and using distinctive brand features and assets and being consistent and staying competitive (Farris, et al, 2010). In order to achieve growth the brand must build appropriate brand image, heighten brand awareness, increase brand reputation and loyalty (Aaker, 1996a). 

Indeed, growth is the most appropriate indicator of the performance for surviving medium firms and an important precondition for the achievement of other financial goals of business. Firms’ brands that outperform their competitors are likely to reach high business growth. Attracting customers from competitors and being able to retain them may represent the only way to gain business growth. A firm’s market share is suggested to increase when the brand has a relative advantage in the minds of customers (Aaker, 1996a). Those brands that outperform their competitors in retaining current customers will enjoy greater sales and profits, while success in customer acquisition ensures that customer defections are compensated, avoiding a negative impact on business growth (Egan, 2008). 

Media Convergence (MC) has fundamentally changed the way company brands interact with the media as technologies, devices and internet access have opened the doors for all-the-time, everywhere interaction with brand customers (Farris, et al , 2010). It allows organizations to reach a larger number of customers within real time and to post relevant information that provide their network with updates, reviews, pictures, news and more. This connectivity and all-the-time interaction with customers according to Solis (2012) has enabled consumers and brands alike to create, consume, publish, interact and transact anywhere, anytime (Jenkins & Deuze, 2008). 

While traditional paid media such as television and radio commercials, print advertisements, and roadside billboards still play a major role, companies today exploit many alternative forms of media (Armano, 2011). Consumers enamored of a product may, for example, create earned media by willingly promoting it to friends, and a company may leverage owned media by sending e-mail alerts about products and sales to customers registered with its Web site. In fact, the way consumers now approach the process of making purchase decisions means that brand marketing’s impact stems from a broad range of factors beyond conventional paid media. Media convergence requires brands to bring together their advertising, corporate content & social media to create effective online engagement with customers (Cision, 2011a). 

According to Farris, et al, (2010) different kind of media appeal differently to different market segments as such organizations have tended to leverage on various media (paid, owned, earned, shared and traded media) to achieve market competitiveness and brand growth. Corcoran, (2009) argues that successful companies utilize two or more forms of converged media to enable their brands to reach customers where, what, how and when they want, regardless of channel, medium or device online or offline. They put increased attention on leveraging on the convergence rather than treating each media channel as separate. For instance they leverage on owned media by sending e-mail alerts about products and sales to customers registered with its web site (Harris & Leslie, 2001). These company’s Brands also use paid media (display, text, or search ads) to broadcast earned media in a scalable and targeted way to reach broader audiences (Armano, 2011). Likewise by integrating earned media into owned media properties (website, blog, branded Facebook and Twitter pages) brands achieve strong visibility and differentiation in the market place (Lieb & Owyang, 2012). 

Moreover, consumers are becoming ever more active in their brand choice (Berg, Matthews & O'Hare, 2007). Because of this, marketers must seek to increase the level of engagement they have with consumers across all channels in paid, earned and owned media (Armano, 2011). This battle for brand choice requires brands to increasingly engage customers on their home turf and to involve them in brand messaging in order to raise awareness and enhance customers experience with their brands (Corcoran, 2009). 

This is especially important in the small and medium enterprises sector in Kenya, which face limited market access due to limited access to market information and marketing capacity, poor quality products and ineffective markets. Yet their services and product or brand growth is of importance to the economy. In fact the SME sector contributes an estimated 18.4 percent of GDP to the country’s economy and employs about 85 percent of the Kenyan workforce (about 7.5 million Kenyans of the country’s total employment) (Africa Development Bank, 2011). In Kenya medium enterprises operate in all sectors of the economy, that is, manufacturing, trade and service subsectors (Central Bureau of Statistics, 1999) 

The level of education of proprietors in the medium enterprises is relatively high with the average years spent in school being 9.41 (Ouma 2002). Most of the MSEs, 80.5 percent are individually owned, 10 percent partnerships and 9.5 percent begin as family enterprises (Ndemo, 2006).Central Bureau of Statistics (2004) indicated that there is high rate of failure and stagnation among many medium enterprises and that only 38 percent of medium enterprises are expanding while 58% have stagnated and are most likely to close in their first three years of operation 

Kenya has sophisticated, diverse and lively mass media sector characterized by television, radio, print and a thriving new media such as internet and mobile telephones (CCK, 2008). Kenya has over 16 million internet users and as at the end of 2012, 41percent of Kenyans were connected to the internet of these 98.9 percent of internet users access the Internet on their mobile phone. Today, a growing number of people receive broadcasts through mobile phones and internet. The use of the web received a boost with the increased use of fiber optic cables which contributed to greater internet access in medium businesses (CCK, 2012).

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 76 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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