This chapter clarifies the research methods used in the thesis and also explains the reasons behind the methods for this research.
Concerning the design of a research project, there are two approaches based upon the reasoning adopted: deductive or inductive (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012). In in-ductive reasoning, there is a gap in the logic argument between the conclusion and premises observed, the conclusion being ‘judged’ to be supported by the observations made (Ketokivi & Mantere, 2010). In contrast, deductive reasoning occurs then the con-clusion is derived logically form a set of premises, the conclusion being true when all the premises are true (Ketokivi & Mantere, 2010). Since the research starts with theories of the academic literature, and the following design of research means to test the theo-ries, the thesis is using a deductive approach. The theoretical models of Social Media, Launching Brand and Consumer behaviors have presented their mutual influences in lit-erature review. The study explores the usage of social media in launching brand by tes-tifying consumer attitude in terms of a specific product category within two countries, Sweden and China.
One way to differentiating quantitative research from qualitative research is to distin-guish between numeric data and non-numeric data (words, images, video, etc.). (Saun-ders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012) To conduct a deductive approach to a study, both quan-titative and qualitative research methods can be employed or combined as mixed meth-ods research (Creswell, 2007) However, the level of integration of these two methodol-ogies may vary considerably. Both methods are used, but only on a complementary manner, so that each set of data are collected, analyzed and presented separately in order to support the interpretation and conclusion reached (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012). As to the timing issue, mixed methods research may be conducted sequentially or concurrently (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007). In a double-phase research design, a sequential exploratory research design that quantitative follows qualitative method could be applied in this thesis. In terms of relative status of the two components, a con-current embedded design (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012) that be embedded within the other during a single means to collect data could be employed, implying some inter-view questions might require qualitative response. Mixed methods research could aid the authors in developing the thesis and design the following research based on relevant literature.
Research approach and study design
Based on the literature framework, the research seeks to test the usage of social media by measuring consumer attitudes, which is approached by the collection of data through the survey method. There are two categories of data in any form of research; primary data and secondary data. Secondary data include existing data collected by third parties for some other purpose and published summaries in which researchers are expected to consider undertaking further analyses. Secondary data collected by authorized orgniza-tion was used in the introduction of the paper to prove the importance of social media in both countries. Whereas, Primary data is more original and designed according to spe-cific purpose. Within business and management research, the greatest use of question-naires is made within the survey strategy (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012) From other perspective, the qualitative method is used by interview with company from mar-keting strategy aspect, associating with qualitative response from potential customers. Combing two methods, the purpose of the study could be accomplished and integrated from both company strategy and consumer attitude aspects.
Daniel Wellington, as a newly established watch company based in Sweden, is present-ed to be an example company aiding the study to be practical. The company has been active on social media promoting the brand and has earned certain awareness. Since the thesis specifically discusses the topic in two countries China and Sweden referring with the company, primary data ought to be required.
The authors investigated consumers’ attitude towards to the companies’ usage of social media between two countries.The survey method collects sample of the population who are recognized as the target group of the company in both Sweden and China. In qualitative method, authors attempt to see a general trend of social media promotion and its related mutual affect with audiences by interviewing marketing professor Angelika Löfgren at Jönköping International Business School, from an academic perspective. The interview was conducted by asking open questions focusing on general social me-dia trend and its related issues and opportunities. Through mixed methods research, atti-tudes. an integrated view could be presented regarding the use of social media across cultures.
the finding and gathering or generating of material that the researcher will then ana-lyze” (Strauss, 1987)
The data collection process was divided into two approaches: qualitative approach and quantitative, it aiming to analyze how to launch a brand in social media and also con-sumer behaviors in Sweden and China. As primary data, interview and questionnaire were mainly used in the data collection process in which a interview with Daniel Wel-lington was designed to provide an in-depth company’s insights about the marketplace and the questionnaire was designed to generalize consumer’s perspective about the product and social media as well. According to the marketing research, the target group of Daniel Wellington is mainly young people, so, the online questionnaire was pub-lished on SurveyMonkey and sent out to colleague students in both Sweden and China . In addition, 100 questionnaires were released in each country on the 23th of March and was closed one month later on the 23th of April.
The survey consists of 24 questions in which it was based on findings of previous litera-ture review that aiming to analyze two different markets from consumer perspectives. The survey was divided into 2 parts, firstly researched the consumer’s attributes about social media generally, and then used Daniel Wellington to make the test more practical. To be more specific, Daniel Wellington are mainly concentrated on the young people, so the first 4 questions are based on consumers’ backgrounds in order to ensure that their ages and personal status fall into the target intervals. Then, from question 5 to question 11, primarily aim to test consumer’s attitude towards social media such as how often they use social media and what they usually do on social media, etc. Most of these questions above were based on Kaplan and Haelein(2010)’s classification of social me-dia in order to investigate the interaction between consumer and social media platforms as well as the usage and recognition of social media among the target group. The rest of questions were more detailed. Those questions were built upon both RACE model (Smart Insights, 2010) and FCB grid (Vaughn,1980) by using Daniel Wellington as an example so as to look into the respondents’ perception of the brand. With regards to “Reach” and “Engage” factors in the RACE model (Smart Insights, 2010), questions above were examined whether if Daneil Wellington had built awareness of the brand and strong customer relationships in a long term orientation as well. As Daneil Welling-ton’s watch belongs to a type of accessory in which it falls into the Affective category of FCB grid (Vaughn,1980) , the remaining questions especially question 15,16,17,19 and 20 were focused on consumer’s attitude towards the brand, in other words, those questions concerned consumer’s respond and the following purchasing behavior about the product. Moreover, those questions can also test if activities that the company are carrying out online have achieved their objectives by investigating respondent’s atti-tudes toward the brand.
The part two the data collection processing is qualitative research aiming to companies’ marketing strategy perspective. Relating with the example company Daniel Wellington, the qualitative research is conducted with it via interview. Through the interview re-search, it could be seen that how does Daniel Wellington use social media in launching brand and what has it achieved from a company perspective. The qualitative research is processed after quantitative research, since some questionnaires requires qualitative re-sponses in order to have reflections from company according to customer’s attitude. Un-like the survey with closed questions, open questions are conducted in the interview due to the fact that they are useful for exploring new areas in which the researchers has lim-ited knowledge; and generating fixed-choice format answers (Bryman &Ben, 2003). Semi-structured interview form (Bryman &Ben, 2003) refers to a context in which the interviewer has a series of questions that are in the general form if an interview schedule but is able to vary the sequence of questions. Also, the interviewer could have some lati-tude to ask further in-depth questions in response to what they see as significant replies (Bryman &Ben, 2003). Additional questions may be occurred to further explore the re-search questions and objectives given the nature for events within particular organiza-tions (Saunders, etc, 2012). The respondent would be encouraged to give personal opin-ions and experiences relating to research questions. The authors investigated consum-ers’ attitude towards to the companies’ usage of social media in launching brand be-tween two countries. From an academic perspective, authors attempt to see a general trend of social media promotion and its related mutual affect with audiences by inter-viewing marketing professor Angelika Löfgren. Also, connecting with the quantitative finding, an integrated perspective regarding social media in launching brand could be provided.
Sampling is defined as using specific individuals from the chosen targeted group as rep-resentatives of the population. The selected individuals called are samples, while the en-tire target group is called a population (Watt & Berg, 2002).
The targeted population group in this research is university students. Reasons for select-ing students as the target research group include the face that most of them are aged 18-24 years old, have a passion and interest in accessories, and are a major force on the so-cial media platform. More importantly, these respondents were the most accessible and quickest to obtain results from.
In order to investigate the 2 research markets (Sweden and China), the survey was dis-tributed online to students in both countries. 100 students from Jönköping International Business School and 100 university students from China were chosen to represent the whole population in this study. The method is called judgmental sampling, in which the population’s elements are intentionally selected and relied upon for judgment and belief of the researchers. “The selection process of the sampling units is estimated through the respondents’ profile where certain criteria should be fulfilled.” (Raman& Stephenaus & Alam & Kuppusamy, 2008).
Golafshani(2003) explained the notion of reliability as “the extent to which results are consistent over time and an accurate representation of the total population under study. If the results of the study can be reproduced under a similar methodology, then the rese-arch instrument is considered to be reliable.”
The responses collected from surveys were conducted anonymously in order to protect privacy. In addition, the surveys were distributed online, therefore, the authors ensured that they designed the survey questions to be as explicit as possible (for example, imag-es were used to show examples of advertising). These designs helped the respondent to get a clear perception and direct impression as well as avoid any misunderstanding of the questions which might lead to inaccurate data. Furthermore, the surveys were dis-tributed to the students in Jönköping University, and University students in China; more than one hundred online surveys were collected in in each country. The researchers also eliminated useless data from the responses to ensure better reliability of data.
The interview was carried out with Angelika Löfgren, who is assistant professor of marketing in JIBS. The authors designed the interview questions based on data collected from the surveys in order to better investigate the academic’s perspective and opinions of the consumer behavior and marketing strategies in China and Sweden. Having an in-terview with person who knows the overall conditions of academic marketing thinking would theoretically improve the trustworthiness of this research.
Validity of a research is often explained as “which data is to be collected and how it should be analyzed in order to reflect the issues predefined for the research”(Wainer &Braun,1998). Namely, Kimberlin& Winterstein(2008) constructed validity as “the ex-tent to which an instrument measures what it purports to measure.”
The survey questions were generated from consumer’s perspective, to investigate con-sumer’s lifestyle, habit, as well as the way of cognitive a brand. Before releasing the surveys online, the researcher evaluated the draft of the questions, to check if the survey questions have covered all relevant ground needed for the research.
Correspondingly, the academic perspectives were explored via the interview. The de-sign of interview questions was based on the result of data analysis from the previously mentioned survey, so as to understand the reasons behind consumer behavior in the two markets.
Both of the methodologies have limitations in this research. One limitation in quantita-tive methodology in this case is the regional economic imbalance and unequal income distribution in China as compared to Sweden. This might led to the difference in con-sumer behavior, and the significantly different levels of prevalence of internet might result in the various cognitions of social media. Considering the overall population in both Sweden and China, using one hundred students in each country as a sample size might be considered insufficient to represent the population.
Another limitation may stem from the interview with the marketing assistance profes-sor Angelika Löfgren. Although the researchers were trying to prepare easy-to-understand questions, however, the possibility of interviewees misinterpreting the questions and giving uncorrelated answers could occur. Besides that, some detailed and more in-depth information may have been left out. In contrast, the way of how the au-thors understand and perceive the answers from interviewees and the emotions and personal insights of the questions, could affect the final perception of the answer. Any-how, these immaterial factors are inevitable, and though they could result in a bias in the research, the authors believe that these factors do not have significant effect on the result, and attempts have been made to ensure avoiding and limiting these errors in the research process.
Table of Contents
1.4 Research Questions
2 Literature Review
2.1 Social media
2.2 Consumer behavior
2.3 Launching a new brand
3.1 Deductive research
3.2 Research approach
3.3 Data collection
4 Empirical findings
4.1 Demographic characteristics of respondents .
4.4 Qualitative interview findings
5.1 Demographic of respondents
5.2 Social media
5.3 Consumer behavior
5.4 Launching a new brand
5.5 Qualitative analysis
7 Discussion and further research
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Cross-culture study of the use of social media in Sweden and China