Table of Contents
TOC o “1-3” h z u CHAPTER ONE PAGEREF _Toc512752457 h 21.0 INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc512752458 h 21.1 Background of the study PAGEREF _Toc512752459 h 21.2 Problem Statement PAGEREF _Toc512752460 h 41.3 Study Rationale PAGEREF _Toc512752461 h 51.4 Research Objectives PAGEREF _Toc512752462 h 61.4.1 Aim PAGEREF _Toc512752463 h 61.4.2 Objectives PAGEREF _Toc512752464 h 61.4.3 Research Questions PAGEREF _Toc512752465 h 6CHAPTER TWO PAGEREF _Toc512752466 h 72.0 LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK PAGEREF _Toc512752467 h 72.1 INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc512752468 h 72.2 LITERATURE REVIEW PAGEREF _Toc512752469 h 72.2.1 Overview of Social Media PAGEREF _Toc512752470 h 72.2.2 Corporate Identity PAGEREF _Toc512752471 h 82.2.3 Social Media Used as a Tool for Corporate Identity PAGEREF _Toc512752472 h 92.3 Theoretical Framework PAGEREF _Toc512752473 h 112.3.1 Social Information Processing (SIP) Theory PAGEREF _Toc512752474 h 112.3.2 Uses and Gratification Theory (UGT) PAGEREF _Toc512752475 h 122.4 Chapter summary PAGEREF _Toc512752476 h 13CHAPTER THREE PAGEREF _Toc512752477 h 14METHODOLOGY PAGEREF _Toc512752478 h 143.0 Introduction to the Chapter PAGEREF _Toc512752479 h 143.1 Sample PAGEREF _Toc512752480 h 143.2 Sampling Techniques PAGEREF _Toc512752481 h 153.3 Research tools PAGEREF _Toc512752482 h 153.3.1 Content analysis PAGEREF _Toc512752483 h 153.3.2 Interviews PAGEREF _Toc512752484 h 163.4 Data Analysis PAGEREF _Toc512752485 h 173.5 Ethical Considerations PAGEREF _Toc512752486 h 173.6 Limitations PAGEREF _Toc512752487 h 173.7 Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc512752488 h 18CHAPTER FOUR PAGEREF _Toc512752489 h 18Findings and Discussion PAGEREF _Toc512752490 h 184.0 Introduction to the Chapter PAGEREF _Toc512752491 h 184.1 Research Findings PAGEREF _Toc512752492 h 184.1.1 Interviews PAGEREF _Toc512752493 h 27
AN INVESTIGATION OF THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA BY BANKS TO MANAGE CORPORATE IDENTITY: CASE OF FIRST DISCOUNT HOUSE (FDH) AND NATIONAL BANKS FACEBOOK PAGES
CHAPTER ONE1.0 INTRODUCTIONThis chapter provides an overview of the research. It expounds on how the social media works in connection to the introduction of the internet which is the basis of social media and how the social media is used by different types of institutions especially banks to establish their business persona so as to manage their preferred corporate identity. Thus the chapter clarifies further by providing the problem statement, justification of the study as well as research objectives.
1.1 Background of the studyAs the world has become globalised, the internet plays a big role in facilitating the presence of the global village. It acts as a hub for the presence of social media, a platform for creation of social communities. According to Solis and Breakenridge (2009, p. xvii) social media is, quite simply, anything that uses the Internet to facilitate conversations. These social media sites, according to Baran (2010, p. 19), have changed traditional notions of the mass audience, the mass communicator, and the relationships between the two. The sender can be the receiver and the receiver can also be the sender. They play an interchangeable role. After all, this advancement in communication has enabled social media to alter the entire media landscape as it places the power of influence in the hands of regular people and expertise, opinions and the drive and passion to share those opinions (Solis & Breakenridge 2009, p. 1). Such social media include websites, twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Key players in the corporate world such as Nike and Adidas use social media. Solis and Breakenridge (2009, p. 166) asserts that social media is the most effective way to package and present online business persona. This provides awareness to prominent organisations on the relevance of social media’s omnipresence in establishing their persona. Social media gives the opportunity for companies to communicate directly without intermediates and to create close relationships with audiences (Kuvykaite ; Piligrimiene 2013, p.305-306). Such that the banks and the audience can be able to send a message, interpret it and give feedback at the same time. This is a process that would take a short time, unlike that of going back and forth through intermediaries. Solis and Breakenridge (2009, p. 176) as such add on that truly engaging in social media means there is need to be wherever the people who matter are. Getting close to the audience consequently enables the direct communication of the bank and the intended audience.
Among the interactive social media, Facebook remains one of the most popular social media. According to Baran and Davis (2012, p. 19), social networking site Facebook, hit the Internet in 2003 and five years later it had 100 million users. This tremendous growth entails Facebook’s popularity with time. Thus the popularity of social media sites indicates the potential of a message channel (Stokes 2003, p. 29). Facebook is focused on because it is one of the easiest and most versatile social networks for professionals today that enable a user to aggregate and promote its brand while nurturing and managing important relationships (Solis and Breakenridge 2009, p. 170).
Corporate identity paradigm combines ways in which an organisation’s personality is expressed (Theaker 2012, p. 127). That is through different types of media, practitioner incorporate different skills that enable the success of identity creation and maintenance. This advances the idea that managing corporate identity is about identifying the right image for an organisation and communicating it effectively (Theaker 2004, p. 74).
Banks today use social media accounts in creative ways to educate, inform and entertain and in so doing create a corporate identity. Social media tweets and feeds help to transform bank personas from anonymous institutions into friendly and approachable members of the community (American Bankers Association 2017, p. 3). These banks view social media use as social capital which they invest in their publics. Thus the use of social media is a platform where banks reach out to its current and future customers in a rather sociable than financial way. According to the American Bankers Association (2017, p. 6), the industry’s top preferred social media platforms are Facebook (90%), LinkedIn (69%) and Twitter (52%), followed by YouTube (38%) and Instagram (22%). Pinterest and SMS text barely register at 5% and 4% respectively. In light of the scale and prominence of Facebook, more than 700,000 businesses have set up active pages on the site (Cornelissen 2014, p. 263). This then arises the need to find out how Malawi’s banking sector uses social media for cooperate identity.
1.2 Problem StatementHaving a good social media site for corporate identity is important as it strengthens stakeholder ties with the organisation and its brand (Cornelissen 2014, p. 263); thus it is vital in situations such as crisis management. Knowing the values the company is known and respected for, and whether the projected values in communication are salient in the minds of stakeholders provides an important indication as to whether the company’s identity is valued and successfully communicated (Cornelissen 2014, pp. 137-138). Social media’s omnipresence and features enable practitioners to incorporate organisational values into a text thereby portraying the corporate identity. These characteristics demonstrate social media’s relevance in effective communication of important and urgent information to publics. Malawi’s banking sector adopted the use of social media for identity communication. However, only a few banks in Malawi use social media such as Facebook for their identity creation and maintenance. Consequently, the study seeks to investigate how the banks that use social media manage an identity.
1.3 Study RationaleSocial media has been used by many banks in different countries to create and maintain an identity. A research conducted on corporate websites and social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) of the eight largest banks in Turkey to understand their identity construction processes revealed that online presence of banks in Turkey tends to emphasize the softer, especially socially responsible side of their organizational identities (Aksak, ; Duman, 2014, p. 119). However, what applies in one country may not be replicated necessarily in another. So far, little or no studies have been done on the use of social media for identity creation and maintenance on Malawi’s banking sector. Therefore, the proposed study will not only assist Malawi’s banking sector in understanding the relevance of such interactive media in identity creation and maintenance but also contribute to the public relations discipline on how best to communicate with its publics. It will unveil the relevance of online presence and activeness.
1.4 Research Objectives1.4.1 AimIn relation to the popularity and prominence of Facebook, the study seeks explore how FDH Bank and National Bank use Facebook in management of an identity.
1.4.2 ObjectivesTo find out strategies used by banks on their Facebook page to manage their identity.
To establish the extent to which the banks utilise Facebook to manage their identity.
To find out perceptions of| the banks on using social media (Facebook) to manage their identity.
1.4.3 Research Questions a) What strategies are used by banks to manage their identity with its publics?
b) To what extent do the banks utilize Facebook and the strategies to manage their identity?
c) How do banks perceive the use of social media in management of their corporate identity?
1.5 Chapter Summary
This chapter has given an overview of how social media came about and its interactive nature but also the prominence it has had in the cooperate world. In addition, it highlights the extent to which Facebook has taken precedence over other forms of social media in the banking industries of other countries. Malawi on the other hand has not had a study on how social media is used by banks in the creation and maintenance of a cooperate identity. Therefore, the necessity of the proposed study has been elaborated through the problem statement, justification of the study as well as research objectives.
CHAPTER TWO2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK2.1 INTRODUCTIONThe chapter provides an overview on reviews on available literature on corporate identity management through social media. It comprises of the main focus of the research by looking into the overview of social media, corporate identity and social media as a tool for corporate identity. The second section of the chapter looks into the theoretical framework guiding the study through social information process (SIP) theory and uses and gratification theory (UGT).
2.2 LITERATURE REVIEW2.2.1 Overview of Social MediaSocial media highlights the changes in hierarchy from one way communication of traditional media such as television and print to two way symmetrical communications. Participants on social media applications desire to actively engage and to become both producers and consumers of information, so called “prosumers” (Toffler, 1980 as cited in Kaplan ; Haenlein 2009, p. 59). Interactivity is one of the factors that differentiate social media from the traditional mass media communication ( Kostamo 2013, p.24). In light of this, Solis and Breakenridge (2009, p.178) postulate that social networks are addictive and immersive such that their respective communities are constantly calling for attention and participation. Entailing that social media has aspects that entice audience to want more activeness as well as inclusion in the interactions. Since Facebook is the most popular social media site, it is certainly a platform that can get someone’s attention as social media can be addictive.
2.2.2 Corporate IdentityIn looking at corporate identity, identity is what is created and sent from an organization to its external world, with image as something which emerges outside of the organization’s boundaries and is eventually sent back to the organization via external analysis (Stacks, 2002 as cited by Oliver 2004, p.254). That is to say, the projected corporate identity has a bearing on audience perceptions as they come up with an image of the organisation. In such a way, the corporate identity presents a basis on how the organisation should be viewed. This is why the image that organisations project is often the way in which they are perceived by their stakeholders (Cornelissen 2011, p. 61). Corporate identity according to Cornelissen (2014, p. 63) is a positive image of an organisation aimed at building, maintaining and protecting strong reputation with stakeholders. As reputation is an important aspect of corporate identity, it needs to be communicated accurately to the different stakeholders and through different means. The communicated image is therefore conveyed through the organization’s logo, products, services, buildings and all other tangible bits of evidence created by the organization to communicate to its various stakeholders (Argenti, 1998 as cited in Oliver 2004, p.254). For any business strategy to be effective, it must be comprehended accurately by the target publics, or at least in the way that the corporate vision and mission determine (Oliver 2010, p. 74). In other words, identity and image must be consistent in the sense that the projected image and reality must coincide (Simões & Dibb 2002 as cited in Melewar 2008, p. 12). As a result, the corresponding of corporate identity and image would clearly reveal the success of the corporate identity management.
The prevalent emphasis on corporate identity highlights its relevance in almost every organisation. As such, Balmer and Gray (2000, p. 257) postulate that, the forces contributing to the increase in the importance of corporate identity include mergers, acquisitions and divestitures situations which radically alter the business profile and acceleration of product lifecycle through the respected names which add value to products, hence reducing uncertainty in the publics. This reveals the relationship that crisis management and corporate identity have since the corporate identity that was created by the organisation removes the dissonance in the audience during a crisis. In accordance to this, the benefit of a clear identity is that it can drive behavior, performance, and communication, as it should: in that way, internal and external constituencies will all understand what the organization is about (Doorley & Garcia 2007, p.7).
Effective management of corporate identity provides a potential avenue to competitive advantage (Simões et al. 2005, as cited in Melewar 2008, p. 11). As communication is one way in which corporate identity is managed, the way in which organisations interact with its publics needs to be one which represents the organisation in the best possible way that highlights the organisation’s persona. This may therefore help the organisation to be more outstanding if it is to compete in the industry. Thus good corporate identity management brings about the urge in stakeholders to buy that organisation’s products and services, to work for that organisation or to invest in it (Cornelissen 2011, p. 63). Similarly, firms have increasingly realized that the management of these tools can increase return on investment, motivate employees, attract the most intelligent and talented executives, and serve as a means of differentiating their products and services (Melewar 2008, p. xiv). Consequently, good corporate identity management has an impact on the networks that can be created and maintained.
2.2.3 Social Media Used as a Tool for Corporate IdentityAs explained in the previous section, corporate identity management involves effective communication with the audience so as to ensure that corporate identity portrays the intended corporate image. For this to be achieved, organisations need to use communication media that they deem appropriate for their communication goals. Hence Melewar and Jenkins (2002 as cited in Melewar 2008, p. 9) point out that corporate identity has links to products and services and formal and informal communications of the organization. These products and services are part and parcel of what or who the organisation is. Whereas the formal and informal communication may involve using any available means that can reach every target audience since different audience access different types of media and each media may impact people differently.
Formal communication includes broadcasting, print media, websites and emails. However, broadcasting is expensive, requiring expensive infrastructure, technology and many personnel, printing is expensive as well but not only do websites and email allow near instant communication with smaller groups, they also bring a huge cost reduction (Oliver 2004, p. 242). This is why it has been observed that organizations are creating their personal online identity (Doorley, & Garcia 2007, p.108). As already stated in chapter one that social media is anything that uses the internet to facilitate conversations, emails and websites also use the internet and are therefore part and parcel of social media. Nevertheless emails and websites are formal means of communication where as social media such as Facebook are informal means of communication. It is therefore important to note that a company with a finite budget must select those media that will best reach the target audience: often, this will mean using many of the media available to assure that no parts of the audience will be left out (Doorley & Garcia 2007, p.115). Since broadcasting and print media are expensive, with the near instant communication and cost reduction benefits (or fair costs) of social media, social media can be used to ensure that no one is left out of the communication process.
Kuvykaite and Piligrimiene (2013, p. 305) state that public relations which are responsible for positive image development should incorporate the use of Internet Technologies. Thus if a company is to succeed in reaching the publics in an effective way and not leaving out any of the audience, it is recommended that they use social media, an internet technology that can be used to create and manage social relations that bring about a good image of the organisation with a lot of people that are in different places simultaneously. These internet technologies have been recommended because the new media do differ in at least three key dimensions: interactivity, measurement, and variety (Doorley & Garcia 2007, p.114).
To this point, it can be observed that social media allows practitioners to establish an organisation’s perspective, listen to the public’s response to that perspective and give response to the public’s response. In so doing, a company can integrate the feedback into tactics of public relations (Kuvykaite ; Piligrimiene 2013, p. 306). Consequently, the forms of communication used are deliberately presented in a way that targets particular publics (Simões ; Dibb 2002 as cited in Melewar 2008, P. 12). Such that the interactions with the target audience ensure that the practitioners effectively do their work in managing the corporate identity of their organisations.
In managing corporate identity on social media, skilful presentation of text elevates the identity of an organisation. As a result, the consistent use of the corporate name, logo and colours creates a monolithic identity for an organisation (Hutch ; Schultz, 1997, p. 3). Consistency avoids confusion or ambiguity of the organisation’s persona and may align audience to the intended corporate identity and the intended communication discourse. When user identity is consistent in all interactions and evaluations, people often come to invest certain expectations in the user of that identity (Holmes, 2005 p. 62).
On the other hand, with the high demand for participation by consumers, organisations need to be active, posting updates frequently, involving the audience in an interactive and responsive manner. This way, the audience can see the seriousness of the organisation thereby motivating them to also participate in the process. According to Kostamo (2013, p.30) engaging the audience and being active in commenting and sharing gets companies in front of consumers in a powerful and personal way. This is a situation that will ensure that the corporate identity is managed well.
2.3 Theoretical Framework
2.3.1 Social Information Processing (SIP) TheoryBeginning the 1990s, after the advent of the internet and the World Wide Web, interest grew in studying how the internet impacted the ways people communicate with each other. Joseph Walther came up with Social Information Processing (SIP) theory in 1992. The theory expounds that communicators who meet through text based computer mediated communication (CMC) develop interpersonal impressions and relationships. Walther elaborates how aspects of the communication process interact with technological features of media to foster the development of affinity and attraction in online environments (Littlejohn and Foss 2009, p. 897). Where face to face communication is guided by nonverbal cues to help build an impression, CMC is often viewed as lacking such; such that it is perceived as not being an effective medium for impression and relationship formation.
Nevertheless, Walther holds a contrary argument to the view that CMC is not an effective medium for impression and relationship formation by offering the alternative perspective to the cues filtered out perspective. Walther uses verbal and temporal cues to highlight how SIP works. That is, verbal cues look at the receiver’s use of verbal context of typed messages to infer social information about a sender (Littlejohn and Foss 2009, p. 897). This context is through use of a certain type of language, typographical errors and nature of emoticons employed. Meaning users can create impressions of others based solely on the linguistic content of online messages (Griffin 2012, p. A-2). The use of verbal cues as such addresses objective one of this paper of finding out strategies used by banks on their Facebook page to manage their identity. On the other hand, temporal cues infers that the lengths of time communicators have to exchange messages are a central influence on the type of relationship they form (Littlejohn 2009, p. 897). Hence, the more time spent communicating, the higher the chances of raising the positive perception anticipated by others. Therefore, the temporal cues will assist the researcher in establishing the extent to which the banks utilise Facebook and the strategies to manage their identity. In addition, since these temporal cues influence the type of relationship formed, they will help to compare and contrast perceptions of the banks on using social media (Facebook) to manage their identity
Originally, SIP theory was limited to (linguistic) text only in online communication but Walther later on explains that careful thinking can expand his theory to account for online communication that transcend the limitations of text (Griffin 2012, p. 139). Therefore, the theory can be applied to other CMC text such as images, videos and audios. The different types of text will be studied in this research in relation to this theory. On the other hand, the theory only explains how CMC fosters impressions but does not consider why receivers of messages use particular CMC, such as Facebook. Since CMC is interactive in nature and organisations use it to foster their corporate identity, it is however not clear why such media is used. Therefore, Uses and Gratification Theory (UGT) will be used to expound further the perspectives of the banks.
2.3.2 Uses and Gratification Theory (UGT)Uses and gratification theory (UGT) builds off of a history of communication theories and research that started during the 1964 United Kingdom elections but was later on framed by Elihu Katz, Jay Blumler, and Michael Gurevitch in the 1970s. It elucidates how users seek to use media to satisfy their needs. Assuming that audience members choose among various media for different gratifications; have a great deal of autonomy in the mass process; media compete with other sources for need satisfaction; and the value of media content can be assessed only by the audience (West ; Turner 2010, p. 397).
The UGT is an extension of Abraham Maslow’s needs and motivation theory. It takes audience empowerment one step further by exploring what people do with the media (Littlejohn 2009, p. 65). Exploring will then help in finding out strategies used by banks on their Facebook page to manage an identity. In trying to meet their needs, audience media use could be categorized with four basic divisions: diversion, personal relationships, personal identity and surveillance (West & Turner 2010, P. 393-399). These divisions will help to establish the extent to which the banks utilise Facebook and the strategies to create and maintain an identity.
Uses and gratifications research, on the other hand, has sought to substitute the idea of what measurable ‘effects’ the media have on the audience with an analysis of the ways in which people use the media (O’sullivan ; Jewkes 1997, p. 233). Thus to understand the measurable effect that the Facebook pages of the banks have, this theory will be used to respond to objective three. This analysis is in reference to how senders encode messages to meet the needs of receivers but simultaneously fulfilling their personal goal which in this case is the corporate identity of the banks. All in all, the theory highlights that audience are critical consumers; they are construed as more or less active (Wilson 2009, p. 23). Even though UGT addresses why audience access media, it ignores the social context in which the communication occurs. Thus social information process theory comes in to complement this aspect since these two theories complement each other in this paper. In the same way, Silverman (2001, p.23) postulates that facts never speak for themselves since all knowledge is theoretically impregnated. That is why the study will use these theories to establish the context of the information acquired from the research.
2.4 Chapter summary
This chapter has delved into scholarly literature relevant to this research study. The literature review reveals the interactive nature of social media and how it places the power of influence in the hands of the audience. It projects how corporate identity influences the corporate image of the audience, how the organisation’s core values and mission statement are essential in establishment of corporate identity, the relevance of corporate identity management and the roles mergers, acquisitions and divestitures play in arising the need for corporate identity. It also highlights the relevance of social media in corporate identity, how social media enables integration of feedback into tactics of public relations and the way in which the power of influence in the audience advances the need to manage identity; where practitioners need to ensure consistency, active in posting and participate to ensure interaction. The chapter has also looked into the theories that are employed in this study, namely: The Social Information Processing theory (SIP) and the Uses and Gratifications theory (UGT). Social information processing (SIP) theory elaborates how impressions and relations are formed through Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) whereas Uses and Gratification theory which assumes that audience use media for gratification of needs. These theories complement each other and have been linked to the objectives of the study to show how they apply in the study.
CHAPTER THREEMETHODOLOGY3.0 Introduction to the ChapterThe chapter elaborates how the research was carried out in order to accomplish the aim of the research.
3.1 SampleThe research used a sample of two banks; National Bank (NB) and First Discount House (FDH). These were used as a case of the study to represent Malawi’s banking sector. In looking at each bank, the researcher intends to interview the personnel responsible for running the banks’ Facebook pages to find out the bank’s perception on the use of Facebook for corporate identity management. The study could have also looked at the perspectives of the audience on the use of social media for corporate identity management but since the study is on the use of sm for ci management, it focused on how the Banks use it facebook to manage the corporate identity. Adding on, the researcher used the month of January 2018 as a sample to conduct qualitative and quantitative content analysis of the two banks in order find answers to the research questions.
3.2 Sampling TechniquesPurposive sampling for the banks under study was done by choosing the banks to represent the whole population/ banking sector. These banks were purposely chosen because they have Facebook pages which have been used for the study. The researcher also used purposive convenience sampling of NB and FDH personnel responsible for the banks’ Facebook pages. They were purposely chosen because as the managers of the page, they hold the required information for the research. Purposive sample according to (Mathews and Ross p.87) is a sample of selected cases that will best enable the researcher to explore the research questions in-depth. Sampling can also refer to choosing specific locations, times of days, various events, and activities to observe in fieldwork (Tracy p.134). As such, the research also used random sampling of the month of January 2018 to do content analysis of the banks’ pages. It was to the researcher’s convenience in terms of time and resources that one month was used -as a sample for the study.
3.3 Research toolsThe research employed two methods/tools of data collection: Content analysis and Interviews. Key to use of several methods is that one method confirms or reinforces another (Stokes 2003, p. 27). Thus these methods will help fill the gaps that other method left in answering the research questions.
The way the identity will be presented for audiences depends on the company’s communication strategy in social media: according to studies of Dunn et al. (2010), Turner et al.(2011), Romero (2011), Owyang et al. (2011), we can distinguish the following elements of the strategy of communication in social media: aims of communication, target audience, message theme, content form and social media channel. Therefore, the researcher used these elements to found out the communication strategy in social media of NB and FDH. Not only did the researcher focus on these but also tried to uncover other strategies used by the banks as well finding out more about the banks through asking the research questions.
3.3.1 Content analysisContent analysis is in twofold: quantitative as well as qualitative content analysis. Therefore, elements such as message theme and content form were uncovered through qualitative content analysis of the banks’ Facebook posts. According to Kothari (2004, p. 3) qualitative research discovers the underlying motive of human behaviour. That is, understanding the factors employed to bring about certain actions or perceptions.
On the other hand, quantitative research asks questions such as how long, how many or the degree (MacDonald and Headlam n.d, p. 9). It is used to measure the extent of occurrences that were found in the qualitative content analysis of content form and message themes. This was done so at to find out the extent to which the strategies are used.
Likes and comments (of both the followers and the bank) as well as the shares by followers were analysed through quantitative content analysis. The analysis assisted in finding out data on how they engage with the audience since social media is interactive in nature.
Social media channel has not been analysed because Facebook is already the case of the study.
3.3.2 InterviewsInterview is a data collection method which usually: facilitates direct communication between two people and enables the interviewer to elicit information, feelings and opinions from the interviewee using questions and interactive dialogue (Mathews and Ross, p.219). These interviews can be done using structured, semi structured or un-structured interviews. The researcher decided to use semi-structured interviews to find out perceptions of the banks on social media use for corporate identity creation and maintenance. These interviews were chosen because they enable probing on relevant issues that arise in the process. Tracy (p.132) postulates that interviews enable the researcher to stumble upon and further explore complex phenomena that may otherwise be hidden or unseen.
Interviews with FDH Bank and National bank personel responsible for running the pages were used to find out the elements communication aim and the target audience for a communication strategy. Apart from this, as interviews are used to explore further, the researcher used the interviews to find out more on how the banks run their Facebook page(s) as it is part of a strategy. In addition, the interviews were also used inorder to find out the views of the bank on using social media (Facebook) to manage their corporate identity.
3.4 Data AnalysisIn as much as content analysis is used for collecting research data, it can also be used for data analysis. Therefore, the researcher used content analysis to unearth the answers to the research question. Burns (2000:432 as cited in Gunde) notes that content analysis is used to identify themes, concepts and meaning, and that these elements could be counted in numerical terms as well as “examined for meaning”. This implies that the analysis can either be qualitative or quantitative. This paper therefore used both quantitative and qualitative content analysis of the research findings. Qualitative content analysis will be used for objective number one and three where the data collected through interviews and qualitative content analysis which was analysed to uncover the strategies used by banks to manage their corporate identity and the perceptions of the banks on using social media for corporate identity management. On the other hand, quantitative analysis was used to analyse the posts, comments, likes and share on the banks’ of the banks’ pages in order to fulfil objective two of the study which is to find out the extent to which the banks use their strategy of corporate identity management.
The meanings uncovered was therefore further analysed/ discussed in relation to the social information processing theory and uses and gratification theory. These theories helped to establish the context of the data uncovered.
3.5 Ethical ConsiderationsThe researcher asked for permission to hold interviews with the banks. This is because as financial institutions, they may have restrictions on what information to disseminate or not. As such, the researcher informed the bank personnel that the information collected will only be used for this research and shall therefore not be used for any other purposes.
3.6 LimitationsFDH bank personnel refused to have the interview recorded. This presented a problem since the respondent was also talking very fast. He was not very much cooperative as he was rushing to other commitments.
3.7 ConclusionCHAPTER FOURFindings and Discussion4.0 Introduction to the ChapterThis chapter presents the research findings from content analysis and interviews which were later on analysed using quantitative and qualitative content analysis to reveal the main aspects uncovered in the research. The discussion of the findings links these main aspects to social information processing (SIP) theory and uses and gratification theory (UGT) where ever they apply. This has all been done in response to the aim of the study which is to explore how FDH Bank and National Bank use Facebook in management of their corporate identity.
4.1 Research FindingsIn trying to find out strategies used by banks on their Facebook page to manage their identity, the researcher looked at the elements of a communication strategy in social media which include aim of communication, target audience, message theme, content form and social media channel. As the case of this paper’s study is on Facebook, then the social media channel in this case is Facebook. The theme and content form were found through qualitative content analysis of the Facebook pages of both banks. The table 1 and 2 below illustrate the findings of the analysis on NB bank and FDH bank
Table1. National Bank of Malawi (NBM)
Date Post / Message Form Theme No. of audience
Comments No. of audience
Likes No. of audience
Shares No. of Bank
Comments No. of Bank
1 Jan Poster
Hyper text Best wishes 29 230 11 2 11
4 Jan Poster
Text Bank services (loan) 14 49 2 2 0-
5 Jan Poster
Text Go Green (environmental conservation) 3 45 5 0 0
8 Jan 3 pictures
Environmental conservation by soldiers. 0 4 0 0 0
9 Jan Picture Community gathering 0 1
0 0 0
15 pictures Environmental conservation 3 6 0 0 0
Picture Catholic and NB gathering 0 0 0 0 0
12 Jan Poster
Hypertext Migration of visa electron debit card to visa classic debit cards (notice) 16 99 9 0 0
13 Jan Poster
Text Temporary closure of service center (notice) 3 28 7 0 0
15 Jan Poster
Hyper text Celebrating fallen Heroes. 0 19 1 0 0
Text Notice 6 20 3 4 0
Orphanage donation 1 19 0 0 0
17 Jan Poster
Hypertext Digital services 23 43 4 6 1
Text What visa classic debit card can do 37 92 21 1 0
Text Services/ products 0 21 0 0 0
30 Picture (news paper)
Text Congratulations 7
39 1 Total 142 724 60 15 12
Date Post / Message Form Theme No. of audience
Comment No. of audience
Likes No. of audience
Shares No. of Bank
Comments No. of Bank
text New year best wishes 2 39 0 0 0
text New service center opening 18 68 0 4 3
text Services/ produts (FDH Mobile top up) 3 22 2 0 0
text Products (goal saving account) 4 18 0 3 0
text Donation (Education) 13 78 3 6 12
Text Notice (unavailability of ESCOM prepaid units system) 3 19 3 0 0
Text Celebrating fallen heroes 3 33 1 0 0
Text Service (Eagle suit) 4 27 2 3 3
Text Notification (call center extention of hours) 3 17 6 0 2
Text Product (e-wallet)
End of janoworry5 46 5 3 1
Text Sports (Question) 7 19 0 3 7
Text Quiz / question on number of fdh bureau branches 2 14 1 0 2
Text Advert (FDH mobile and airtel money lnking) 25 76 4 20 10
31 Poster Sports question 9 18 2 2 9
Total 101 494 29 44 49
4.1.1 Interviews Research Findings
184.108.40.206 Strategies used by banks on their Facebook page to manage their identity
The researcher found out that FDH bank It goes by the Slogan which is “Our Bank, Our Future, Grow With Us” so it posts on inspirations and growth. It portrays this corporate identity in a social manner. To make the page interactive, they create conversations and interact in every aspect of conversations since it is social media.
NBM’s always goes by the bank’s slogan “The Bank of the Nation” in its corporate identity communications and it makes sure it maintai. As such, it posts on bank events such as basketball fixtures, social weekend sponsorships, Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs), awareness initiatives, sponsorships and adverts that are linked to the bank and not social posts since it is .a corporate page. According to Eneless (2018):
“We don’t want to get away from the bank. I noticed that there are other pages that post something that are funny that they see around town and post them. We do not want that. We just want to focus. To them that may be their strategy to interact with people and it might be ok to them”.
In terms of the mission statement, the page reflects the bank’s core values as it has the best financial services, outstanding service, it is innovative (MO digital) and NBM is really growing as a bank. To maintain this image, the bank ensures that it makes the page interactive. The bank interact to make sure that the corporate identity they communicated is managed. The bank ensures that it makes the page interactive by making sure that everything new is posted on the page so that a lot of people get first-hand information of what is happening in the bank and by answering to their questions in the inbox, and replying to the comments on the front page.
When there are negative comments, the bank mostly comments on the page and tries to find out more details through the inbox. If the bank notices (through the tone of his emotions) through the audience’s comment that if it tries talking to that person through the inbox it will not work, it sometimes just likes the comment.
Sometimes adverts are used when it is noticed that the problem will take a long time and a lot of people will be affected. But it is not something that can be done all the time when a lot of people are complaining about a certain service.
The extent to which the banks utilise Facebook to manage their identity.
The bank’s page is very interactive as it reaches up to 300 comments, 400 likes and sharing of posts. After creating an identity the bank maintains this identity through daily posts and engaging followers. The bank post information on the page very often – Daily. It is consistent in portraying the brand, if does not do so, it can lose connection and create a gap.
At times, the bank responds within an hour or less to audience comments. The page has a column for response rate (seen by managers only) which gives a percentage on how fast the response rate is. So far, it is at has reached about 98% and that is quite high. Any rating that is above 70% shows very high interaction. They put much effort on the CSR activities because they know that whatever they do to assist in the community will maintain their identity as the bank of the nation.
The bank is also able to find posts on other people’s walls. Once the bank finds someone with a complaint, the bank approaches the person and finds out what the problem is and helps him or her. These people are contacted for the sake of keeping the corporate image. There are ,others who also tag the bank and in the same way, the bank also helps them through their inbox. Some of those that are helped also start backing up the bank when other members criticise the bank. Managing corporate identity goes beyond the bank’s page.
Perceptions of the banks on using social media (Facebook) to manage their identity.
FDH’s Facebook page created was created in 2017 to create awareness of products and services but also to get feedback from the publics. It also uses the platform to portray its corporate identity. Its corporate identity is a local, home grown bank, Malawian owned. FDH bank uses public relations, corporate social responsibilities and sponsorships to also reflect its corporate identity. These are delivered according to the platform being used. It also uses other social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. There is no media that is better than the other but Facebook has been very successful. The bank uses social media particularly Facebook because it is cheap-cost effective. Other channels have costs. Social media is trending, it’s the new way to go, it is vital. The popularity of social media makes it a forum that can’t be ignored (Aula 2010 p.43)
When asked how NBM views the use of social media for corporate identity management, Eneless (2018) pointed out that in future if the bank decides to post things that are not part of the bank; it might post on themes of the day or inspirational notes. She also noted that not a lot of people share the bank’s post, they only comments and like because most people are concerned with their problems, if they have anything wrong with the system, they will obviously write it on our page.
It should also be noted that there are also other people who comment positively of the bank and even backing it up because of the help they receive from their interactions with the bank on the page.
Eneless (2018) elaborated that Facebook is of great benefit for corporate identity management as it is not only about what is posted on the page but it acts also as an enquiries desk. Instead of the people going to the bank and ask questions, the bank answers those questions through its inbox. She further explained that Facebook is more important for the feedback.
The researcher found out that other media used for corporate identity management include newspapers, radio and television. But social media is the most effective because these days, something very simple on social media spreads so fast as compared to something written (Eneless, 2018). For instance, you may walk past a NBM billboard and not notice it but if something happens and someone takes a screenshot of a NBM advert and forwards it. Within 30 minutes it can spread all over the country and around the world.
National Bank views that, for the sake of communication, Facebook is very easy because it can be used to contact a lot of people at once and all over the world, it is very cheap and it is easy to target a certain group of people. For example, there are cases where a product can be posted and the bank knows that the product will be attracted to most college students. When it is noticed that most of the people attracted are between the ages 18 to 21, then the age group is demarcated and then the post is posted. Thus the post automatically goes to that age group. The bank is able to split the products with thse likes of people and with the ages of people.
In addition, Facebook is more personal. It enables posting almost anything. For other social media, it depends on what you post; For instance, with LinkedIn, the bank only posts on business and Instagram enables posting pictures only. If the bank has not had any activity that is too serious, too business or with a lot of pictures, it cannot be posted on LinkedIn or Instagram (Eneless, 2018). Thus, Facebook’s effectiveness lies in it being personal. With Instagram, one needs an android, without which one cannot access it. LinkedIn in is for professionals. As such Facebook is easier to access and it is almost free (there are other applications through which Facebook is for free).
4.2.1 Strategies Used by Banks
The study on the two banks has revealed some aspects of corporate identity management that are quite similar on one hand and different on the other hand. However, this presents us with the different ways that the banking industry can choose to manage their social media platforms as a tool to effectively manage their corporate identity.
Both banks also strategise on focusing on the organisation’s slogan. According to Kostamo (2013, p.66) slogan often communicates the corporate values and mission, so it can be categorized as corporate identity communication. With reference to this the slogans of the banks under study which are Our Bank, Our Future, Grow With Us and The Bank of the Nation play a big role in the portrayal of the corporate identity as the messages posted on the page reflect the corporate values and mission of the banks. This is why FDH posts on inspiration and growth and National bank posts on thing that will benefit a lot of people once. Thus as the banks frame their messages to be in line with their corporate identity, they present an identity which when the audience interpret will have an impact on the image that they formulate.
Among the strategies used by FDH and NBM banks there are two different approaches that can be used in managing the CI. That is through in a social manner and a formal manner. In the case of FDH bank, it prefers social posts as it looks at social media being social and therefore it blends in with how social media requires them to act. In so doing, the audience can uncover FDH’s image through the social messages that are used a medium for communicating the identity. On the other hand, NB prefers posting only on events that the bank undertook. That way, the audience can view it as having a serious corporate image. Thus, social posts according to Eneless (2018) can only act as a cloud puller and not necessarily as a way to portray its corporate identity. The issue that is pertinent here is that of being strictly serious and being more sociable. With SIP, users can create impressions of others based solely on the linguistic content of online messages. That is, the corporate identity presented through the linguistic content that is either formal or social, the audience will come up with the corporate image of the bank.
Social media is characterized by interactivity – participants freely send, receive, and process content for use by others (Aula 2010, p 43). As social media is an interactive platform, the users which are the banks and the audience interact, there by playing an interchangeable role of the sender and receiver. Interacting is one thing but actively participating is another thing, therefore, FDH and NBM use interaction as a strategy to be more active and interact more with its audience. Chimchere (2018) elaborates that, to make the page interactive, we create conversations and interact in every aspect of conversations since it is social media. This highlights that the interactions are based on the creation of messages that foster interaction between the bank and the publics: entailing that there would be no interaction if conversations were not created.
In conjunction, Eneless (2018) explains that the bank interact to make sure that the corporate identity they communicated is managed by making sure that everything new is posted on the page so that a lot of people get first-hand information of what is happening in the bank and by answering to their questions in the inbox, and replying to the comments on the front page. This then begs the question what is the relevance of interaction in social media and the management of corporate identity? (Aula 2010, pp 45-46) elaborates that social media is an arena for participation in which organizations interact with the public: these interactions create impressions that are important for each organization.
The bank’s (NBM) reaction to negative comments acts as a measure of control in managing the corporate identity to ensure that the publics adhere to the bank’s desired corporate image and not that of the audience through their comments. This is in relation to the idea that Aula 2010, p.46) postulates that if undesirable opinions about an organization go unchecked or unanswered, the situation becomes difficult to correct. Therefore, as management involves control, the reaction to these comments prevents a situation that will need to be corrected.
Sometimes adverts are used when it is noticed that the problem will take a long time and a lot of people will be affected. But it is not something that can be done all the time when a lot of people are complaining about a certain service.
4.2.2 Extent of the Use of Slogans, Manner of Presentation and Interactivity
As management involves maintaining, bank maintains this identity through daily posts and engaging followers. According to SIP theory, temporal cues play a role in the impressions that are formulated by the banks in the audience.
Management behavior should be consistent over time and congruent with transmitted images and corporate identity for a favourable organizational identity (and hence, a greater degree of identification) to come about (Melewar p.14). Thus Chimchere (2018) pointed out that the bank is consistent in portraying the brand because if does not do so, it can lose connection and create a gap. This implies that the corporate identity management communication undertaken is representative of FDH Bank’s slogan “Our Bank, Our Future, Grow with Us”. Therefore, the consistence in posting on inspiration and growth becomes salient in the audience as the bank presents the corporate identity of the bank to the audience.
They put much effort on the CSR activities because they know that whatever they do to assist in the community will maintain their identity as the bank of the nation.
After creating an identity the bank maintains this identity through interactivity; daily posts and engaging followers. The bank’s page is very interactive as it reaches up to 300 comments, 400 likes and sharing of posts. Which represents 29% of the people who follow who comment on the page and 21% ….. such response rate reveals the presence of interactivity and he extent to which he interaction reach. That is, there is an exchange taking place between the bank and the public based on the topic set forward by the bank through it post. Therefore, for those involved in the exchange, they will have the view of the bank and have an image of it. Thus according to SIP theory, the more people interact, the more they create impressions and in this case, the impression formation has been facilitated by the Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) used.
NBM’s response rate of 98% reveals the importance that is placed in interacting with the page’s followers in the process of corporate identity management. According to Eneless (2018) any rating that is above 70% shows very high interaction. Thus, their strategy of responding to comments and questions but also liking the public’s comments within an hour or less has puts the NBM on the front line of managing the image to be formulated by the audience. This way, the bank can control by commending or emphasizing on messages sent back and forth that are in favour of the organisation and at the same time discard any messages that are against the bank. (interaction-temporal cues)
Going beyond the bank’s page to interact with those with problems or complaints, also helps in controlling the image that the publics formulate. These people are contacted for the sake of keeping the corporate image (Eneless, 2018). Among those people who are assisted in this way and realise the goodness of the bank, they also tend to back up the bank whenever their fellow follower comments negatively of the bank.
220.127.116.11Perceptions of the banks on using social media (Facebook) to manage their identity.
….. postulates that, CSR, sponserships etc are part of ci communication. In the same manner, FDH bank uses public relations, corporate social responsibilities and sponsorships to also reflect its corporate identity.(UGT personal ID).
As there are many platforms such as broadcasting, print media and social media that can be used to communicate, banks convey different aspects of corporate identity using different approaches depending the platform being used. As such,
0+3broadcasting or print media would communicate through one way communication since that is the way the platform operates. Whereas with social media, there will be two way communication. Furthermore, with social media, LinkedIn requires a formal way of communicating as it is meant for business only, Instagram will require communication through pictures only, twitter on the other hand is for trivial talk and Facebook enables interaction in a formal and informal way as well as posting anything from videos, pictures, to text. If the bank has not had any activity that is too serious, too business or with a lot of pictures, it cannot be posted on LinkedIn or Instagram (Eneless, 2018).With the use of different social media, there is no media that is better than the other but Facebook has been very successful (Chimchere, 2018). This is because every social media has its audience who have to be approached differently in order to ensure effectiveness. For instance, the audience on LinkedIn operate in a business manner where as those of Facebook can interact in a personal manner. Therefore, while banks may choose to use Facebook for corporate identity management, in a social or formal manner, they do this in a personal way as Eneless (2018) states that Facebook is more personal. Highlighting that managing the corporate identity in a professional manner as LinkedIn in does would limit the success of the communication aim.
Facebook’s effectiveness is also attributed to its cost effectiveness as compared to other channels. While banks may spend so much on running the Facebook pages, it also presents an advantage to the users to as they can easily access bank’s Facebook pages. Eneless (2018) pointed out that Facebook is almost free and there are other applications through which Facebook is for free. Where broadcasting and print will require high cost of production and accessing their media products, Facebook is of little or no cost of production and accessing of the media messages. This means that banks can easily reach a wider audience at a lower cost than other media which. Thus with the capability to post almost anything at a lower cost, banks can use social media in many different ways that have different impacts on people to successfully manage their corporate identity.
Adding on, Facebook’s effectiveness lies in it being personal. It enables posting almost anything. This is in terms of message form used such as pictures, videos and text as well as the approach of communicating in a social or formal manner. Interlocutors who are the banks and their audience can communicate as though they are face to face with the aid of the different message forms which assist in giving an impression to the audience through the content in the message forms. This is because picture and videos for instance are persuasive in nature and text can be structured a way that will persuade the audience to take a certain stance of the banks.
National Bank views that, for the sake of communication, Facebook is very easy because it can be used to contact a lot of people at once and all over the world and it is easy to target a certain group of people. For example, there are cases where a product can be posted and the bank knows that the product will be attracted to most college students. When it is noticed that most of the people attracted are between the ages 18 to 21, then the age group is demarcated and then the post is posted. Thus the post automatically goes to that age group. The bank is able to split the products with the likes of people and with the ages of people.
In conjunction, Chimchere (2018) pointed out that social media is trending, it is the new way to go, it is vital. Thus, the popularity of social media makes it a forum that can’t be ignored (Aula 2010, p.43). This is why it has been observed that the banking industry has adopted the use of social media (Facebook) as a way of going with the trend and following the masses to reach out to them wherever they are found. Social media is the most effective because these days, something very simple on social media spreads so fast as compared to something written (Eneless, 2018). For instance, you may walk past a NBM billboard and not notice it but if something happens and someone takes a screenshot of a NBM advert and forwards it. Within 30 minutes it can spread all over the country and around the world. This therefore shows what catches the publics eye between old media such as the printed poster and new media which in this case is the social media. People’s preference these days differs as the prefer communication that will link them up to a lot of people around the world and can discuss on the issue at hand or the billboard.
Eneless (2018) elaborated that Facebook is of great benefit for corporate identity management as it is not only about what is posted on the page but it acts also as an enquiries desk. This therefore reveals the importance of computer mediated communication as it removes the need for face to face communication while at the same time it provides the information that the audience need. (UGT surveillance) the public can therefore form impressions from the interactions that happen online. Thus NBM’s use of its Facebook inbox plays a big role in corporate identity management. Facebook is also more important for the feedback (Eneless, 2018). Therefore, the feedback that is gained from the page can be used by the public relations practitioners to incorporate them in their operations such as making changes where need be, addressing concerns of the publics and continuing with something that was commended by the publics.
Interactivity on social media involves the use of likes, comments and sharing. While National bank’s publics comment and like different posts, not a lot of people share the bank’s posts. they only comment and like because most people are concerned with their problems, if they have anything wrong with the system, they will obviously write it on our page. This therefore is in congluent with uses and gratification as users always seek to satisfy their needs. therefore, when they need clarity on something or have problem, they take it up on the page and comment or like. Such that if sharing in not in line with their needs, it is unlikely that they would share. INTERACTIVITY
It should also be noted that there are also other people who comment positively of the bank and even backing it up because of the help they receive from their interactions with the bank on the page.