Emotional Branding on Social Media: A Cross-Cultural Discourse Analysis of Global Brands on Twitter and Weibo

Chapter
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 24)

Abstract

This chapter contributes to the ongoing debate of cultural influence and construction in the social media sphere by examining the discourse practices of sampled global brands in terms of emotional branding on Twitter and Weibo, the leading social networking sites in the US and China respectively. Findings suggest that there are more commonalities than differences in the thematic appeals used by the global brands across Twitter and Weibo. Instead of exhibiting a developmental divide, all three characteristic appeals of emotional branding (Pragmatist, Evangelist and Sensualist) co-exist across Twitter and Weibo. The brands also tend to use similar positive face strategies and relational rituals on both Twitter and Weibo. One notable difference consists in the tendency that corporate Weibo posts contain more emoticons, more intimate address forms, and more instances of small talk, which is a significant break-away from the established Chinese traditions of face and politeness in interpersonal interaction. Implications for corporate communication and higher education in the age of internationalization and digitalization are discussed.

Notes

Acknowledgement

This work was supported by RGC Directly Allocated Research Grant, Hong Kong (#4-ZZFB).

References

  1. Attardo, S. (1993). Violation of conversational maxims and cooperation: The case of jokes. Journal of Pragmatics, 19, 537–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barker, V., & Ota, H. (2011). Mixi diary versus Facebook photos: Social networking site use among Japanese and Caucasian American females. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 40(1), 39–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blom, J., Kankainen, A., Kankainen, T., & Tiitta, S. (2003). Location-aware multi-user messaging: Exploring the evolution of mobile text-based communication services. Helsinki Institute for Information Technology Technical Report 2003-2. Retrieved 11 November 2014, from www.hiit.fi/publications/pub_files/hiit2003-2.pdf
  4. Brown, R., & Gilman, A. (1962). The pronouns of power and solidarity. American Anthropologist, 4(6), 24–69.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, P., & Levinson, S. (1978/1987). Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Capozzi, L., & Zipfel, L. B. (2012). The conversation age: The opportunity for public relations. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 17(3), 336–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cappella, J. N. (1988). Personal relationships, social relationships, and patterns of interaction. In S. Duck (Ed.), Handbook of personal relationships (pp. 325–342). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  8. Cheepen, C., & Monaghan, J. (1990). Spoken English: A practical guide. London: Pinter.Google Scholar
  9. Chen, R. (1993). Responding to compliments: A contrastive study of politeness strategies between American English and Chinese speakers. Journal of Pragmatics, 20(1), 49–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen, R., & Yang, D. (2010). Responding to compliments in Chinese: Has it changed? Journal of Pragmatics, 42, 1951–1963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chu, S., & Choi, S. M. (2011). Electronic word-of-mouth in social networking sites: A cross-cultural study of the United States and China. Journal of Global Marketing, 24, 263–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clark, H. H. (1996). Using language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Duck, S., & Pittman, G. (1993). Social and personal relationships. In M. L. Knapp & J. A. Daly (Eds.), The Sage handbook of interpersonal communication (pp. 676–695). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. Fogg, B. J., & Iizawa, D. (2008). Online persuasion in Facebook and Mixi: A cross-cultural comparison. In H. Oinas-Kukkonen, P. H. M. Harjumaa, K. Segertahl, & P. Ohrstrom (Eds.), Persuasive technology: Third international conference, PERSUASIVE 2008 proceedings (pp. 35–46). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Forbes. (2014). The world’s most powerful brands. Retrieved 12 October 2014 from: http://www.forbes.com/powerful-brands/
  16. Gallivan, M., & Srite, M. (2005). Information technology and culture: Identifying fragmentary and holistic perspectives of culture. Information and Organization, 15, 295–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Global Times. (2013). Sina Weibo users now need employment documents to get verified ID, September 5. Retrieved 27 October 2015 from: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/808980.shtml
  18. Gobe, M. (2009). Emotional branding: The new paradigm for connecting brands to people (Revised ed.). New York: Allworth Press.Google Scholar
  19. Gu, Y. (1990). Politeness phenomena in modern Chinese. Journal of Pragmatics, 14, 237–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hall, E. T. (1976). Beyond culture. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  21. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  22. Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Holmes, J., & Schnurr, S. (2005). Politeness, humor and gender in the workplace: Negotiating norms and identifying contestations. Journal of Politeness Research, 1(1), 121–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jackson, L. A., & Wang, J. (2013). Cultural differences in social networking site use: A comparative study of China and the United States. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 910–921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kelleher, T., & Miller, B. (2006). Organizational blogs and the human voice: Relational strategies and relational outcomes. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11, 395–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ma, L. (2013). Electronic word-of-mouth on microblogs: A cross-cultural content analysis of Twitter and Weibo. Intercultural Communication Studies, 22(3), 18–42.Google Scholar
  27. Malinowski, B. (1923). The problem of meaning in primitive languages. In C. K. Ogden & I. A. Richards (Eds.), The meaning of meaning (pp. 296–336). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner.Google Scholar
  28. Men, L. J., & Tsai, W. S. (2012). How companies cultivate relationships with publics on social network sites: Evidence from China and the United States. Public Relations Review, 38, 723–730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Morrison, S., & Crane, F. G. (2007). Building the service brand by creating and managing an emotional brand experience. Journal of Brand Management, 14(5), 410–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Norrick, N. R. (1989). Intertextuality in humor. Humor, 2(2), 117–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Park, J., Baek, Y. M., & Cha, M. (2014). Cross-cultural comparison of nonverbal cues in emoticons on Twitter: Evidence from big data analysis. Journal of Communication, 64, 333–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Roberts, K. (2004). Lovemarks: The future beyond brands. New York: Powerhouse Books.Google Scholar
  33. Rossiter, J., & Bellman, S. (2012). Emotional branding pays off: How brands meet share of requirements through bonding, companionship and love. Journal of Advertising Research, 52(3), 291–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rybalko, S., & Seltzer, T. (2010). Dialogic communication in 140 characters or less: How Fortune 500 companies engage stakeholders using Twitter. Public Relations Review, 36, 336–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Seltzer, T., & Mitrook, M. A. (2007). The dialogic potential of weblogs in relationship building. Public Relations Review, 33, 227–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Spencer-Oatey, H., Ng, P., & Li, D. (2000). Responding to compliments: British and Chinese evaluative judgments. In H. Spencer-Oatey (Ed.), Culturally speaking: Managing rapport through talk across cultures (pp. 98–116). London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  37. Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  38. Tsai, W., & Men, L. R. (2012). Cultural values reflected in corporate pages on popular social network sites in China and the United States. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 6(1), 42–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Twitter. (2015). About Twitter. Retrieved 27 October 2015 from: https://about.twitter.com/zh-hans/company
  40. Warren, M. (2006). Features of naturalness in conversation. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Waters, R. D., & Lo, K. D. (2012). Exploring the impact of culture in the social media sphere: A content analysis of nonprofit organizations’ use of Facebook. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 41(3), 297–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wright, D. K., & Hinson, M. D. (2014). An updated examination of social and emerging media use in public relations practice: A longitudinal analysis between 2006 and 2014. Public Relations Journal, 8(2), 1–36.Google Scholar
  43. Wu, D. D., & Feng, W. (2015). Pragmatist, evangelist, or sensualist? Emotional branding on Sina Weibo. In P. P. K. Ng & C. S. B. Ngai (Eds.), Role of language and corporate communication in Greater China (pp. 225–239). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wu, D. D., & Li, C. (2016). Sociolinguistic approaches for intercultural new media studies. Intercultural Communication Studies, 45(2), 14–31.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CBSThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloon Hong KongPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Chinese and Bilingual StudiesThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong KongPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations