Lucinda Austin, Barbara Miller co-author article in Social Marketing Quarterly
The School of Communications professors explored how the Coca-Cola Company uses social media to promote corporate social initiatives.
Lucinda Austin and Barbara Miller, faculty members in Elon University's School of Communications, co-authored an article, titled “Examining Public Response to Corporate Social Initiative Types: A Quantitative Content Analysis of Coca-Cola’s Social Media,” in Social Marketing Quarterly. The article was published online in April and will be included in an upcoming print edition of the journal.
As part of their research, Austin and Miller studied the corporate social initiatives types and primary topic (i.e., sustainability initiative) of the American corporation’s Twitter posts, as well as how these posts impacted public comments on social media in regard to positive or negative responses.
The article’s abstract reads: “Corporate social initiatives (CSIs) are increasingly important in boosting public acceptance for companies, and emerging research suggests corporate social marketing (CSM) could be the most effective type of CSI. However, scholars caution that CSM is not a one-size-fits-all. Through a content analysis of Coca-Cola’s social media posts on potentially controversial topics related to sustainability, health, and social change, this study explores how CSI type and message content influence public response to an organization’s social media corporate social responsibility posts. Posts emphasizing socially responsible business practices generally received the most favorable public response, while posts focused on cause promotion were received the most negatively. Findings also suggest that CSM is less effective when the issue and advocated behavior change appears to be acting against the company’s interests.”
At the conclusion of the article, the authors acknowledged Elon students Marcela Hawkins ’17, Katie Klochany ’17 and Katie Pownall ’17 for their work coding social media posts and establishing interrater reliability.
Published by SAGE Publications Ltd., Social Marketing Quarterly is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal covering social marketing. Austin and Miller's article was also featured on SAGE’s blog, “Management INK.”