Book Review: Social Media Management: Technologies and Strategies for Creating Business Value

Social Media Management

Technologies and Strategies for Creating Business Value

Authors: Van Looy, Amy

This undergraduate textbook adopts the perspective of organizations – not individuals – and clarifies the impact of social media on their different departments or disciplines, while also exploring how organizations use social media to create business value. To do so, the book pursues a uniquely multi-disciplinary approach, embracing IT, marketing, HR and many other fields. Readers will benefit from a comprehensive selection of current topics, including: tools, tactics and strategies for social media, internal and external communication, viral marketing campaigns, social CRM, employer branding, e-recruiting, search engine optimization, social mining, sentiment analysis, crowdfunding, and legal and ethical issues.

Prof. Dr. Amy Van Looy holds a Ph.D. in applied economics. She is assistant professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration and the School for Social Profit and Public Management of Ghent University (Belgium). Particularly, she is member of the Department of Business Informatics & Operations Management. She teaches, among others, courses on business process management and social media. Before entering academia, Amy worked as an IT consultant for large e-government projects.


Short Review: This book as is said above is an undergraduate textbook. But I must say that I have reviewed and read other undergraduate textbooks but this one in particular it is really well-written and it is really on the right level. There are severa undergraduate textbook out there that are just incomprehensible but this book under review is easy to read and easy to follow and for me that is one of the strongest points of this book.

The main aim of the book is to discuss the impact of social media on organisations and how social media can be used to create and improve business value of companies and their departments.

The book is divided in 12 chapters which covers several aspects of social media and management. Some chapters include: Definitions, Social Media Types and Tools; Online Advertising and Viral Campaigns; e-Recruitment; Crowdfunding and many others.

I want to say that particularly I really enjoyed the second chapter: Definitions, Social Media Types and Tools. That is because the chapter is beautifully written and on this chapter the author establishes the main definitions and several types of media types some of them which I hadn’t heard of. Also the author discuss in this chapter some very interesting tools that are useful when dealing with social media and the management of social media.

In short, I want to say that this is a very modern and unique book and it is essential if you work with marketing, social media and corporate management. It will be a good addition to your personal library and for your reading. Enjoy!

The ‘Made in Germany’ Champion Brands



Today I will review another great title on the subject of Brands : The “Made in Germany” Champion Brands written by Ugesh A. Joseph and published by Gower.


In this book the author provides an extensive research of over 200 of Germany’s best known brands explaining what they stand for and what has made them what they are today. More importantly Joseph highlights what can we learn (and imitate) and what is transferable from these brands.

The author divided the Brands in two categories Supertars and StarBrands :

Superstars, global brands that have been hugely successful in the global market. This section features brands such as:

Mercedes-Benz, SAP, BMW, Adidas, Siemens, Volkswagen, Audi, Allianz, Porshe, Nivea, Puma.

Star Brands features 45 of the best large and medium-sized enterprises from the German industrial landscape.This section features brands such as:

RWE, Metro group. Hugo Boss, Continental, Henkel among others.

The book is about Germany’s economic miracle, a widely-known phenomenon, and the world-leading, innovative products and services associated with German companies are something that others seek to imitate. The way Germany is branded as a nation carries across into the branding of its companies and services, particularly the global superstar brands – truly world-class in size, performance and reputation. Just as important are the medium-sized and small enterprises, known as the ‘Mittelstand’. These innovative and successful enterprises from a wide range of industries and product / service categories are amongst the World market leaders in their own niche and play a huge part in making Germany what it is today. The book also focuses on German industrial entrepreneurship and a selection of innovative and emergent stars.All these companies are supported and encouraged by a sophisticated infrastructure of facilitators, influencers and enhancers – the research, industry, trade and standards organizations, the fairs and exhibitions and all the social and cultural factors that influence, enhance and add positive value to the country’s image.

Book Contents: 

Branding and the ‘Made in Germany’ brand: a perspective

From rubble to an economic miracle to a world export leader

The superstars

The star brands

The facilitators and influencers

The less-known champions

Some innovative and emergent stars

Hermann Simon, Chairman, Simon-Kucher & Partners said on the foreword:

‘The effort the author makes to unravel the apparent mystique of Germany’s success to a global audience is truly commendable. From a multi-dimensional, extensively researched perspective, Ugesh Joseph insightfully gives the reader a sense of the nation and its complex character – from its immediate past to its present-day “champion brands” and the nations “facilitators and influencers”.

I found this book fascinating and it gave me tremendous insights about the secret of German brands!

Retail Branding and Store Loyalty


Today I am reviewing the book Retail Branding and Store Loyalty: Analysis in the Context of Reciprocity, Store Accessibility, and Retail Formats written by Bettina Berg and published by Springer. As you can see from my previous posts I am very passionate about retail, sales and marketing, so I enjoyed this book very much.

Retail Branding and Store Loyalty

The book is aimed at :

Business practitioners focusing on managing retail brands

Researchers and students in the fields of management an economics and focusing on marketing and retailing

The main content features:

Managing Retail Brands Across Different Consumer Perception Levels

Reciprocal Effects of the Corporate Reputation and Store Equity Retailers

Managing Retail Brands in the Light of Different and Competitive Contexts

Importance of Retail Brand Equity and Store Accessibility for Store Loyalty in Local Competition

Managing Retail Brands Within Different Retail Formats in an International Context

Retail brands are gaining importance and are relevant for retailers and customers. Retail scientists and practitioners started to focus on the topic of retail branding in the mid-nineties (Ailawadi and Keller 2004, see also the special issue of the Journal of Retailing in 2004), although the branding topic was already relevant for manufacturing firms. It became a top management research priority because a company’s brand is the most intangible asset, not only for manufacturing firms, but also for retailers (Keller and Lehmann 2006).

Berg explains that marketers and retailers have to understand how to manage different consumer perception levels of retail brands, which have a major determining role on store loyalty across different complex contexts. Addressing these issues, the author analyzes first whether corporate reputation and retail store equity have a reciprocal relationship in determining store loyalty. Second, she evaluates whether retail brand equity or store accessibility provides a greater contribution to store loyalty across different local competitive situations. Third, she investigates whether perceptions of format specific core attributes differ in their impact on the brand building process in saturated and emerging markets.


It is a great read!

The case studies are really good and provides plenty of analysis and backup to illustrate which gamification techniques will work in specific situations – and which won’t. The book should be on your summer reading list for sure!







Leadership, Coaching and Followership


Today I am reviewing Leadership, Coaching and Followership, written by Ann M. Brewer and published by Springer.

Everyone would agree that organizations are only as good as their employees. Still, many companies have not established a formal coaching and mentoring system to develop their most promising talent. Moreover, these companies do not capitalize on the vast knowledge and experience that veteran employees can pass down. Like the other useful books in the Harvard Business Essentials series, this volume is clearly written, easy to understand and brimming with practical advice. If your company already understands the value of coaching and mentoring, then you’ll be covering familiar territory here. But if you’re interested in learning the basics of a terrific business tool, we recommend this book as an excellent starting point.

  • As the title denotes, the Weekly Coaching Conversation is told as a story — and this makes it a refreshingly enjoyable read. But the power of the book lies in the meaning interwoven throughout the fictional storyline: namely, that every leader has the potential to not only get more from their team members, but to do it in a way that builds trust and rapport. The timing of Souza’s work couldn’t be more critical: in a slow growth economy everyone is being asked to do more with less. Unfortunately, this pressure exposes the unhealthy and limiting habits of the three unproductive management styles identified in the book: Do-it-all Managers, Micro-managers, and Nice-guy Managers. As a result, morale crashes, productivity falls, and teams limp along frustrated, disengaged, and unmotivated.The above sounds like a recipe for disaster, except for the one management style Souza makes the compelling case we have the ability to become: the Coach. The book draws deeply from historical examples that show how a “coach” time and time again transforms mediocrity into victory (and also why some high performers have a hard time transitioning into the coaching role.) The inclusion of such historical examples (ranging from Napoleon to Vince Lombardi) is what really takes Souza’s work above and beyond most management reads. In fact, this is the kind of book you want to keep readily on your bookshelf and return to it again and again.

    Finally, I think Souza is aware that the coaching skills outlined throughout will find themselves manifesting into one’s home and community. The empowering principles in the book will easily cross the professional / personal divide (which in my opinion is one of the true litmus tests for truly transformational works). I found The Weekly Coaching Conversation to be an engaging “must-read,” especially in today’s economic and social climate, and believe Souza’s work is destined to take its place amongst the classics in the genre.

  • Provides evidence, details and case studies that the reader can apply
  • Brings deep insights into the theory and practice of leadership, followership and coaching
  • Provokes thoughts for self-awareness

This volume presents evidence-based ideas on all three converging forces to suit an array of individuals and their organisations. The volume is rich with evidence, detail and case studies that the reader can draw upon and apply to their own situations.

Defining exactly what is leadership has been a persistent problem for researchers and theorists. Discovering how to generate or develop leaders likewise has been a difficult challenge over the years in all walks of life.

Written by an academic, executive and coach, the author focuses on three important converging aspects: leadership, followership and coaching. A focus on leaders is disproportionate to what actually occurs within most organisations especially the relationship between the leader and the followers. That leadership is tantamount with being in control of a situation is challenged, together with the belief that leadership capability is primarily shaped in line with a set of success criteria. The coach plays a significant part in this process although rarely visible.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Coaching Frameworks and Approaches – Coaching Wisdom and Assessment -Coaching and Followership – Critical Reflection – Defining Leadership – Ethical Leadership and Followership – Focus on Leadership in Organisations – Leadership is Practice – Organisational Culture and Gender – Organisational Learning – Processes of Communicative Competence -Relation between the Leader and the Followers – The Importance of Focusing and Learning -Theoretical Heredity of Leadership – Understanding Followers – Workplace Deviance and Unethical Action

Related subjects » Organization – Human Resource Management – Personality & Social Psychology – Psychology

Proactive Intelligence

  I am reviewing Proactive Intelligence written by  John J McGonagle and Carolyn M. Vella published by Springer. This is a book that any smart executive involved with intelligence should have on their shelf.
The first three chapters deal with the definitions, terms and explanations involved in the discipline of competitive intelligence.
According to the authors:
“The tools and techniques that will enable you to produce your own CI for your consumption are out there, and have been honed by decades of work. But, you cannot just adopt them—you have to adapt them. When you get finished reading this book, you will still be thedata collector, the analyst, and the end-user. But traditional CI is premised on a reactive, two-part relationship—that is, a CI professional responding to what an end-user identifies as a need, usually the result of seeing another new threat. But,by doing this yourself, you can turn CI from being reactive to being proactive. As the decision-maker, you can get what CI you need, when you need it, and then use it almost seamlessly.”
This book will:
  • Educates working executives and managers about the power of competitive intelligence.
  • Provides real guidance on how to identify what competitive intelligence is needed and then how to get it.
  • Tells readers how to use competitive intelligence to develop competitive – and career – advantages

Traditionally, tapping into the power of competitive intelligence (CI) meant investing in the development of an internal CI unit or hiring outside consultants who specialized in CI.  Proactive Intelligence: The Successful Executive’s Guide to Intelligence offers an alternative: learn how to do it yourself and how to effectively manage the parts you cannot. The tools and techniques that will enable you to produce your own CI for your consumption are out there, and have been honed by decades of work. But, you cannot just adopt them – you have to adapt them.

Why? Because, when you finish reading this book, you will be the data collector, the analyst, and the end-user. Traditional CI is premised on a reactive, two part relationship – a CI professional responding to what an end-user identifies as a need; by doing this yourself you can turn CI from being reactive to being proactive. As the decision-maker, you can get what CI you need, when you need it, and then use it almost seamlessly. Written by two of the foremost experts on CI, Proactive Intelligence: The Successful Executive’s Guide to Intelligence:

•shows where and how CI can help you and your firm,

•provides practical guidance on how to identify what CI you need, how to find the data you need, and how to analyze it, and

•discusses how to apply CI to develop competitive- and career- advantages.

Each chapter is supported by important references as well as by an additional list of resources to support and supplement your knowledge. Proactive Intelligence: The Successful Executive’s Guide to Intelligence teaches you how to generate proactive intelligence and use it to advance your business and your career- making it an essential resource for managers and executives, as well as everyone who wishes to integrate CI into their daily work

Content Level » Professional/practitioner

Keywords » Competitive Intelligence – Decision Making – Management Planning – Strategic Planning – War Games

Related subjects » Business & Management for ProfessionalsLawOrganization – Human Resource ManagementProduction & Process Engineering

A Concise Guide to Market Research

Today I am reviewing an amazing book: A Concise Guide to Market Research written by Marko Sarstedt and Erik Mooi, published by Springer.
There are dozens of market research techniques, the authors does a great job of explaining them in clear and direct language. Showing which ones to use when, and how to use them to generate the strongest, most useful insights possible. That, after all, is the point of market research.Anyone who is thinking about how to best utilize market research should read this book; and keep it handy when then considering their next research project. It is concise (and best of all actionable) and will help anyone seeking to leverage customer insight determine how to structure the research. While Anne provides an overview of research techniques and how to use them, the core of the book and its most valuable point is the strategic framework she outlines early on (see page 3).

The strategic framework outlined and explained in this book will help anyone from marketing managers to research specialists get better results. Any businessperson who is responsible for understanding consumers, customers, prospects….should be thinking about the questions Anne outlines and incorporating her insights to help make their research efforts more effective and more useful.

I highly recommend this book to anyone involved in market research efforts.
  • Compact, hands-on and step-by-step introduction to quantitative market research techniques
  • Presents the most important techniques and shows how to translate theoretical choices into SPSS and how to analyze the output
  • Case study at the end of each chapter
  • Innovative supplementary online concept, including mobile tags, sample datasets and additional cases
This accessible, practice-oriented and compact text provides a hands-on introduction to the principles of market research. Using the market research process as a framework, the authors explain how to collect and describe the necessary data and present the most important and frequently used quantitative analysis techniques, such as ANOVA, regression analysis, factor analysis, and cluster analysis. An explanation is provided of the theoretical choices a market researcher has to make with regard to each technique, as well as how these are translated into actions in IBM SPSS Statistics. This includes a discussion of what the outputs mean and how they should be interpreted from a market research perspective. Each chapter concludes with a case study that illustrates the process based on real-world data. A comprehensive web appendix includes additional analysis techniques, datasets, video files and case studies. Several mobile tags in the text allow readers to quickly browse related web content using a mobile device.

Content Level » Upper undergraduate

Keywords » Market Research – Marketing – Marketing Research – SPSS – Statistics

Related subjects » Business, Economics & Finance – Business & Management for Professionals – Marketing

Fashion Branding and Consumer Behaviors


Today I am reviewing Fashion Branding and Consumer Behaviors edited by Tsan-Ming Choi and published by Springer.


This book truly gives a complete and well-delivered overview of the process of fashion branding. The author explores the different concepts and strategies involved in the branding process in a way that is easy to understand and relate to. He also does an amazing job of posing questions and allowing the reader to understand the difficulties and challenges associated with the branding process. Considering the scope of the topic addressed, the delivery and progression throughout the book is easy to follow. The information is presented in a way that gives depth and contextualization for each of the areas discussed. The references he makes between chapters is very easy to follow and the knowledge presented in the book builds on itself.

While most of the graphics and tables used were relevant to the topic, some did not necessarily illustrate the points that were made in the text. Dealing with a subject such as fashion branding of course lends itself to relevant exposure to the stylistic aspects of the industry. While creativity was certainly addressed well in the text, due to the heavy focus on the social, economic, and business concepts related to branding, the photos of high fashion advertisement and runway shows were more difficult to explain in those contexts. Fortunately, they do not detract from the subject as much as they occasionally seem superfluous.

The author writing style is easy to follow and well-developed. Some familiarity with the fashion industry is necessary to place a lot of examples in the proper context, but he also poses new ways to understand the branding process that even a seasoned veteran of the industry would find interesting. The continuation of themes that he explores throughout the text was very consistent without being overdrawn. Some basic information felt a bit repetitious where a reference to an earlier chapter may have sufficed, but he did an excellent job of contextualizing each aspect of the branding process. I found the text to be the perfect length, giving enough attention to the history behind branding, the progression of the branding process through recent history, and the current ideas being explored and implemented in the current scheme of the fashion industry. The balance of graphics and text was perfect, and even the pictures I found irrelevant did not dominate any section of the book.

The layout of the text is great, and the cover and packaging is very attractive. The references, end notes, and index are well-organized and extremely relevant. Some of the discussion questions at the end of each chapter felt a bit mechanical, such as asking the reader to re-state a concept that was well-defined in the text, but they worked well to place focus on important concepts that would carry into further chapters.

I would recommend this book to anyone studying the fashion industry, especially those who want to understand the failures and triumphs of certain brands and how to use branding in a social and business context. Those with an interest in brand history and who want a larger overview of the entire industry may be disappointed, for that is not the aim of the book. The objective of the author is clearly stated, developed, and successfully explored.

  • Covers fashion branding from a consumer behaviors perspective
  • Includes theoretical and applied research results
  • Provides both analytical and empirical models

Fashion Branding and Consumer Behaviors presents eye-opening theory, literature review, and original research on the mutual influence of branding strategies and consumer response. Contributors use multiple methods to analyze consumers’ psychosocial needs and the extent that their fulfillment goes beyond the usefulness or value of the items they purchase as well as the fashion industry’s means of communicating brand identity and enhancing brand loyalty. Along the way, these studies raise important questions about consumer behaviors, consumer welfare, environmental ethics, and the future of consumer research. Included in the coverage:

  • A symbolic interactionist perspective on fashion brand personality and advertisement response.
  • Optimizing fashion branding strategies in a fluctuating market.
  • An analysis of fashion brand extensions by artificial neural networks.
  • Domestic or foreign luxury brands? A comparison of status-  and non-status- seeking teenagers.
  • The impact of consumers’ need for uniqueness on purchase perception.
  • How brand awareness relates to market outcome, brand equity, and the marketing mix.

A breakthrough volume on the complexities of how and why we buy, Fashion Branding and Consumer Behaviors will captivate researchers and practitioners in the fields of consumer psychology, marketing, and economics.

Content Level: Research

Keywords » Consumer Attitudes – Consumer Behavior Related Fashion Branding – Consumer Behaviors – Consumer-based Branding and Operations – Fashion Branding Strategies -Marketing Science