Title: Discovering surrogate branding via online image development: a case from India

Authors: Varsha Jain; Philip Kitchen; B.E. Ganesh; Akanksha Garg; Manisha Pathak-Shelat

Addresses: Integrated Marketing Communication, MICA, Shela, Ahmedabad – 380058, India ' Salford University, UK; ICN Business School, Nancy, France ' MICA, Shela, Ahmedabad – 380058, India ' Amazon Seller Services Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, India ' Communication Area, MICA, Shela, Ahmedabad – 380058, India

Abstract: Internet penetration and usage are accelerating in all countries due to individuals using online platforms to express their views and opinions. These activities are conducted widely in emerging economies such as India. There, internet penetration usage level in 2016 was 34.8% - primarily undertaken by young adults aged between 18-35 years. While there are multiple studies regarding online image, personal branding, digital sharing and consumption, no extant work has yet explored online activities in terms of projected individual online image though this has been explored offline in terms of self-marketing (Belk, 2013). This projection may be termed 'surrogate branding'. It refers to managing online individual images that help them become digital brands. To assess this further, ethnographic and netnography studies were utilised to understand behavioural patterns and gain insights. The findings revealed four significant dimensions related to surrogate branding of individuals. These are implantation, prenatal, embedded and exultation.

Keywords: surrogate branding; online image; India; conceptual model; qualitative study; young adults; individual images; process of surrogate branding; digital platform usages; personal branding.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2019.100687

International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 2019 Vol.12 No.3, pp.342 - 359

Received: 06 Mar 2018
Accepted: 19 Dec 2018

Published online: 06 Jul 2019 *

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