4.1. Qualitative Research Results—Shaping Personal Brand with the Use of Social Media
The first stage of the research included qualitative research carried out with the method of individual in-depth interviews based on a questionnaire (26 individual in-depth interviews). The interviewees were people famous in Poland (with relatively high recognition), the vast majority of whom have artistic/PR agents (13 respondents); four people use the services of acting agencies. The remaining nine persons did not have—at the time of the research—an agent that could help them in shaping their personal brand. According to the respondents, the main tasks of an agent, apart from obtaining orders, providing legal services or negotiating rates, include building the image of a famous person and caring for personal brand, which very often includes looking after social media activity. In one of the first questions, the respondents were asked how they would define personal brand. Personal brand was most often associated by these famous people with image, money, name or capital for the future. Despite the large variety of responses, the respondents agreed that a professionally and thoughtfully shaped personal brand builds the image of a given person in the minds of people in such a person’s environment, including colleagues, as well as potential and current employers or clients. They also agreed that social media activities have very large impact on personal brand. At the same time, most respondents said that these activities are not carried out by them personally and are not part of any precisely outlined strategy or detailed plan prepared in writing. The perception of personal brand by the surveyed famous people is presented graphically in Figure 1
When building a personal brand, it should be remembered that each person has their own functional elements—mainly demographic, but also related to skills, experience, qualifications, and declared attitudes. The research shows that personal brand consists of such factors as appearance (e.g., hairstyle), silhouette, dress or condition of outfit, external traits of character, body language (way of being, gestures), the experience or qualifications of a famous person, represented attitude, self-confidence, self-respect, and the ability to gain trust. According to the respondents, the style of communication, the way of speaking, the way of writing (including the way of writing posts on social media), the ability to listen, and the way of presenting oneself are also very important. In the opinion of a significant proportion of respondents, personal brand will not be complete without effort being made to analyse and combine all these aspects. In other words, the elements listed by the interviewees should be linked to one another and need to cooperate in symbiosis. If only some of them are developed but others are neglected, the personal brand will be incomplete and inconsistent.
When starting to create a personal brand, one should begin with a sober assessment of the potential of a specific person. If the potential is insufficient, the expenditure on an artificially created brand may exceed the profits obtained in this respect. Research conducted among people famous in Poland shows that in the sphere of culture—due to the different potential of particular persons—different categories of brands are built. However, they most often fall into one of five models known from the source literature (Table 3
According to the respondents, two issues are becoming more and more important when creating a personal brand (regardless of the model chosen). The first is striving to stand out from other people through qualifications, characteristics, appearance, and hobbies or items used. At the same time, the uniqueness of such features, as well as rethinking the possibilities and developing a strategy for their long-term use, is very important. Secondly, in the opinion of the respondents, it is important to build the personal brand through behaviour, way of speaking, and mastering verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as through the level of education. In this case, however, the respondents pointed out the threat of stereotyping. Therefore, building a personal brand, just as in the case of shaping a product brand, cannot be a collection of random activities. Actions taken should be all part of a precisely planned process based on the idea of one’s own career path, which is implemented consistently, although with some possible flexibility.
The respondents were also asked to indicate social media which they use and find of great importance in the process of shaping a personal brand. The results are shown in Figure 2
Only one respondent among the 26 interviewees does not use social media. Other respondents show relatively high activity in this area, as evidenced by the fact that the majority of them use at least two different forms of social media. The respondents most often use Instagram (23 persons). In the opinion of a significant proportion of respondents, Instagram is the most popular and well-developed media platform on the Internet and—in the cultural sector—it has overtaken the popular Facebook. According to the respondents, Facebook is a platform where text prevails over photos, unlike Instagram, where mainly photos are posted. Instagram also has a larger range, is faster, allows easier access to photos and video, and is more colourful, dynamic and interactive. Respondents also found that Twitter, as a tool for shaping personal brand, is better for journalists or people dealing with politics. In the opinion of famous people, the goal of running social media is to get better job offers, greater prestige, and expand the sphere of influence. Respondents stated that—thanks to social media—on the one hand they learn about what is happening in their industry, and on the other, they have a chance to tell others what they are doing, and what moment of their professional life they are at.
4.2. Quantitative Research Results—the Impact of Online Activity of Social Media Users on the Brand Capital of a Famous Person
To describe the activity of respondents on social media, they were asked to express their view on 15 statements using a seven-point bipolar Likert scale, ranging from “very rarely” to “very common”. These statements were prepared on the basis of the results of 26 individual in-depth interviews conducted with persons famous in Poland. The components and their individual compounds, used to measure the online activity of Internet users on social media, are presented in Table 4
The statements used to measure the awareness/associations with the famous person’s brand, as well as the perception of the brand’s quality and loyalty regarding the specific famous person (a total of nine statements) were developed on the basis of the source literature and, based on in-depth individual interviews with 26 persons famous in Poland, further adapted to the seven-point bipolar Likert scale (extending from the answer “definitely disagree” to “definitely agree”). Famous person brand awareness and its perceived quality was measured by six statements based on the assumptions of B. Yoo, et al. [21
] and A.F. Villarejo-Ramos and M.J. Sánchez-Franco [29
]. To measure the loyalty to a famous person, three statements were proposed, formulated with use of the concept by G. Walsh et al. [30
] (Table 5
A combination of exploratory and confirmatory statistics was used in the analyses. First, an analysis of the reliability of the three components used to measure the online activity of the surveyed social media users was conducted [31
]. This was carried out using the SPSS software and the “Reliability analysis” module. Cronbach’s alpha internal consistency model based on the average correlation between scale items [32
] was chosen as the analytical model—in the analysed case, it reflected 0.945. The results of the assessment of the reliability of the measurement tool for all 15 questions, therefore, indicate that it is highly reliable for all three components:
“Consumption” (Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of 0.883), “Contribution” (0.922) and “Creation” (0.901).
Then, exploratory factor analysis was conducted with the principal components’ method and Promax orthogonal rotation, using SPSS software [33
]. The Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin (KMO) coefficient of sampling adequacy was 0.935. The possibility of using factor analysis was also confirmed by the p
-value, which was below 0.001. The obtained results proved their adequate adjustment to the data—none of the scale items used were eliminated from the analysis. Taking into account the degree of explanation of the variability of the input set of variables, it was possible to detect two factors, explaining over 69% of the information for the full set of 15 observable variables (Table 6
Using Promax oblique rotation ensuring the relationship between factors, it was shown that this relationship reflects 0.659, which means a moderately strong positive relationship.
Afterwards, an analysis of the reliability of the components used to measure personal brand capital components was conducted. The software used and all assumptions are analogous to the three components discussed earlier to measure the online activity of social media users. The obtained results proved their adjustment to the data—none of the scale items used were eliminated from the analysis. Taking into account the degree of explanation of the variability in the input set of variables, it was possible to detect three factors explaining over 76% of the information for the full set of nine observable variables (Table 7
The results of the analysis show that it was possible to generate three factors uniquely corresponding to the components of the system used to measure the brand awareness of the famous person, its perceived quality and loyalty to the famous person. Factor loads have high values, showing a very strong correlation between observable input variables and hidden factors. A moderately strong correlation was observed between factor 1 (famous person brand awareness) and factor 2 (perception of the personal brand quality), while the dependency between other pairs of factors are very weak, which suggests their independence.
In order to test the research hypotheses, all latent variables were put into the structural equation model (SEM). The SEM analysis was based on a factor model estimated using principal compounds in correspondence to the results obtained, which did not assume the elimination of any variable. The components used to measure the activity of respondents in social media were analysed as a second-order factor consisting of first-order latent variables (consumption, contribution and creation). In turn, the system used to measure the capital of the famous person’s brand consisted of three latent variables (famous person brand awareness, perceived quality of the famous person’s brand, and loyalty to the famous person). The results are presented in Table 8
The results in Table 8
clearly show that we can observe a positive effect of all three components used to measure the activity of Internet users in social media on the components of the system used to measure the brand capital of famous people, however, statistical significance (*) was confirmed only for the relationship between the component such as “awareness/associations with the famous person’s brand” and the component “perception of the quality of the famous person’s brand”. The relationships are positive, which means that these components stimulate individual compounds of the personal brand capital. Therefore, along with the increase in online activity in social media, the level of awareness and perception of the quality of the famous person’s brand increases. The strength of the impact is measured by a standardised regression coefficient—the impact is weak but comparable. However, the impact on relationship with loyalty to the famous person is negligible, which is associated with the lack of significance for this relationship. When summarising the final results of the analysis and referring them to the partial research hypotheses, it was found that:
H1: consumption, contribution and creation of content related to the famous person by Internet users on social media has a positive effect on the awareness/association with the brand of this famous person was confirmed;
H2: consumption, contribution and creation of content related to the famous person by Internet users on social media has a positive effect on the perception of the quality of this person’s personal brand was confirmed;
H3: consumption, contribution and creation of content related to the famous person by Internet users in social media has a positive effect on loyalty to the brand of this famous person was not confirmed.
Considering the fact that two out of three partial hypotheses have been confirmed, it should be assumed that the online activity of social media users has a significant impact on the brand capital of famous people, in particular on its components such as the famous people brand awareness and the perception of the personal brand quality.