Announcing the 2021 Thesis Award winners
Josefin GrünbergerTalent Acquisition Specialist
Each year here at Precis we host an annual thesis competition, with the ambition of encouraging innovation within digital marketing from future digital superstars – even before their career has perhaps begun.
The past 18 months have been challenging and required us all to adapt, perhaps more so for students compared to most. But we were thrilled to see over 15 fantastic theses, from both masters and bachelors students across Sweden, submit their projects to us for review.
Over the past two months, a select group of colleagues at Precis have been reading through all of the submitted projects thoroughly and scored each one based on three main criteria: innovativeness, methodology and relevance to our industry. Needless to say, during the final calibration meetings, it was hard to pick a winner from an outstanding selection of submissions – however, one, in particular, stood out to all of us.
In their thesis, “New Product Introductions – What Gets People Talking”, Rafael Czeszejko and Sophia Zhang-Pettersson from Stockholm Business School investigated the underlying factors that drive customer engagement during the introduction of new products.
In today’s world of digital-first, it is becoming more accessible to measure something as historically intangible as word-of-mouth. Simultaneously, the digital era has also brought a vast increase in urgency in product launches along with increased competition – making the understanding of how your products are received on the market more important than ever.
Apart from the study being extremely relevant, the jury also found the creativity and innovativeness of how the study was conducted impressive. Their thesis was also more accessible than other traditional methodologies such as surveys etc. with much smaller and more cost-efficient tools. Precisers love data, and we love cool ways of collecting data, so scraping social platforms to conduct this quantitative study was something that the jury thoroughly appreciated!
Introducing our 2021 Thesis Award winners
What fascinates you about digital marketing and why did you choose to study it?
Digital technologies provide unique opportunities for people to connect with each other, as well as businesses and other organisations. This connectivity paired with traceability of consumer behaviour online led us to the field of digital marketing since it allows us to study some things which were impossible before. Analyses such as big data studies of Word-of-Mouth, precise studies of online customer journey and consumers’ real-time response to advertising, as well as news articles and product launches. These new opportunities push the boundaries towards finding new insights and testing already existing theories within marketing.
Why did you pick this particular topic for your thesis?
We chose the topic of Customer Engagement on social media because we are curious about how positive and negative Word-of-Mouth spreads during New Product Introductions. In other words, we are interested in why people tweet positive and negative opinions about newly launched products. This topic is vital not only when new products are launched, but also in order to understand the drivers of engagement on social media in a broader sense. Therefore, we wanted to contribute with new insights into this vital area by conducting a sentiment analysis of over 20 million entries on social media, which told us both the volume of entries for each product and if the content was positive, negative, or neutral.
How do you think your findings can help marketers today?
Our study provides insights for marketers on how customer engagement is driven by product characteristics and brand type. As a side product, it also illustrates the use of data analysis for gaining knowledge about Customer Behaviour. We examined multiple products across different industries, products that were either radical or incremental innovations and were from either functional or hedonic brands. The results provide guidance of which products are more likely to get a boost from Word-of-Mouth on social media and those which possibly could be damaged by it during new product introductions. Implications of the study reach further into branding and marketing strategy at large.
Our previous Thesis Award winners
The Precis Thesis Award is an opportunity for us to learn from the forefront of digital marketing, to explore new ways of doing old processes and a way to find rising-stars within the industry. One such star is Jakob Ferenius, former Thesis Award winner turned Associate Digital Specialist in our Stockholm office. We spoke to Jakob to learn a little more about his own project, and why he picked Precis as the place to start his career in digital marketing:
What was your winning thesis about and why did you choose this topic?
My thesis partners and I found brand associations fascinating. Indeed, many people say that a brand is worth no more than what people associate it with. Nonetheless, traditional methods of deriving brand associations are costly, restrictive, and not scalable. So we set out to explore how novel methods such as text mining could be used to determine what attributes, feelings, and attitudes people associated with a brand and how these associations were all interconnected.
We used web scraping to extract tens of thousands of hotel reviews online, and then text mining to extract brand association networks from them. We subsequently used different marketing models and analyses to translate the results into actionable strategic marketing insights. We originally chose text mining simply because we were not confident with the quality of surveys or interviews. We wanted to work with hard observations; what people actually said about brands rather than what they say when we ask them about it. There is plenty of interesting and readily available data online that can give a more accurate and natural portrayal of consumers behaviours and opinions than a survey – and this data has a stronger connection to actual business outcomes
And why did you apply for Precis?
To give something my all, it needs to be something I believe in. Visiting Precis and talking to people, I got the impression that Precis lives up to its values and are great at what they do. It is a great place to grow, have fun, and have a positive impact on the world. Was there really any other alternative?
Where can I find out more?
If you’re a student of digital marketing or just interested in learning more about a career in this industry, head over to our student page to find out more. And for all hopeful thesis writers, see you next year!