Digital media and relational capital

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Conference Proceeding

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Assessing the impact of knowledge management across multiple firms has long been an issue in the field. Although we possess multiple measures for doing so, all have their strengths and weaknesses. As a result, multi-firm studies tend to be rare and undertaken only with great care. Here, we use new data and analytical tools to assess knowledge about and relationships with customers, part of the relational capital of the firm. While relational capital is not only about customers, those relationships are often a major part of it. Further, we know that firms with big brands (high brand equity) would be expected to have high relational capital levels. We identified several industries characterized by high levels of explicit knowledge (based on other studies) and strong brands. Using webcrawling software, we collected and analyzed social media mentions and other digital aspects of the brand leader(s) and brand challenger(s), grouping by sentiment. As expected, the brand leaders tend to have more mentions. Less expected was a clear tendency for the brand leaders to have less variation in their brand sentiment: the more powerful brands were more stable. These results provide a context for using big data and analytics methodologies together with knowledge management and intellectual capital studies. Initially, digital media is a growing means of establishing closer relationships with customers, enhancing relational capital. But the visibility of social media, in particular, also provides a way for marketers to track their customer relationships in real time, assessing the growth or decline of relational capital as it happens.

Publication Name

Proceedings of the European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM

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