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The influence of belonging to virtual brand communities on consumers' affective commitment, satisfaction and word‐of‐mouth advertising: The ZARA case

Marcelo Royo‐Vela (Department of Commercialisation and Market Research, Faculty of Economics, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain)
Paolo Casamassima (Global Market Intelligence, IPREO LLC, London, UK)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 9 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore some of the effects of belonging to a virtual brand community on consumer behaviour. It also proposes the concept of belonging as a three‐dimensional construct.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper proposes that belonging to a virtual community has positive effects on consumer satisfaction, affective commitment and word‐of‐mouth behaviour. After validation of the measurement scales the hypotheses are contrasted through modelling.

Findings

The data show that belonging to a virtual community may enhance consumer satisfaction, affective commitment and word‐of‐mouth advertising towards the brand around which the community is developed. In addition, the paper introduces a third dimension to the construct of belonging, called non‐participative belonging. Active participative belonging influences the level of satisfaction and affective commitment more positively than passive and non‐participative belonging.

Research limitations/implications

Data were obtained through surveys, web surveys and online interviews. There were also limitations of sample size and sampling procedure.

Practical implications

Managers may enhance consumer satisfaction, affective commitment and word‐of‐mouth advertising by developing virtual brand communities and promoting consumers' participation in them.

Originality/value

Previous works that have focused on virtual brand communities have never concentrated on virtual brand communities within Facebook. In addition, prior to this study, belonging to a virtual brand community was a two‐dimensional construct: active and passive participative belonging. The paper identifies a third dimension as non‐participative belonging. Thus this paper offers new areas for future research.

Keywords

Citation

Royo‐Vela, M. and Casamassima, P. (2011), "The influence of belonging to virtual brand communities on consumers' affective commitment, satisfaction and word‐of‐mouth advertising: The ZARA case", Online Information Review, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 517-542. https://doi.org/10.1108/14684521111161918

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited