In an online brand community (OBC), consumers as a group occupy a dominant position, and their horizontal interactions are pivotal for the consumer–brand relationship. However, little is known about the effect of group characteristics on brands. To partially fill this gap, this study examines how group characteristics influence brand loyalty from the perspective of social identity theory. Specifically, by collecting data from an online survey, this paper investigates the effects of group similarity, group receptivity and group involvement on brand loyalty, the mediating role of community identification and the moderating effect of tenure in a community.
Data from 482 brand community members were analyzed using structural equation modeling.
The results show that group similarity, group receptivity and group involvement increase brand loyalty; furthermore, the effect is mediated by community identification. Moreover, group receptivity is more effective in fostering community identification of short-tenure members, whereas group similarity plays a more important role for long-tenure members.
This paper enriches the brand community literature from a group perspective and provides implications for how brand communities develop customer loyalty strategies.
The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (No. 71802097, No. 71372169, No. 71772077, No. 71472074, No. 71872073 , No. 71672132 & No. 91746206). This project is also partially supported by Jinan University Management School Funding Program (No. GY18004) and Institute of Enterprise Development, Jinan University, Guangdong Province (2019GBAZD06), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 19JNYH02).
Liao, J., Wang, L., Huang, M., Yang, D. and Wei, H. (2020), "The group matters: examining the effect of group characteristics in online brand communities", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/APJML-06-2019-0377Download as .RIS
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