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Role of word-of-mouth communication in consumer brand relationship initiation and maintenance: insights from the bottom of pyramid markets

Shubhomoy Banerjee (Marketing Area, Jindal Global Business School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India)
S. Sreejesh (Marketing Management Area, Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode, Kozhikode, India)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 20 September 2022

347

Abstract

Purpose

The study's primary purpose is to establish the direct and indirect roles of word-of-mouth communication (WOM) in initiating and maintaining consumer loyalty in the bottom of pyramid (BOP) markets in the Indian context. In addition, the study seeks to evaluate the conditions (viz. extent of media usage, brand distribution intensity and brand social connections) under which WOM leads to the initiation and maintenance of consumer brand loyalty.

Design/methodology/approach

The study hypotheses were formulated following the social identity theory. Later, a questionnaire-based survey was conducted among 898 rural BOP consumers. Structural equation modelling technique was applied to test the study hypotheses.

Findings

Results suggested a positive effect of WOM on brand credibility and self-brand connections-indicative of the initiation of strong cognitive and affective relationships respectively. Brand credibility and self-brand connections also mediated the paths between WOM and brand loyalty-indicative of the maintenance and continuation of strong affect-laden relationships. These indirect relationships were moderated by the extent of media usage, brand distribution intensity and brand social connections.

Originality/value

This is among the first studies that holistically evaluate the role of WOM in developing customer loyalty to rural BOP consumers against the backdrop of the systemic deficiencies in these markets.

Keywords

Citation

Banerjee, S. and Sreejesh, S. (2022), "Role of word-of-mouth communication in consumer brand relationship initiation and maintenance: insights from the bottom of pyramid markets", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOEM-03-2021-0401

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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