The ties that bind us: feelings of social connectedness in socio-emotional experiences

Maximilian Stieler (Department of Marketing and Services, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)
Claas Christian Germelmann (Department of Marketing and Services, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Publication date: 12 September 2016



This paper aims to focus on similarity cues that may strengthen bonds among crowd members and that serve as “glue” between individual group members in the context of collective football-viewing events.


Study 1 is a qualitative field study that focused on the subjective socio-emotional experiences of event visitors, whereas Study 2 tested the hypotheses quantitatively.


The qualitative pre-study revealed a variety of discrete emotions that consumers experienced through the course of consumption. Apart from individualistic emotions, respondents reported feeling common bonds with fellow crowd members. Respondents used a variety of emotion terms to express this experience. Moreover, we found different types of similarity cues which strengthen feelings of connectedness among crowd members in a football-watching scenario. Collaborative actions and team identification, as a sports-specific variable, foster a feeling of social connectedness, which in turn directly positively affects consumer enjoyment.

Research limitations/implications

Experiencing a feeling of social connectedness may serve as a starting point for a long-term relationship with the service itself or with associated brands. Future experimental studies might isolate the antecedents of a feeling of social connectedness and, thus, enhance the understanding of consumers’ emotional states during the course of hedonic consumption.

Practical implications

Service providers should encourage consumers to perform collaborative actions, as consumers potentially infect others and start a ripple effect.


This paper differs from existing work on crowds, in that the authors focus on similarity cues as antecedents of feelings of connectedness among group members.



Stieler, M. and Germelmann, C. (2016), "The ties that bind us: feelings of social connectedness in socio-emotional experiences", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 397-407.

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