Online customer engagement: Creating social environments through brand community constellations
Article publication date: 19 October 2015
The emergence and success of online brand communities in the marketplace have attracted considerable interest; this study seeks to determine the conditions in which people create social environments by investigating the drivers of connections to a focal online brand community and other brand communities. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the composition of multi-community networks, focussing on the density and centrality of brand communities.
On the basis of insights from prior literature, the proposed model examines customers’ social relationships with multiple brand communities. A survey of 290 participants spans eight brand communities. The modeling process used structural equation modeling; the analysis of the social relationship among brand communities relied on an ego network approach.
Two drivers prompt connections to other online brand communities. First, personal identification with a core brand community enhances connections to other communities. Second, some core brand members choose a functionality-driven approach in creating social environments.
For marketers, this study highlights the importance of positioning the brand community as part of a social environment. To strengthen customer-brand relationships, marketers should focus on community members’ multiple memberships.
This paper extends understanding of online brand community members’ motivations to participate in a focal brand community. It also explains the creation of a social environment, through a careful consideration of participation in different brand communities and their relationships.
Hammedi, W., Kandampully, J., Zhang, T.T.(C). and Bouquiaux, L. (2015), "Online customer engagement: Creating social environments through brand community constellations", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 777-806. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOSM-11-2014-0295
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