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Consumer engagement with self-expressive brands: brand love and WOM outcomes

Elaine Wallace (Department of Marketing, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland)
Isabel Buil (Department of Marketing Management, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)
Leslie de Chernatony (Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 11 March 2014




The purpose of this paper is to explore attitudes of consumers who engage with brands through Facebook “likes”. It explores the extent to which these brands are self-expressive and examines the relationship between brand “liking” and brand outcomes. Brand outcomes include brand love and advocacy, where advocacy incorporates WOM and brand acceptance.


Findings are presented from a survey of Facebook users who engage with a brand by “liking” it.


Brands “liked” are expressive of the inner or social self. The study identifies a positive relationship between the self-expressive nature of brands “liked” and brand love. Consumers who engage with inner self-expressive brands are more likely to offer WOM for that brand. By contrast, consumers who engage with socially self-expressive brands are more likely to accept wrongdoing from a brand.

Research limitations/implications

The research is exploratory and is limited to consumers who are engaged with a brand through “liking” it on the Facebook social network.

Practical implications

The study offers suggestions for managers seeking to enhance brand engagement through Facebook “liking”, and to encourage positive brand outcomes (such as WOM) among consumers already engaged with a brand on Facebook.


This paper provides new insights into consumer brand engagement evidenced through Facebook “liking”. It charts the relationship between “liked” self-expressive brands and brand love. Distinctions are drawn between brand outcomes among consumers who “like” for socially self-expressive reasons, and consumers who are brand engaged by “liking” to express their inner selves.



The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Research Development Initiative, Strand 2 (Ref: RCS 258) from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the I+D+I project (Ref. ECO2009-08283) from the Government of Spain, and the project GENERES (Ref. S-09) from the Government of Aragon and the European Social Fund.


Wallace, E., Buil, I. and de Chernatony, L. (2014), "Consumer engagement with self-expressive brands: brand love and WOM outcomes", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 33-42.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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