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Consumer engagement in online brand communities: a social media perspective

Laurence Dessart (Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdon)
Cleopatra Veloutsou (University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)
Anna Morgan-Thomas (Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 16 March 2015




This paper aims to delineate the meaning, conceptual boundaries and dimensions of consumer engagement within the context of online brand communities both in term of the engagement with the brand and the other members of the online brand communities. It also explores the relationships of consumer engagement with other concepts, suggesting antecedents of engagement.


Data are collected through semi-structured interviews with 21 international online brand community members, covering a variety of brand categories and social media platforms.


This paper suggests that individuals are engaging in online communities in social network platforms both with other individuals and with brands. The study also identifies three key engagement dimensions (cognition, affect and behaviours). Their meaning and sub-dimensions are investigated. The paper further suggests key drivers, one outcome and objects of consumer engagement in online brand communities. These findings are integrated in a conceptual framework.

Research limitations/implications

Further research should aim at comparing consumer engagement on different social media and across brand categories, as this study takes a holistic approach and does not focus on any particular category of brands or social media. Consumers’ views should also be evaluated against and compared with marketing managers’ understanding of consumer engagement.


This paper contributes to the fast-growing and fragmented consumer engagement literature by refining the understanding of its dimensions and situating it in a network of conceptual relationships. It focusses on online brand communities in rich social media contexts to tap into the core social and interactive characteristics of engagement.



Dessart, L., Veloutsou, C. and Morgan-Thomas, A. (2015), "Consumer engagement in online brand communities: a social media perspective", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 28-42.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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