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Virtual brand community engagement practices: a refined typology and model

Linda D. Hollebeek (Graduate School of Management, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand and Department of Strategy and Management/Center for Service Innovation, NHH Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen, Norway)
Biljana Juric (Department of Marketing, The University of Auckland Business School, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Wenyan Tang (Department of Marketing, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




Despite Schau et al.’s (2009) pioneering research addressing consumers’ community engagement practices, scholarly understanding of the nature and dynamics characterizing consumers’ engagement practices in virtual (online) brand communities, and their inter-relationships, is limited to date. Building on these authors’ study, this paper aims to develop a refined typology and process model of virtual brand community engagement practices (VBCEPs).


Using the netnographic methodology, the authors analyze 20 luxury handbag community members’ entries posted on the brand’s particular section of The Purse Forum.


The authors develop an eight-component VBCEP typology that refines Schau et al.’s (2009) four-component model of brand community engagement practices. The model comprises “greeting”, “regulating”, “assisting”, “celebrating”, “appreciating”, “empathizing”, “mingling” and “ranking”. These practices contribute to and maintain the community’s vision and identity, and strengthen shared community consciousness.

Research limitations/implications

A key limitation of this research lies in its findings being generated from a single, luxury virtual brand community. Future research may thus wish to validate the VBCEP typology and model across different contexts.

Practical implications

The authors provide strategic managerial recommendations designed to leverage virtual brand community performance, which center predominantly on the social (altruistic) and achievement-based VBCEP sub-processes.


The eight-component VBCEP typology refines Schau et al.’s four-component model of brand community engagement practices with particular applicability to virtual brand communities.



The authors thank Professor Rod Brodie for acting as a co-supervisor of Wenyan Tang’s thesis (Tang 2010) from which this paper was developed, and for reading earlier drafts of this paper.


Hollebeek, L.D., Juric, B. and Tang, W. (2017), "Virtual brand community engagement practices: a refined typology and model", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 204-217.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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