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Engagement valence duality and spillover effects in online brand communities

Jana Lay-Hwa Bowden (Department of Marketing and Management, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
Jodie Conduit (Adelaide Business School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Linda D. Hollebeek (Graduate School of Management, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand and NHH Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen, Norway)
Vilma Luoma-aho (School of Business and Economics, Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics, Jyväskylä, Finland)
Birgit Apenes Solem (School of Business, University College of Southeast Norway, Kongsberg, Norway)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Online brand communities (OBCs) are an effective avenue for brands to engage consumers. While engaging with the brand, consumers simultaneously interact with other OBC members; thus engaging with multiple, interrelated engagement objects concurrently. The purpose of this paper is to explore both positively and negatively valenced consumer engagement with multiple engagement objects, the interplay between these, and the spillover effect from consumers’ engagement with the OBC to their engagement with the brand.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on 16 in-depth interviews with OBC members of a luxury accessory brand, a constant comparative method was adopted using axial and selective coding procedures. The objective was to understand the nature of participants’ engagement with the brand, the OBC, and the interplay between individuals’ engagement with these objects. The coding framework and resultant interpretive frameworks address engagement valence, outcomes, and direction.

Findings

This study illustrates consumer expressions of consumers’ positively and negatively valenced engagement with a focal brand, and with the OBC. Further, it demonstrates the interplay (spillover effect) that occurs between consumers’ engagement with the OBC, to their engagement with the brand. While the existence of positively valenced engagement with the OBC was found to further enhance consumer brand engagement (i.e. reflecting an engagement accumulation effect), negatively valenced engagement with the OBC was found to reduce consumer brand engagement (i.e. reflecting an engagement detraction effect).

Originality/value

While consumer engagement has been recognized to have both positive and negative manifestations, this study demonstrates that consumers’ engagement valence may differ across interrelated engagement objects (i.e. the brand and the OBC). Further, we demonstrate the existence of engagement spillover effects from the OBC to the brand for both positively and negatively valenced engagement.

Keywords

Citation

Bowden, J.L.-H., Conduit, J., Hollebeek, L.D., Luoma-aho, V. and Solem, B.A. (2017), "Engagement valence duality and spillover effects in online brand communities", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 877-897. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-04-2016-0072

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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