The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of emotions in developing customer engagement and brand image during virtual service interactions. The authors explore the concept of engagement platforms (EPs) and how their extrinsic characteristics or cues (i.e. C2C interactions–and personalization-related cues) originate both non-transactional (i.e. customer engagement and brand image) and transactional (i.e. purchase intentions) responses. Specifically, the authors propose that customer emotions (i.e. pleasure, arousal and dominance) mediate the influence of EP cues on customer responses. The authors also analyze how the engagement developed during interactions in EPs contributes to brand image perceptions and the effect of these two concepts on purchase intentions.
Building on servicescapes and stimulus-organism-response theories, the present paper carries out two studies. Study 1 adopts an experimental approach to explore C2C interactions–and personalization-related cues. Study 2 focusses on the importance of customer emotions to foster engagement and brand image, and also analyzes their effect on purchase intentions. It employs structural equations modeling techniques. Both studies analyze the effect of customer engagement on brand image.
Findings corroborate that, during interactions in the platform, customer engagement with the firm influences brand image. Moreover, the pleasure and arousal experienced by customers influence their engagement while dominance modifies brand image. Finally, customer engagement and brand image have a positive effect on purchase behavior.
This paper contributes to research demonstrating the key role of emotions in interactions with EPs. The authors demonstrate the importance of fostering pleasant and arousing experiences to enhance the level of customer engagement with the firm in first interactions. Dominance constitutes a key dimension to improve brand image in EPs. Finally, the research demonstrates that engagement develops customers’ transactional behaviors and not only non-transactional ones, as seen in previous literature.
In digital worlds, EPs emerge as touch points beyond purchase that allow individuals to integrate resources and co-create value between them and with the firm. Despite the interest of BCPs, few works have analyzed how interactions with these platforms and the elicited emotions contribute to developing customer engagement and brand image, key factors for understanding customer participation and behavior in interactive media.
The authors thank the anonymous reviewers and the editor for the constructive comments on this paper. This research is supported by Cátedra Telefónica de la Universidad de Zaragoza, I+D+I project (Ref: ECO2015-64567-R) from the Government of Spain, and the project “GENERES” (Ref: S-09) from the Government of Aragon.
Blasco-Arcas, L., Hernandez-Ortega, B.I. and Jimenez-Martinez, J. (2016), "Engagement platforms: The role of emotions in fostering customer engagement and brand image in interactive media", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 559-589. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-12-2014-0286
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