It is empirically proven that enhanced engagement with a focal medium motivates a consumer to post electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM). However, what has not been explored is whether enhanced exposure to eWOM results in greater consumer brand engagement (CBE). While answering this question, this study also assesses the influence of eWOM and CBE on customer loyalty and satisfaction with the brand. The study has been conducted across two products –a search product and an experience product.
A model is developed and hypotheses are proposed using the Elaboration Likelihood Model which are then tested using PLS-SEM. Data was collected from 712 respondents across India.
Findings indicate that eWOM significantly and positively affects CBE in both product categories. CBE significantly and positively influences both satisfaction and loyalty. eWOM is not significantly related to loyalty for both search and experience products. It is, however, found to be significantly and positively associated with satisfaction in case of the experience product, while a non-significant relationship was found for the search product.
The present study uses the survey method and PLS-SEM as the analysis technique which makes it correlational and confirmatory. The study, therefore, makes no firm claims on establishing causality.
The paper presents an original idea that CBE fully mediates the relationship between eWOM and satisfaction. This study attempts to fulfil a critical gap in the existing literature by establishing that eWOM generated by other users/consumers about a brand has a significant impact on CBE irrespective of the type of the product that is search or experience.
The authors thank two anonymous reviewers and the editor for their invaluable suggestions on an earlier version of this manuscript.
Srivastava, M. and Sivaramakrishnan, S. (2021), "The impact of eWOM on consumer brand engagement", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 39 No. 3, pp. 469-484. https://doi.org/10.1108/MIP-06-2020-0263
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