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Article
Publication date: 22 January 2021

Jana Bowden and Abas Mirzaei

Brands are investing heavily in content marketing within digital communication channels, yet there is limited understanding of the effectiveness of this content on…

Abstract

Purpose

Brands are investing heavily in content marketing within digital communication channels, yet there is limited understanding of the effectiveness of this content on consumer engagement. This paper aims to examine how consumer engagement with branded content is created through consumer-initiated online brand communities (OBCs) and brand-initiated digital content marketing (DCM) communications. Self-brand connections are examined as an important antecedent to the cognitive, affective, behavioural and social dimensions of consumer engagement and the subsequent impact of engagement on loyalty is explored across these two channels.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey approach was used with two consumer samples for one focal retail brand, namely, a consumer-initiated OBC (Facebook) and email subscribers of the retail brand’s DCM communications. A multi-group analysis of structural invariance procedure was used to comparatively examine the formation of engagement for consumers within the OBC and DCM channels.

Findings

This study demonstrates the different ways in which engagement forms across different digital communication channels. Self-brand connection (SBC) was found to strongly drive behavioural, cognitive, affective and social engagement. The cognitive, affective and behavioural engagement was found to mediate the self-brand connection and consumer loyalty relationship. Overall, this relationship was most strongly and significantly mediated by affective and cognitive engagement within the OBC channel when compared to the DCM channel.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this study should be interpreted with several limitations in mind. First, the research was conducted within the confines of one OBC, within one social networking site platform characterised by self-selected membership based on a passion and immersion with the brand. This means that consumers within the OBC were highly connected to one another and the retail brand and highly socialised in-group norms and mores. This type and intensity of connection may not be the case for all forms of OBCs. Second, this study was limited to one retail brand, from one brand category. Future research should examine OBCs across a range of utilitarian and hedonic brands to comprehensively contextualise the dimensions of engagement. Third, the data for this study was cross-sectional. The use of netnographic analysis and qualitative interviews across a range of OBCs would support the triangulation of the findings of this research, especially with regard to the narrative that consumers’ express when discussing how their SBC manifests through the dimensions of engagement. Fourth, this study explored a single antecedent of engagement, namely, self-brand connections. Future research may consider how SBC operates in conjunction with other complementary factors to enhance consumers’ affective, cognitive, social and behavioural engagement such as brand awareness, satisfaction and participation/interactivity. In addition, future research could examine an expanded array of engagement outcomes such as purchase intention, the share of wallet and reputation. Finally, future research should examine the operationalisation and validation of the dimensions of engagement using multiple competing scales to assess the suitability of these engagement scales across multiple brand categories and contexts.

Practical implications

Given the increasing investment in branding within social media and the fragmentation of brand communications across multiple communications platforms, the management of effective brand communications remains a significant challenge. This study found that the relationship between self-brand connections, affective, social, behavioural and cognitive engagement and loyalty was context-specific and moderated by a digital communication channel (OBC vs DCM email marketing), thus providing insights as to the effectiveness of OBCs and DCMs as two tools for enhancing consumer loyalty.

Originality/value

This study makes a novel contribution to the engagement literature by examining the antecedent role of self-brand connections in predicting consumers’ engagement; the moderating role of digital communication platforms (OBC vs DCM) on the formation of cognitive, affective, behavioural and social engagement; and the mediating effect of these dimensions on loyalty.

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Article
Publication date: 16 December 2019

Zhimin Zhou, Ge Zhan and Nan Zhou

Consumers share negative brand experience in many occasions to vent their emotion and seek support. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of negative…

Abstract

Purpose

Consumers share negative brand experience in many occasions to vent their emotion and seek support. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of negative sharing on members’ happiness in online brand communities by drawing from two opposing constructs: social support and social exclusion.

Design/methodology/approach

Both survey and experiment methods were employed to test the conceptual model. Online survey data were collected from 1,015 mobile internet users.

Findings

The findings reveal that negative sharing may enhance a sharer’s happiness through online social support particularly for novice community members. The findings also indicate greater online social exclusion for experienced members than for novice members. These findings cast doubt on the widely held assumption that increased engagement in a community will always produces positive outcomes. The moderating effect of membership duration is confirmed with an experiment of MI’s brand community members.

Research limitations/implications

The study of happiness in online brand community sheds new light on consumer–brand and user–community relationships.

Originality/value

While most previous studies on negative sharing only explored the negative side of consequences, the authors contribute to this line of research by introducing both positive (social support) and negative (social exclusion) outcomes of negative reviews. The model also explains the conditions under which negative reviews enhance social support and social exclusion.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Article
Publication date: 22 April 2020

Daiane Scaraboto, Stefânia Ordovás de Almeida and João Pedro dos Santos Fleck

The purpose of this study is to explain how online brand communities work to support the denormalization of controversial (i.e. illegal yet normalized) gaming practices.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explain how online brand communities work to support the denormalization of controversial (i.e. illegal yet normalized) gaming practices.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative study was characterized by long-term immersion in an online brand community for Brazilian Xbox gamers. The dataset includes online and offline interactions with community members, interviews, and online archival data.

Findings

This study shows how online brand community members promoted legal gaming in a market where piracy was prevalent. It demonstrates how community members worked to establish coherence; engaged in cognitive participation; developed collective action that extended beyond the community; and reflected on their own work.

Research limitations/implications

This study identifies online brand communities as a potential ally in combating controversial practices in online gaming; complements individual and behavioral approaches in explaining why consumers adopt controversial practices in online environments; and adds a normalization framework to the toolkit of Internet researchers.

Practical implications

This study identifies ways in which the potential of online brand communities can be leveraged to reduce consumer adherence to controversial gaming practices through denormalizing these and normalizing alternative practices that may be more desirable to companies and other stakeholders.

Originality/value

This long-term, qualitative study inspired by normalization process theory offers an innovative perspective on the online practices of consumers who engage with a brand in ways that create value for themselves and for the brand.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Article
Publication date: 13 November 2017

Jeannette Paschen, Leyland Pitt, Jan Kietzmann, Amir Dabirian and Mana Farshid

Online brand communities provide a wealth of insights about how consumers perceive and talk about a brand, rather than what the firm communicates about the brand. The…

Abstract

Purpose

Online brand communities provide a wealth of insights about how consumers perceive and talk about a brand, rather than what the firm communicates about the brand. The purpose of this paper is to understand whether the brand personality of an online brand community, rather than of the brand itself, can be deduced from the online communication within that brand community.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is empirical in nature. The authors use community-generated content from eight online brand communities and perform content analysis using the text analysis software Diction. The authors employ the five brand personality dictionaries (competence, excitement, ruggedness, sincerity and sophistication) from the Pitt et al. (2007) dictionary source as the basis for the authors’ analysis.

Findings

The paper offers two main contributions. First, it identifies two types of communities: those focusing on solving functional problems that consumers might encounter with a firm’s offering and those focusing on broader engagement with the brand. Second, the study serves as a blueprint that marketers can adopt to analyze online brand communities using a computerized approach. Such a blueprint is beneficial not only to analyze a firm’s own online brand community but also that of competitors, thus providing insights into how their brand stacks up against competitor brands.

Originality/value

This is the first paper examining the nature of online brand communities by means of computerized content analysis. The authors outline a number of areas that marketing scholars could explore further based on the authors analysis. The paper also highlights implications for marketers when establishing, managing, monitoring and analyzing online brand communities.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 41 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 October 2017

Shampy Kamboj and Zillur Rahman

The purpose of this paper is to develop and validate a scale to measure customer social participation in brand communities, specifically e-travel companies’ communities.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop and validate a scale to measure customer social participation in brand communities, specifically e-travel companies’ communities.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative research has been undertaken to generate a pool of items. Based on Churchill’s (1979) scale development process, numerous reliability and validity tests have been conducted to confirm the scale structure. Data were collected through online and field surveys from the students and hotel guests who have either subscribed, liked or joined any e-travel service companies’ community brand page using any social networking site or have ever posted or considered reviews and ratings of any e-travel service companies via their official site or via a mobile app while planning their travel.

Findings

The findings depict nine items on a three-dimensional scale for measuring customer participation in travel brand communities created on social networking sites.

Research limitations/implications

The findings provide important implications for hotel and travel managers and are likely to encourage future studies in the field of social media and travel brand communities.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature by providing refinement to the distinct operationalization and conceptualization of customer online participation, specifically in social media-based travel brand communities. This paper is the first to develop a multidimensional scale of customer social participation in e-travel companies’ communities. This is a new addition to existing literature, as the majority of empirical studies in this field are from participation other than customer social participation and contexts different from e-travel companies.

Details

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-9880

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2015

Sarah Sloan, Kelli Bodey and Richard Gyrd-Jones

The purpose of this paper was to explore the role knowledge sharing plays in both firm-sponsored (FS) and user-generated (UG) Online Brand Communities (OBCs) on Facebook…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper was to explore the role knowledge sharing plays in both firm-sponsored (FS) and user-generated (UG) Online Brand Communities (OBCs) on Facebook. Branding through online mediums is an under-researched area that is slowly gaining attention in the literature. In some ways, action has come first as theory struggles to catch up with technological advances. Given that social sharing behaviours (i.e. online social networking) are arguably driving the strategic direction of marketers, it is important to understand the discourse that is being communicated. One such avenue is through participation in an OBC. While it is apparent that research is growing in the OBC area, there are still areas of interest that have gained little attention.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected using netnography, an appropriate yet under-applied methodological technique used to investigate the consumer behaviour of cultures and communities present on the Internet. Specifically, Facebook Pages relating to five OBCs based on the cruise-liner P & O Australia have been chosen for this case study.

Findings

Results indicate that in both the FS and UG OBCs, knowledge-sharing was seen to have an important influence on pre-purchase decision-making. It also acted as a mechanism for trust building and sharing brand experiences and as an important encouragement to developing a sense of community among community members. A particularly interesting outcome of this research was the way in which consumers have taken on an active role in co-creating brand identity, which seemingly illuminates the role of brand management in social media.

Practical implications

Given that this research was conducted with a real brand, with real customers, in a real OBC, the findings also point to some important practical applications. This study has found that the role of brands in their online forums is paramount, and as such, highlights the importance of effective brand governance. The rise of technology brings increased opportunities for a brand to reach out to their consumers. This study makes a further contribution by providing insights into how the consumer–brand relationship is shaped by the communication that occurs between consumers. To this end, consumers see it as the brand’s responsibility to monitor such online platforms, thus indicating the management of OBCs needs to be at the forefront of brand management practices.

Originality/value

This study represents one of the earliest investigations of brand communities facilitated by social media, specifically focusing on Facebook as the communication platform. Importantly, this study increases our knowledge of consumer interaction in social media, with an emphasis towards the role that knowledge sharing contributes to OBCs and the differences prevalent between FS and UG online communities.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2017

Shampy Kamboj and Zillur Rahman

The purpose of this paper is to present a systematic review of customer participation research specifically in online brand communities and summarize a number of basic…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a systematic review of customer participation research specifically in online brand communities and summarize a number of basic issues as important research gaps that future research should address.

Design/methodology/approach

By using the content analysis method, this paper explores, analyses and presents a literature review by closely examining 113 articles published during 2001-2016, primarily from the leading marketing and management journals.

Findings

The findings of this review show that regardless of the plenty of studies in this area, a conceptual framework for customer participation is undetermined. This review presents a framework describing various antecedents, mediators, moderators and consequences of online brand community participation. Apart from this, various theories and models used in the reviewed articles are being depicted. The literature classification presented in this paper portrays the current trends and patterns of research in this area. This review also addresses research gaps in this area and presents them in the form of future research directions.

Research/limitations/implications

This review of literature carried out by the authors suggests that customer participation in online brand communities needs more focused conceptual research and the implications of this study will help researchers in this direction. Moreover, the managers can use the identified variables as a checklist to their online brand communities’ activities.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to provide a systematic review of customer participation in online brand community area that presents a comprehensive knowledge regarding the current state of research in this area on a single platform and provides a conceptual framework.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2017

Tuğba Özbölük and Yunus Dursun

This paper aims to investigate the different types of members based on their roles within an online brand community dedicated to Apple.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the different types of members based on their roles within an online brand community dedicated to Apple.

Design/methodology/approach

Design/methodology/approach Data are drawn from an 18-month netnographic study, including participant and non-participant observation.

Findings

Findings reveal that members of the online brand community share a common goal but they are heterogeneous in many respects. In this research, five different types of brand community members are identified: learner, pragmatist, activist, opinion leader and evangelist. These findings emphasize the heterogeneity of the brand community or the differences of members and subgroups they form in the community.

Practical implications

This paper offers some insights for brand managers. There are different sub-tribes in online brand communities and these sub-tribes develop their own meanings of the brand. This means that online brand communities do not form one single homogenous target group and can be segmented into subgroups. Findings also offer a deeper understanding of negative characteristics of online brand community members. The role “activist” found in this study may be crucial for marketers, as activists can represent the negative side of online brand communities.

Originality/value

The literature on brand communities has focused predominantly on the homogeneity of these communities. This paper extends the literature by demonstrating the heterogeneity in an online brand community. The paper contributes to the brand community literature by substantiating that online brand community members can be segmented into subgroups based on their roles within the community. In addition, the paper extends the existing literature on brand communities that has overlooked the destructive consumer roles.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2018

Tingting Zhang, Anil Bilgihan, Jay Kandampully and Can Lu

Companies increasingly rely on online communities for social customer support, to develop and nurture relationships with customers, and to generate product and service…

Abstract

Purpose

Companies increasingly rely on online communities for social customer support, to develop and nurture relationships with customers, and to generate product and service development ideas. As yet, few studies have established the relationship between online communities and branding strategies. Therefore, the impact of online communities on branding requires investigation. The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors that influence brand relationships developed through online communities.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical model was developed based on marketing literature and tested using structural equation modeling with a sample size of 253 respondents.

Findings

Findings present the underlying reasons why and how online communities build stronger brand relationships with consumers. Online communities have been found to cultivate consumers’ sense of collectiveness with shared values conveyed through brand engagement; enhance consumers’ trust, leading to the establishment of a trustworthy image of the brand; and increase enjoyment and enrich consumers’ experience with the brand through participation and engagement.

Originality/value

This study provides insights to understand the direct relationship between online communities and brand performance. The findings of the study provide practical implications for brand relationship management and online community design.

研究目的

公司越来越依靠网上社区来提供社交式的消费者服务支持, 以建立和巩固与消费者的关系, 并且以获得产品、服务研发的新想法。至今为止, 很少的著作致力于研究网上社区与品牌战略的关系。因此, 网上社区对于品牌扩展的影响作用值得研究。本论文的研究目的即是研究通过网上社区建立起来的消费者品牌关系的诸多因素。.

研究设计/方法/途径

本论文的理论模型是以营销理论为基础而建立的。本论文采用结构方程模型, 253份样本数据, 来验证建立的理论模型。.

研究结果

各种通过网上社区建立更强消费者品牌关系的因素得以分析和整理。网上社区能够通过使消费者与品牌更贴近的各种活动, 以培养消费者对于品牌的认知和集体意识, 从而使消费者与品牌有一致的价值认知。此外, 网上社区还能增强消费者对于品牌的信任, 增强了消费者与品牌互动过程的愉悦感和体验感。.

研究原创性/价值

本论文对于网上社区和品牌表现之间的直接关系进行梳理和研究。其研究结果对于品牌关系管理和网上社区设计等方面有着很深的实际启示作用。.

Details

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-9880

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

T.C. Wong, Mohamed Yacine Haddoud, Y.K. Kwok and Hongwei He

The purpose of this paper is to propose a research model to identify the key determinants and examine their impact towards online pro-brand and anti-brand community

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a research model to identify the key determinants and examine their impact towards online pro-brand and anti-brand community citizenship behaviours (CCBs).

Design/methodology/approach

A survey based on the research model is used to collect empirical data from 260 and 200 members of online pro-brand communities (OBCs) and online anti-brand communities (OABCs), respectively. A two-stage approach employing fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis and artificial neural network (ANN) is first applied to uncover new observations.

Findings

Moral identity and positive brand emotion (BE) are the two most influential factors driving both online pro-brand and anti-brand CCBs. A higher level of internalisation might be required to exhibit online anti-brand CCB as opposed to online pro-brand CCB. This contradicts the current understanding that anti-brand behaviours are less morally restricted given the virtuality and anonymity of online communities. OABC members may need to better justify themselves internally to overcome positive BE when exercising anti-brand action. Also, brand identification, brand dis-identification and BE would be used to identify two types of OABC members.

Research limitations/implications

The effect of motives other than pro-social remains unclear on online pro-brand and anti-brand CCBs.

Originality/value

This is the first paper to develop two new dimensions which provide a more complete definition of CCB. Also, some new observations are uncovered by comparing the effect of different key determinants on online pro-brand CCB against that of online anti-brand CCB. The research model can be used to define and improve member (or brand) engagement which would enhance the management of OBCs and OABCs.

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