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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: 12 March 2018

Liezl-Marié van der Westhuizen

This paper aims to determine one explanation for how the self-brand connection is associated with brand loyalty through the brand experience. Brand experience should…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to determine one explanation for how the self-brand connection is associated with brand loyalty through the brand experience. Brand experience should verify the self-brand connection by acting as a mechanism through which a self-brand connection is associated with brand loyalty.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were obtained from 317 adults through paid Facebook Boosting of an online survey and analyzed using structural equation modeling.

Findings

Analyses confirm that brand experience fully mediates the association between self-brand connection and brand loyalty.

Research limitations/implications

Ensuring a positive brand experience is critical for brand managers opting to maintain consumers’ self-brand connections and brand loyalty. Causality suffered owing to the cross-sectional design of the study.

Practical implications

Self-brand connection is viewed as consumer-driven. However, by identifying the brand experience to verify the self-brand connection and as a factor that mediates the self-brand connection–loyalty relationship of consumers, brand experience is recognized as a new factor which brand managers can control to manage self-brand connections and brand loyalty.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to apply the self-verification theory to the self-brand connection–loyalty relationship by explicating brand experience as a mediator of this relationship. This paper argues self-verification is not context-specific and lived experiences with the brand, irrespective of context, establish consumer–brand relationships. This paper confirms the second-order factor structure of the brand experience scale (Brakus et al., 2009) as a mediator in this self-brand connection–loyalty model.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Abhishek Dwivedi, Lester W. Johnson and Robert E. McDonald

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of celebrity endorser credibility on consumer self-brand connection and endorsed brand equity. A conceptual model is…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of celebrity endorser credibility on consumer self-brand connection and endorsed brand equity. A conceptual model is developed, positioning consumer self-brand connections as a partial mediator of the effect of endorser credibility on endorsed brand equity.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional survey of 382 consumers of sports drinks in the USA was conducted to estimate the conceptual model. Stimuli, devised on the basis of a pre-test, involved celebrity–brand pairings in the context of the US non-aseptic sports drinks industry. Structural equation modeling is used as the analytic tool.

Findings

The research model is empirically supported. Celebrity endorsements impact endorsed brand equity via two pathways. First, a direct effect of endorser credibility on endorsed brand equity was observed, which is positively moderated by the degree of consumer-perceived endorser–brand congruence. Second, self-brand connection partly mediates the effect of endorser credibility on endorsed brand equity, supporting an indirect mechanism of brand equity enhancement.

Practical implications

Managers can now consider using celebrities as tools to develop meaningful self-concept-related connections with consumers. Additionally, the results of this study support for the use of celebrity endorsers as direct brand equity-enhancing tools.

Originality/value

This study is among pioneering investigations that examine the self-concept repercussions of celebrity endorsements, suggesting that celebrity endorsers possess the ability to engage with consumers at the self-concept level, in turn, impacting endorsed brand equity. Additionally, this paper examines the direct and indirect mechanisms by which celebrities influence consumer-based brand equity of the endorsed brand.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 24 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 3 December 2018

Mariola Palazon, Elena Delgado-Ballester and Maria Sicilia

The purpose of this paper is to analyze how brand love is built in the context of brand pages by proposing a model in which brand love depends on relationships ties with…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze how brand love is built in the context of brand pages by proposing a model in which brand love depends on relationships ties with other brand consumers (sense of brand community) and with the brand itself (self–brand connection).

Design/methodology/approach

Information was collected from a sample of 559 members of the community of a well-known baby food brand on Facebook. Data were collected through an online questionnaire sent by the company.

Findings

Results suggest that both sense of brand community and self–brand connection foster brand love and that self–brand connection exerts a mediating role between sense of brand community and brand love. Furthermore, the effect of brand community on brand love is conditioned by a personal trait of individuals such as brand engagement in self-concept. In addition, this study identifies a new consequence of brand love not previously analyzed in the literature: brand equity.

Research limitations/implications

A potential shortcoming is the product category analyzed and that the length of membership was not controlled and it may be a moderator between participation and community consequences.

Practical implications

The key implications are the importance of nurturing relationship ties among brand users and building self–brand connections on brand pages as precursors of brand love.

Originality/value

The study offers empirical evidence about the mechanism through which brand love is formed on social-media platforms such as Facebook. Furthermore, the authors have demonstrated the relationship between brand love and brand equity, which had not been examined yet in the literature.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 43 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 26 October 2012

Elyria Kemp, Carla Y. Childers and Kim H. Williams

The purpose of this research is to investigate how branding theories can be applied to place branding. It aims to examine how internal stakeholders, specifically a city's…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to investigate how branding theories can be applied to place branding. It aims to examine how internal stakeholders, specifically a city's residents, are fundamental in the brand‐building process.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual model with a theoretical basis in the branding literature is developed to illuminate the antecedents of self‐brand connection and brand advocacy in the context of city branding. The model is then tested using structural equation analysis on a sample of residents from an American city that has taken a cultural/entertainment approach to its branding efforts.

Findings

Findings indicate that brand associations, including attitude toward the branding efforts of the city, perceived quality of the brand and the uniqueness of the brand, are crucial in the branding and positioning efforts of a city to its residents. When strong brand associations exist, residents may develop such a connection to the brand that it becomes reflective of their self‐concepts. When this occurs, a self‐brand connection is formed and residents may become advocates of the brand.

Practical implications

This research has special implications for places and municipalities that are in the process of developing branding strategies for their locales as well as those interested in achieving a competitive advantage with existing brand management systems.

Originality/value

This research provides further insight into the application of branding theory to places and destinations. Implications for developing effective brand management systems that appeal to local residents are enumerated.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 21 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 13 September 2011

Elyria Kemp and My˜ Bui

With a segment of consumers growing more health conscious, food manufacturers are feeding consumers' desire for more healthy products by “reformulating” their products to…

Abstract

Purpose

With a segment of consumers growing more health conscious, food manufacturers are feeding consumers' desire for more healthy products by “reformulating” their products to create healthier versions as well as positioning complete product lines as “healthier alternatives.” The present research aims to examine variables crucial in the brand‐building process for brands that are perceived as “healthy.”

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual model with a theoretical basis in the branding literature is developed and tested on consumers using structural equation modeling.

Findings

Results indicate that brand credibility, commitment and connection are essential in developing branding strategies for “healthy brands.” A credible brand minimizes risk and increases consumer confidence. When consumers believe that a brand is credible and repeatedly purchase it, a commitment to the brand can develop. Finally, the brand can imbue such meaning that the consumer uses the brand to help construct and cultivate a desired self‐image or self‐concept.

Original/value

This research provides important implications for developing effective brand management systems for healthy brands.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 25 September 2020

Junyun Liao and Dianwen Wang

Although online brand communities (OBCs) are extensively demonstrated to be an important social media tool in building brand equity, they may have backfire effects under…

Abstract

Purpose

Although online brand communities (OBCs) are extensively demonstrated to be an important social media tool in building brand equity, they may have backfire effects under certain conditions. Drawing from the self–brand connection theory, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of group heterogeneity on brand commitment. The mediation effect of self–brand connection and moderation effect of brand symbolism has also been examined.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected using a survey of 498 users from a range of OBCs. Hierarchical regression and bootstrapping method were used to test the research model.

Findings

The findings indicate that group heterogeneity negatively affects brand commitment in which self–brand connection plays a role of mediation. Further, the negative effect is more pronounced for high-symbolic brands than low-symbolic ones.

Practical implications

Brand managers are advised to note the dark side of OBCs in general and alleviate the adverse effects of group heterogeneity in particular, especially for high-symbolic brands.

Originality/value

Previous research pays little attention to the adverse effect of OBCs. This study enriches the literature by revealing that the backfire effect of OBCs arises when users become heterogeneous and uncovering in what situations the negative effect is stronger.

Details

Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7122

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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2021

Yi Li and Yangying Peng

This research explores the path that social media influencers affect target consumers to purchase a certain brand posted in their contents.

Abstract

Purpose

This research explores the path that social media influencers affect target consumers to purchase a certain brand posted in their contents.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a sample of 510 Weibo users in China, the conceptual model is tested by structural equation modeling (SEM) in Lisrel 8.8 statistical software.

Findings

This study examined that influencers' source characteristics stimulate consumers' positive attitudes (image satisfaction and/or advertising trust), in turn affect consumers' purchase intention. The expertise, originality and homophily of influencers positively affect two attitudes of consumers. The attractiveness only positively affects image satisfaction, and the interactivity only positively affects advertising trust. Besides that, this study also verified the mediating role of consumers' self-brand connection between the two attitudes and purchase intentions.

Originality/value

By distinguishing two different attitudes of consumers and incorporating consumers' self-brand connection, we proposed a complete theoretical framework for the overall mechanism of influence marketing based on communication–persuasion matrix.

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 20 May 2020

Kelly Naletelich and Nancy Spears

New product development (NPD) is increasingly being delegated to consumers, yet little research has investigated consumer-centric factors that may influence this…

Abstract

Purpose

New product development (NPD) is increasingly being delegated to consumers, yet little research has investigated consumer-centric factors that may influence this delegation. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to uniquely combine regulatory focus and analogical reasoning to investigate new product ideation and downstream consumer-brand responses.

Design/methodology/approach

A series of experiments were undertaken.

Findings

Study 1 revealed that promotion-focused consumers (as opposed to prevention-focused consumers) have significantly greater purchase intentions if given an analogical reasoning task before engaging in new product ideation due to their cognitive flexibility. Study 2 tested the effects of near vs far analogies and found that promotion-focused consumers use analogical thinking to a greater extent and have significantly higher purchase intentions if primed with far analogies because regulatory fit is enhanced. However, analogical thinking and purchase intentions significantly drop if primed with near analogies. In contrast, prevention-focused consumers use analogical thinking to a greater extent and have significantly higher purchase intentions if shown near analogies, compared to far analogies, because of improved regulatory fit. Both studies confirm a serial mediation chain involving task engagement, self-brand connection, and brand sincerity.

Research limitations/implications

This research extends current understanding regarding the role of creative tasks within consumer NPD. It also uniquely links regulatory focus and consumer task engagement in NPD to increase favorable brand responses.

Practical implications

Findings offer managerial insights that can positively increase consumer-brand outcomes during NPD.

Originality/value

This is one of the first studies to demonstrate the importance of analogical thinking and consumer-centric factors (i.e., regulatory focus) during the NPD process. This avenue of research is important, as most studies have neglected ways in which to increase consumer NPD task engagement, leaving resources unutilized.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 54 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 10 June 2021

Alexander V. Laskin and Katie Kresic

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) continues to evolve as a theoretical concept that increasingly integrates social aspects such as diversity, equity, and social…

Abstract

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) continues to evolve as a theoretical concept that increasingly integrates social aspects such as diversity, equity, and social justice (DEI). The study reported in this chapter tests the effects of inclusion as a CSR strategy on key characteristics that develop brand connection with female millennial consumers. Using the Self-Brand Connection theory, we test such components of brand connection as values, identity, and perceived connection. Using an example of a cosmetic brand that chooses to either offer an inclusive or noninclusive lineup of skin care products, the study uses an experimental design to present these two scenarios to two independent samples of female millennials. Results suggest support for the importance of inclusion as the respondents exposed to the inclusive scenario had a more positive attitude toward the brand in all components of brand connection versus respondents exposed to a noninclusive scenario. The difference between the groups was statistically significant in every case. We conclude that inclusion as a component of CSR has a significant impact on female millennials' self-brand connection. As a result, corporations should consider CSR effects in terms of inclusion when developing their branding strategies.

Details

Public Relations for Social Responsibility
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-168-3

Keywords

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