Brand Loyalty and Online Brand Communities: Is Brand Loyalty Being Strengthened Through Social Media?

Brand Loyalty and Online Brand Communities: Is Brand Loyalty Being Strengthened Through Social Media?

Katherine Barnet (William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ, USA) and Sharmila Pixy Ferris (Department of Communication, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/IJOM.2016070104
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This research explores the use of the online social media network Pinterest in brand-to-consumer engagement and brand loyalty. The basis of the study was formed upon previous research on brand loyalty, online brand communities, brand experiences, and emotional connections to brands. Brand loyalty is defined in this study as pins, likes, or comments on a post by one of three food brands: Cooking Light, Food Network, and Kraft Foods. Content analyses were conducted over a two-week period to observe the number and types of posts by the three brands and the interaction with their Pinterest followers. It was found that consumers who engage with brands on social networks sites, such as Pinterest, do have positive brand experiences, which has been previously linked to increased brand loyalty.
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Literature Review

Brands are a pervasive entity in our world today. Everywhere we look, we are inundated with countless brands and brand choices. From the cars we drive to the food we eat to the electronics we use and the paper this is printed on, everything that we use and consume today is tied to a brand. Marketers and researchers alike have studied how people choose brands and what factors influence brand choices. The idea that consumers form relationships with certain brands (Fournier, 1998) and that positive, or negative, brand experiences influence brand relationships (Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001; Algesheimer, Dholakia, & Herrmann, 2005), can then lead to the holy grail of marketing: brand loyalty. Loyalty or commitment to a brand is a result of the decision made by a consumer that a specific brand is better than its competitors and is reinforced through repeated purchases (Day, 1969; Naveed, 2012; Oliver, 1999). Furthermore, Oliver (1999) notes that loyalty occurs “despite situational influences and marketing efforts having the potential to cause switching behavior” (p. 34). Marketers realize that true brand loyalty and a connection with a brand will be more valuable than any other marketing, advertising or promotional tactics.

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