Enhancing Consumers' Stickiness to Online Brand Communities as an Innovative Relationship Marketing Strategy

Enhancing Consumers' Stickiness to Online Brand Communities as an Innovative Relationship Marketing Strategy

Mei-hui Chen (Chia-Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Tainan, Taiwan), Kune-muh Tsai (National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung, Taiwan) and Yi-An Ke (National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/IJSWIS.2019070102

Abstract

With the popularity of social networking sites, enterprises start to establish their own brand communities to manage and maintain customer relationships. Consumer stickiness is regarded as one of the critical determinants for the success of a brand community. Enhancing consumers' stickiness to online communities can lead to repurchase behavior and positive word-of-mouth and thereby increase sales volume and customer recruitment. This study endeavors to explore the antecedents of consumers' stickiness to a SNS-based online brand community from the aspects of enterprises and consumers. Data were collected through online questionnaires conducted on Do-Survey website with a hyperlink posted on the PTT, the largest BBS website of Taiwan. After excluding non-usable data, the final sample size was 516. The results indicated that information quality, perceived value, and community identification have positive effects on consumers' stickiness to online brand communities. Moreover, stickiness to online brand communities has positive impacts on customer loyalty.
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1. Introduction

Social networking site (SNS), e.g., Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, has become a popular communication tool for enterprises due to the advantages of synchronous interaction and communication with multiple parties and without geographical constraints (Kaur, Dhir, & Rajala, 2016). Specifically, for small and medium sized enterprises (SME), the use of SNS can bring them a lot of benefits, such as increasing exposure, enhancing brand attractiveness, improving sales, reducing marketing expenses, and developing loyal fans (Icha & Edwin, 2016; Kaur et al., 2016). SNS, hence, is adopted by various enterprises as an important practice for relationship marketing in both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) contexts (Icha & Edwin, 2016). Nowadays, more and more companies present themselves on SNSs by establishing brand communities to maintain continuous interaction with existing and potential customers to influence their brand choices (Banerjee & Banerjee, 2015) and cultivate brand loyalty (Kaur et al., 2016; Muniz & O'Guinn, 2001).

Muniz and O'Guinn (2001) defined a brand community as “a specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand” (p.412). Through the computer-mediated communication pattern of a brand community, enterprises can collect customers’ information (Muniz & O'Guinn, 2001) to facilitate innovation of their products and services (Kaur et al., 2016; Schau, Muñiz, & Arnould, 2014). Brand community can be regarded as a kind of open innovation with knowledge from external sources. For example, LEGO has quested and adopted open innovation from consumers to improve its successful LEGO robotic kit Mindstorms, and skinnyCorp’s Threadless has employed user innovation to manufacture consumer-designed and critiqued T-shirts (Schau et al., 2014). Within a brand community, consumers can interact with the brand, with company employees, and with other consumers (Muniz & O'Guinn, 2001), and thereby their needs, wants and opinions can be heard and be satisfied. Consequently, a brand community is crucial for developing new product or service and managing consumer-brand, consumer-consumer, and consumer-marketer relationships as well (Banerjee & Banerjee, 2015; Kelley & Alden, 2015; Simon, Brexendorf, & Fassnacht, 2016).

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