Towards an Insight Into Customer Behavior in Virtual Brand Communities: An Investigation of Personal and Community Characteristic Factors

Towards an Insight Into Customer Behavior in Virtual Brand Communities: An Investigation of Personal and Community Characteristic Factors

Thi Bich Hanh Tran (FPT University, Vietnam), Quynh Anh Nguyen (FPT University, Vietnam), Trung Thanh Le (FPT University, Vietnam), Quang Hieu Nguyen (FPT University, Vietnam), Khanh Son Nguyen (FPT University, Vietnam) and Huy Hung Dinh (FPT University, Vietnam)
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/IJEBR.293296
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This study aims at exploring the effects of customer’s personal factors and characteristics of brand community on customers’ behaviors in virtual brand community. The data were collected from customers of virtual brand communities in Vietnamese context via a survey. The data show that among the customer’s personal factors, customer ability has the largest impact on customer active behaviors in virtual brand community while customer motivation and opportunity have smaller significant influences on customer behaviors. Regarding the characteristics of virtual brand community, information quality posted in virtual community has the most dramatic effect on customer involvement in active behaviors. System quality is also relevant to customer behaviors, yet virtual interactivity and rewards are unrelated to customer activity involvement. With the findings, research shows useful suggestions for businesses in Vietnam in their efforts to understand the impact of customer behavior in the virtual community.
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1. Introduction

A growing number of consumers use social networks to express and disseminate their knowledge, experiences, and opinions about products and services. The social network and sharing platform function as platforms to facilitate interaction among consumers and the formation of brand communities. (Muñiz & O'Guinn, 2001; Muñiz & Schau, 2005, 2006). Consequently, many enterprises created their brand fan pages in the social network as their virtual brand communities. Those fan pages create a community of consumers who interact with the company through liking or commenting on brand posts or through sharing information (Bushelow, 2012). There has been evidence that brand fan page or many firms outperforms official websites in terms of consumer traffic (Neff, 2010; Zastrow, 2013). As such, building a community brand is essential to developing the company's brand while increasing the ability of interaction between the company and the customer.

The recent innovation of social network - based brand communities provide companies with benefits such as greater accessibility to customers, lower costs and higher communication efficiency (Laroche, 2012). Virtual brand communities are known as specialized, structured, and non – geographically bond, with no constraint, allowing continuous communications between many to many members. In addition, the willingness of customers to share or respond to products and services is an opportunity for marketers to grasp customers better by paying attention to discussing values from social networks. Thus, they can assess accurately customer’s satisfaction level, discover new customer’s needs and find important features to target in the media. Based on this practical information, the company can provide marketing strategies for potential products or develop and improve products based on customers' practical needs. Consumers can also form and manage many successful online or virtual brand communities in which they can influence other members to voluntarily perform various community behaviors like intention of membership, recommendation, active participation, and the like. Several studies show that virtual community is a crucial reference for the members. Prior to making a decision for purchases, participants can collect information, get consultancy or advice from an expert user on virtual communities. Even for post-purchase stage, customers may share their experiences of consumption to the community (De Valck et al., 2009). In this way, customer virtual communities clearly have a vast influence on consumers and become more dependable than commercial communities (Bickart & Schindler, 2001; Brodie et al., 2013), but customer communities may also be disadvantageous to a company as negative messages from unsatisfied consumers could threaten brand image (Maclaran & Catterall, 2002).

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