Friendship to Kinship: Evaluating the Role of Consumer Brand Engagement to Promote Brand Evangelism

Friendship to Kinship: Evaluating the Role of Consumer Brand Engagement to Promote Brand Evangelism

Anbumathi Rajendiran (Great Lakes Institute of Management, India) and Sriram Dorai (Great Lakes Institute of Management, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1048-3.ch009

Abstract

This chapter explains the effect of brand engagement on brand evangelism in an Indian context. It explores the motives that drive fans in brand engagement that leads to brand evangelism behavior. A nomological model is developed based on literature reviews and authors tested empirically using a survey design for two mobile phone brands. Results of the empirical study reinforces the role of brand engagement as a significant influencer of brand evangelism. Additionally, brand involvement, brand personality and self-brand connect are the constructs elucidating brand engagement, whereas brand interactivity has a direct effect on brand evangelism. Conceptual model tested among users of premium and value brand of mobile phones enlightens that customers of premium brand demonstrate stronger brand engagement and evangelism intent.
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Introduction

With increasing digitization, there is greater emphasis on individualized marketing communication rather than mass marketing. The concept of word-of-mouth communication has become more effective than traditional communication strategies. Word-of-mouth can be either face to face interaction or through social media, but creates greater impact of almost 20 times greater than television advertisement (Becerra & Badrinarayanan, 2013). Considering this, it would be better for brands to focus on satisfied customers to spread positive word-of-mouth than spend on mass communication to optimize marketing costs. A satisfied customer tends to behave as a brand ambassador in preaching the advantages of the brand to which they are emotionally connected, and this kind of behavior is defined by Kawasaki (1991) as ‘Brand Evangelism’. Brand evangelism, therefore, is an extension of positive word-of-mouth (Doss, 2013) and is described as an active way of zealously spreading positive opinions about the focal brand and persuading others to get engaged with the same. (Lee & Hsieh, 2016).

In order to convert the customers into brand evangelists, the firm should build strong relationship with existing customers who in turn will be publicizing about the brand. The relationship developed over a period of time is expected to strengthen the engagement towards the brand or the firm. Thus, brand engagement is expected to provide the fillip to customers to become brand evangelists. According to Prahalad & Ramaswamy (2004), a firm’s value will be determined based on how it engages the customers to be proactive and develops long term relationship (Brodie, et al., 2011).

Based on the above approach, this chapter attempts to examine the impact of consumer brand engagement on brand evangelism behavior and also identifies the antecedents that leads to brand engagement. The smartphone industry in India is rapidly evolving and many new players have entered the market in the past few years. According to counterpointresearch.com, India is expected to have second largest customer base for smartphones by 2022 at 442.5 million units next to China.

In this context, the chapter contributes to the existing brand evangelism literature by studying the customers towards high involvement products in India. Additionally, the study also delineates the various dimensions of brand engagement as mediator and its direct influence on brand evangelism. Drawing from the literature of brand evangelism, customer brand engagement and drivers of brand engagement, the purpose of the study is to ascertain the following: (i) Can engaged customers can be converted to be a brand evangelists?; (ii) What are the brand related antecedents of customer brand engagement?; and (iii) the theoretical framework developed is tested and compared for premium brand and value brand smartphones in India.

This chapter is organized as follows: We begin by explaining Brand Evangelism followed by Brand Engagement and antecedents to engagement. A theoretical model with testable hypotheses are formulated next. Subsequently, we explain the methodology and data collection method for testing the theoretical model. We conclude by discussing results, managerial implications and results.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Brand Interactivity: Two-way communication between the brand and the customers by means of active feedback mechanism.

Customer Brand Engagement: Intensity of customer participation in brand related offerings.

Premium Brand: Brand demonstrating imaginary surplus value compared to other similar brands in the segment.

Brand Evangelism: Act of preaching the positive opinion or emotion about the brand.

Constructive Complaint: Constructive way of communicating dissatisfaction on how to improvise the product/ service.

Value Brand: Brand offering high value/benefits for the cost paid.

Brand Involvement: It is the degree of affinity or importance the customer gives to a brand based on their ego structure.

Oppositional Brand Referral: Dissuading others in consuming rival brands.

Brand Personality: Set of human characteristics perceived to be attached with the brand.

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