Social Media, Online Brand Communities, and Customer Engagement in the Fashion Industry

Social Media, Online Brand Communities, and Customer Engagement in the Fashion Industry

Guida Helal (American University of Beirut, Lebanon)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 30
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7344-9.ch007
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Fashion brands have shifted communication to social media as part of evolutionary modern-day marketing approaches to reaching consumers. Brands have adjusted to a vocal customer through back-and-forth interchange on social media platforms that have progressively facilitated for online brand communities. Social media brand communities serve to engage audiences in interactive settings that resonate with individual consumers across different levels. As brand awareness is augmented, brand impressions are conceived, brand-customer relationships are formed, and a sense of community is fostered around a brand, consumers exploit association to such social media brand communities in advancing social identity. The following chapter explores the impact of social media brand communities on Millennials in the fashion industry, while considering the social identity theory. The chapter focuses on theoretical and managerial implications. This chapter considers the influence social media brand communities and social identity may have on a fashion brand.
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Marketing advancements have continued to mature as contextual disciplines dependent on factors such as the economy, society, technology, globalisation, or emerging markets, among other elements (Sheth, 2011; Sheth & Sisodia, 1999; Zinkhan & Hirschheim, 1992). These external realities allow for ever-evolving marketing logics that industries venture to embrace (Jayachandran, Gimeno, & Varadarajan, 1999; Vargo & Lusch, 2004). The Internet is a paramount example of a revolutionary influence that has radically transformed interaction in today’s society. The modernised Millennial take on communication marks the extensive assumption of Internet manifestations, such as social media, that have facilitated dynamic interchange. Social media platforms have notably crept into marketing operations as lead tools in reaching, sharing and interacting with customers (Hudson, Huang, Roth, & Madden, 2016; Chappuis, Gaffey & Parvizi, 2011), as traditional marketing regresses from providing the active two-way interchange social media encapsulate (Houman Andersen, 2001; Ozuem, Howell, & Lancaster, 2008). Brands have accordingly adjusted to online communication channels in the chase to ensure timely prominence among consumers within an inviting setting (Evans, 2012; Hoffman & Novak, 1996). Over the years, the fashion industry among others has invested in social media presence in hopes of reaping the benefits direct, two-way interchange promises to provide through online brand-customer interactions (Kim & Ko, 2012; Phan; Thomas & Hein, 2011; Helal & Ozuem, 2017). Expansive literature has been produced on the development of social media in routine interactions and its potential leverage on consumer intentions (Fischer & Reuber, 2011; Hoffman & Fodor, 2016; Huy & Shipilov, 2012; Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010; Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy, & Silvestre, 2011; Qualman, 2013). Additional studies have examined the principles of applying social media within a brand’s marketing strategy (Habibi, Laroche & Richard, 2014; Naylor, Lamberton, & West, 2012; Simmons, 2008).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Brand Association: Brand association involves brand attributes set in consumers’ minds upon reflecting on a brand.

Customer Equity: Customer equity consists of the total value of all a company’s customers.

Social Interaction: Social interaction involves reciprocal exchange and response between individuals.

Brand Communities: Brand communities comprise collectives formed around an interest/attachment to a brand.

Social media: Social media includes Internet-centered platforms that facilitate for the production and circulation of user-generated content.

Brand-Customer Relationship: Brand-customer relationships consider the recurring interactions between brand and customer that carry the potential to mature into trust, loyalty, and relationships.

Social Identity Theory: Social identity theory reflects on how a person may evaluate him/herself and other based on groups he/she belongs to.

Millennial Generation: Millennial generation is a demographic cohort that is born between the early 1980s up to the early 2000s.

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