Drivers of consumer brand engagement in social media sites: an explorative analysis

Valentina Pitardi, Andrea Rea

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    Purpose - The Marketing Science Institute’s 2010-2012 Research Priorities identifies “customer engagement” as a key research area contributing to enhanced academic insight in consumer behavior in complex interactive and co-creative context. (MSI, 2010-2012; Bolton, 2011) Despite the extensive use of the term “customer engagement” in branding practice and the high adoption rate of social media, academic inquiry into the “customer brand engagement” (CBE) concept in interactive context has traspired in the literature only relatively recently (Hollebeek, 2011; Mollen & Wilson, 2010; Sprott, Czellar & Spangenberg, 2009) and very few study have dealt with this issue (Laroche, 2012). This paper addresses this research gap by providing a literature review integrating social media, customer engagement and branding literature, and develops a CBE conceptual model. The study analyze the complex multidimensional and dynamic nature of CBE construct in social media sites toward a brand perspective and introduce the role of message (as content type, media type and narrative structure) in CBE process. Integrating Consumer Culture Theory (Arnould & Thompson, 2005) in Service Logic Dominant (Vargo & Lush, 2004), the paper focused on key driver of CBE introducing narrative structure and processing (Schembri et al., 2010; Escalas, 2004 ) as a key of emotional and cognitive dimensions.
    Methodology/approach - Based on the findings from a literature review, from nine research propositions, the study develops a conceptual model which provides a set of key drivers of CBE dimensions. Furthermore, an explorative qualitative analysis was conducted particularly to analyse if and how narrative structure and processing can affect emotional and cognitive CBE dimensions in social media based brand community (Laroche et al., 2012, 2013). Two Facebook brand page with different structure and processing narrative was chosen. After an observation of user’s behaviour during web surfing, fourteen depth-interview was conducted and data were analysed by thematic analysis using a theoretical approach. (Boyatzis, 1998)
    Finding - First of all users perceive a difference in the structure and processing narrative of the two Facebook brand pages, and this enable us to talk about narrative. Results indicates that narrative affects cognitive CBE dimension enhancing the range of brand meaning and the number of brand associations that users ascribe to the brand, also affect the emotional dimension facilitating the creation of self brand connections. Further, active customer engagement behaviour was observed in some user surfing Facebook brand page with structure and processing narrative.
    Managerial implications - From a managerial perspective, the research findings demonstrate the importance of understanding how consumer engage in specific social media based brand community. Results illustrates the importance of message features, particularly narrative, as key of emotional and cognitive CBE dimension, thus further managerial attention need to be given to the use of a narrative approach in social media context.
    Limitations and Further Research - Exploratory nature of this research provide preliminary insights for future empirical inquiry which is required to verify the conceptual model proposed. Research is based on a small target, further research need to incorporate studies examining larger online group across different product categories. Moreover empirical research addressing the nature of “narrative” inter-relationship with other concept, including interactivity and involvement, is required, which may be undertaken using structural methods.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2014
    Event12th Annual International Conference on Communication and Mass Media - Athens, Greece
    Duration: 12 May 201415 Jul 2014


    Conference12th Annual International Conference on Communication and Mass Media
    Abbreviated titleATINER


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