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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1973||2012||6 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 65, Issue 7, July 2012, Pages 890–895
This research investigates the intermediate mechanism that translates brand communities into brand relationships. Using a sample of online brand communities from China, the study finds that consumer brand attachment plays a full mediating role between brand community commitment and brand commitment and exerts partial mediation between brand identification and brand commitment. Perceived community–brand similarity moderates both brand community identification's effect on brand identification and brand community commitment's effect on brand attachment. The findings contribute to the brand literature and provide implications for brand community management.
The past decade bears witness to a growing interest in brand community, a term different from other branding concepts on a single brand consumer (e.g., brand attitude, brand personality, and brand image) (see Algesheimer et al., 2005, Schau et al., 2009, Schouten et al., 2007 and Stokburger-Sauer, 2010). Brand community refers to “a specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relationships among admirers of a brand” (Muniz & O'Guinn, 2001, p. 412). Traditional literature on brand communication pays attention to the company-to-consumers paradigm, while a brand community describes a new paradigm of consumers-to-consumers communication (McAlexander, Schouten, & Koenig, 2002). Thus, “community” may replace “relationship” as a new marketing buzzword (McWilliam, 2000). Prior research examines brand communities’ effects on marketing performance (e.g., Fournier & Lee, 2009). Specifically, brand community identification, participation, and commitment all empirically lead to brand loyalty and recommendation (e.g., word of mouth). Although little doubt exists about a brand community's strong impact on branding, the impact's mediation on brand relationships remains unclear. For example, a direct relationship exists between brand community commitment and brand commitment or loyalty (e.g., Jang, Olfman, Ko, Koh, & Kim, 2008). However, given that brand communities and consumer–brand relationships operate at different levels (McAlexander et al., 2002), the mechanisms mediating or moderating brand community effects on the consumer–brand relationship remain uncharted. Specifically, scholars and practitioners should understand how consumers’ relationships with a brand community translate into their relationships with the brand, such as their commitment to the brand (e.g., Ahluwalia, Burnkrant, & Unnava, 2000). This study intends to uncover such intermediate mechanisms to enrich the understanding of brand community. The reminder of the paper proceeds as follows: the next section presents the conceptual model built on relevant literature that sheds light on the research hypotheses. After the research methods, the paper presents the main research results based on an empirical study using data collected from a Chinese car club. Finally, the paper concludes with managerial implications as well as limitations and further research directions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
5.1. Theoretical implications This research's main objective is to uncover the intermediate mechanism mediating and/or moderating brand community's effects on brand relationships. The results show consumer brand attachment serves as such a full mediator connecting consumer brand community commitment with consumer brand commitment. In addition, the match between community characteristics and brand traits partially moderates such mediation effects. This study contributes to brand literature in three aspects. First, consumer commitment to a brand community does not automatically translate into consumer brand commitment. Without cultivating consumer emotion or attachment, consumers in a brand community may not necessarily become brand committed or loyal. Second, brand identification may not lead to brand commitment. In essence, brand identification serves as a channel to express self-imagery, bringing consumer social value or symbolic utility. However, consumers likely buy what they like based on brand love rather than brand identification. For example, Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners build intimate relationships with the brand not only because they identify with the brand but also because they are attached to the brand (they love the brand). Therefore, brand identification without the accompanying emotion may not translate into brand commitment. Third, brand community characteristics may affect consumers’ brand identification and attachment. The results show that perceived community–brand similarity moderates the relationships both between brand community identification and brand identification and between brand community commitment and brand attachment, but not between brand community commitment and brand commitment. One explanation for these findings might be that the match between community characteristics and brand traits cause consumers to relate to the brand rather than their conation. 5.2. Managerial implications Brand management through the management of brand community relationships continues to be common in recent years. To manage these relationships effectively, companies must cultivate brand community identification and commitment. The study results suggest brand community identification and commitment lead to brand identification and attachment, respectively. Companies can nurture brand community development by providing resources (e.g., funds, staff, and place). For example, a specialized logo or a flag of a car club, a free web platform, or a promotional activity may help foster members’ identification with the car club. Second, companies should pay special attention to cultivating a cohesive brand community. Members want to share their brand experiences and confirm the values and establish their intimate relationships with others. To achieve these goals, companies should not only provide material assistance, but also deliver care and rewards to the brand community. Sharing consumers’ consumption experiences gratify, enrich, and enable them. Consumers become attached to both the community and the brand. Third, perceived community–brand similarity reinforces brand community's impact on brands. Companies should suggest and sponsor some activities for a brand community according to the special style, personality, feeling, and values of the brand. For example, brand community activities such as camping or cross-country racing reinforce brands such as Harley-Davidson, Jeep, and Land Cruiser, but not for Mercedes-Benz or BMW. 5.3. Limitations and further research Several study limitations suggest directions for future research. The first limitation exists in the sample characteristics. Over 97% of the responses came from male car club members. The narrow sample structure limits the finding's generalizability. The further research should consider more balanced samples and brand communities from different industries. Second, this study focuses on the one-way influence of brand communities on brand relationships without exploring the reverse influence. According to Algesheimer et al. (2005), brand relationship quality influences brand community identification. In other words, the relationships between brand communities and brands might be bidirectional. Consumers’ love for the brand might drive their brand community participation. Future research should employ a longitudinal design to capture brand community relationship dynamics.