Prof. Dr. Michael Paul
Tuzovic, Sven () Kundenorientierte Vergütungssysteme im Relationship Bruhn, Manfred, Eichen, Falko, Hadwich, Karsten, & Tuzovic, Sven () in Educational Marketing: Transnational and Technological Strategies. . Tuzovic, Sven () The link between marketing instruments and customer perceptions. Journal Articles Customer Experiences throughout the Customer Journey, in: 25th International Colloquium on Relationship Marketing, Munich, GER. more efficient and effective marketing communication strategy, Bruhn, , p. 59 ff.). .. ). Literature: 1. Bruhn, Manfred. Relationship Marketing.
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Respondents usually refer to their own experience and knowledge when answering posts, or by giving references to different sources. An example of a grateful member: The suggestions above are great. The love of my life but don't tell my wife that please. You own it today or you own it next week, it'll still be around. Examples for the cognitive component and the special importance members attach to their community experience are: For example, users often express how valuable the contributions of other, knowledgeable members are and receive recognition of peers: I appreciate you taking the time to really read my question and answer it thoroughly.
I like this group, all you guys are awesome! Ultimately, members feel emotionally connected to their communities and accordant peers: Additionally, social network environments pave new ways for consumer learning; members can simply upload their work in the form of videos or photos, and provide or receive feedback from other knowledgeable and experienced users: I […] would like to get better.
If money were not an object, what products from Canon would you have in your kit? D wish me the best. Next, social enhancement, entertainment and enjoyment, as well as forming and retaining relationships Dholakia et al.
Ultimately, members also join brand-related online communities to give voice to their concerns. This finding corresponds to the work of Bhattacharya and Senwho argue that identification with a brand leads to an enforced motivation for stronger claim on this brand. Heterogeneity of embedded communities Although both sub-groups, Facebook fan page and group, show brand community characteristics, they differ in certain regards.
First distinctions already appear based on the descriptive analyses. Applications on fan pages often employ innovative marketing tools dedicated to contents such as social corporate responsibility, celebrity endorsement, user competitions, and others. Applications allowing users to share photos and videos are popular on both fan pages and groups. In relation to the brand community characteristics, the main differences refer to the perceived membership of the participants.
Individuals discuss and mention the key community marker, consciousness of kind, more frequently and much more in the group than on the fan page. Similarly, social identity, especially its cognitive and affective component, is also of higher relevance in the group. In the Canon group users form strong relationships; therefore, the degree of social relatedness is much higher than on the fan page.
However, due to the organization of events by the Canon marketing department, and promotion of those events, taking part in activities outside the online community is more common on the fan page. Finally, individuals help each other to a greater extent in the group, pointing to a higher moral responsibility; the Facebook group is a distinctly more efficient source of advice than the fan-page, as individuals respond faster, more thoroughly and fewer questions remain unanswered.
These differences of fan pages and groups also correspond to prior research on strengths of relationships in consumer communities.
In fan pages, activities related to the community's purpose are central, and consumers participate mainly due to utilitarian e.
Likewise, common identity implies that members perceive a commitment to the community's purpose or topic Prentice et al. Therefore, main causes of commitment to the group as a whole are social categorization, interdependence, and intergroup comparisons Ren et al.
In contrast, an increasing amount of consumers experience their beloved brands and products by using them with a group of brand community members who share close friendships and engage in regular social interactions.Transactional vs Relationship
Such groups are strongly socio-centric, and their members often have known each other for a longer time period. Furthermore, members may display higher levels of brand involvement and a stronger social identity than in network-based communities. Regarding the motivational drivers for the community participation, additional differences exist.
Individuals, who join the community to seek information, find posts of remarkably higher value in the group; they offer a wider array of knowledgeable message posters who frequently answer discussion threads. In contrast, a lot of posting takes place on the wall of the fan page, where requests easily get lost without being answered.
Social enhancement, however, is more important to fan page members, as they find more possibilities to serve their needs on fan pages; for example, a daily photo competition. Finally, discussions about company management are of minor importance in the Canon group; however, on the fan page criticism and discussions about brand management are frequent, pointing to stronger claim on the brand.
Moreover, on the company initiated Canon fan page members are aware of the presence of Canon management: Therefore, they see the fan page as a channel to convey their concerns and opinions to the management of their brand, and expect to receive company recognition and acknowledgment in return. These sub-group characteristics also result into different motivational drivers for participation in the accordant embedded community.
Discussion This paper aims to investigate the existence of brand communities embedded in a social network environment. Brand communities within social networks do exist and they classify into different sub-groups based on dissimilarities.
Contrary to generic virtual brand communities, members of embedded brand communities take two conscious decisions when joining the corresponding community: The key motivational antecedents for participation in the latter are: Overall, both of the explored sub-groups show brand community characteristics.
However, the strengths of these peculiarities differ. Specifically, the perceived membership due to consciousness of kind and social identity is more distinct in the group than on the fan page; in addition group members feel a higher moral responsibility and find better fulfillment of their need for information. The fan page, however, serves as a platform to convey concerns and suggestions to brand management and to receive social enhancement. Based on this results, the Facebook group, certainly states a clear brand community, showing strong value of all community markers, social identity, brand emotions, and the commercial character.
The fan page, on the other hand, seems to embody a weaker form of a brand community; in general, brand community characteristics are present but the perceived membership in form of consciousness of kind and social identity are less salient; in addition social relations and the support of peers are of less importance.
However, independent of the type of the sub-group, social networks offers spaces where brand communities may evolve. Theoretical implications By demonstrating the existence of brand communities in a social network environment, this study contributes to brand community, identity, and social network research.
Individuals interact with many social network members characterized by different interests, purposes and social identities. At the same time, they perceive shared consciousness of kind and a distinct social identity with certain peers; sub-group members share their enthusiasm for the same brand and interact regarding their object of interest. Consequently, consumers are members of both wider ranging and closer knit communities at the same time; they hold multiple memberships.
These findings are in accordance with recent research that illustrates complex connections of consumer to organizations, including relations to the firm and the physical branded product, as well as to a small friendship group and virtual community, where both connect to the organization in a chain of relationships Bagozzi et al. Furthermore, these findings represent a contribution to brand community research as different types of brand communities have thus far only been considered based on the size of the group or the initiation e.
The findings of this study present the strengths of main brand community characteristics as distinctive criteria, instead. Furthermore, the characteristic of embeddedness describes a new form of brand community.
Finally, this study validates the Muniz and O'Guinn brand community conceptualization in a completely different setting, namely in a social network environment.
Furthermore, brand communities embedded in social networks also represent an environment in which marketers can leverage identity synergy. Managerial implications For marketers the results of this research demonstrate the possibility to create brand communities without the enormous effort of building and owning online platforms, or promoting independent websites, etc.
Instead, using social networks offers brand management benefits: In addition, the findings help marketers choose which tools are more suitable to build brand communities within social network environments, and under which circumstances these tools should be used. As groups state true brand communities, they are more appropriate to build long-term relationships between and with groups of members. Furthermore, they appear to be more efficient in customer-to-customer based information exchange and learning.
In contrast, fan pages offer enormous communicational means and the possibility to reach a large audience fast. Finally, being aware of the reasons for participation, marketers have the possibility to directly correspond to the social network and enable customer to satisfy their need by the means of brand community membership.
In accordance to the findings of this study, Facebook independently further highlighted the differences of group and fan pages. In contrast, Facebook groups offer users to share things privately or publicly with a certain group of people Facebook.
Consequently, Facebook pages and groups are comparable to marketer-generated and consumer-generated brand communities Sung et al. Limitations and future research One possible topic of sub-groups embedded in a social network, is a certain brand. People declare themselves as a member or devotee of such a sub-group by joining. This study presents individuals who conduct a social categorization and become a member of a brand-related group or a fan page, being brand devotees. However, probably also other sub-groups within Facebook exist that are brand-related but not true brand communities; their participants lack in, for example, brand emotions and affective social identity; instead, they might only be superficially interested in the branded products, and consequently do not embody real brand community members.
The community under study has the highest degree of interactivity of all compared groups based on the Interbrand ranking. Finally, the processes of building a brand community within a social network represent an interesting field for future research, and could be approached by conducting a long term empirical study including different stages of such a community. Bagozzi for his thoughtful and valuable comments. The influence of C2C communications in online brand communities on customer purchase behavior.
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