Brand Communities: Loyal to the Community or the Brand?
European Journal of Marketing, 47 (1/2): 93-114. 2013
22 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 1, 2010
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate empirically the relative emphasis accorded by members of a brand community to identification with that community and identification with the brand-owner, and thereby close a gap in the literature to date.
Design/methodology/approach – Based on a review of the literature relating to identification, loyalty, and potentially mediating brand-related constructs, a cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey was carried out at a brandfest organised by a major European motorcycle manufacturer. Data collected from 256 respondents were analysed by structural equation modelling, testing seven hypothesised causal links.
Findings – Brand loyalty is primarily influenced by identification with the brand community, through the mediating role of brand affect.
Research limitations/implications – The findings require confirmation in other settings and industry sectors before they can be generalised with confidence, but point to several fruitful research directions.
Practical implications – Brand strategists have new evidence to guide allocation of effort and resources to the effective cultivation and maintenance of brand loyalty.
Originality/value – The study makes an original contribution, in a real-world setting, to the understanding of how members of a brand community relate to the brand, and of how their brand loyalty is activated.
Keywords: Brand communities, Brand loyalty, Social identification, Motorcycles, Europe, Customer behaviour, Brand management
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation