Monday, June 29, 2015

New study finds social media engagement leads to strong brands

A new piece of research, conducted by Simon Hudson and three researchers from the Moore School of Business, has found strong support for the use of social media in strengthening relationships between consumers and brands. The paper, just accepted for publication in the International Journal of Research in Marketing, describes how the authors conducted three studies to explore how individual and national differences influence the relationship between social media use and customer brand relationships. The first study surveyed customers in France, the U.K. and U.S. and compared those who engage with their favorite brands via social media with those who do not. The findings indicated that social media use was positively related with brand relationship quality and the effect was more pronounced with high anthropomorphism perceptions (the extent to which consumers’ associate human characteristics with brands). Two subsequent experiments further validated these findings and confirmed that cultural differences, specifically uncertainty avoidance, moderated these results. The results offer cross-national support for the proposition that engaging customers via social media is associated with higher consumer-brand relationships and word of mouth communications particularly when consumers anthropomorphize the brand they engage with. The paper will appear early next year in special issue of the journal called ‘Branding in a Digitally Empowering World’.

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