Identifying customer evangelists
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Place of Publication
Bingley, United Kingdom
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Arts and Humanities
Purpose - Industry publications abound with tips on how to create and nurture customer evangelism. Scholarly publications note the effects of evangelism to firms. Consultants promote evangelism creation as part of their skill set. Yet the existence customer evangelism and its effects remain unsupported by empirical evidence. The purpose of this paper is to quantitatively explore customer evangelism. Methodology/approach - This paper takes one of the first steps towards empirical analysis of customer evangelism by using a formative composite latent variable model to identify customer evangelists from a survey population. The authors then compare customer evangelists against non-customer evangelists on key characteristics, as per the claims in the qualitative literature, to verify the accuracy of the selection model. Findings - The analysis demonstrates that key claims in the qualitative literature in regard to customer evangelists are supported by quantitative edata in this study, namely that customer evangelists are focused on authenticity, cultishness and sharing knowledge, and have a deep emotional and spiritual connection to the brand. They also have higher intentions to purchase the product in future than do non-customer evangelists. However, other claims in the qualitative literature such as that customer evangelists are more socially oriented, knowledge-seeking, experientially oriented or idealistic than are non-customer evangelists are not supported by the data in this study, or are inconclusive. Originality/value of paper - This study is one of the first to attempt to empirically identify customer evangelists, and is part of a movement to study consumer religiosity in an empirical context. This study paves the way for further empirical research into customer evangelism, consumer religiosity and consumer collectivism.