Online brand communities: The key to making them succeed
Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference
School of Business and Law
In an internationally competitive market a company’s brand is its most valuable asset; increasing and retaining loyal customers is key to long-term success. Forging binding relationships between consumers and their brand is therefore of critical importance to organisations. Online Brand Communities (OBCs) effectively facilitate such relationships and provide companies with reliable marketing intelligence to gain competitive advantage. Furthermore, it is this brand focus that differentiates OBCs from generic online communities. This study investigates both individual and community level attributes that influence members’ participative behaviour and sense of belonging (SOB) in OBCs, as these factors are considered critical for retaining members and sustaining the community. We used a mixed methods approach, and incorporated several theoretical concepts into one structural model. Findings from this new research have extended existing theory related to online consumer behaviour, providing valuable implications for marketers with regard to understanding interactive user behaviour specifically in an OBC environment.