Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 634–653 | Cite as

The influence of C2C communications in online brand communities on customer purchase behavior

  • Mavis T. Adjei
  • Stephanie M. Noble
  • Charles H. Noble
Original Empirical Research

Abstract

Increasingly, consumers use the internet as a vehicle for pre-purchase information gathering. While technical specifications and potentially biased selling points can be gleaned from corporate web sites, online brand communities are becoming essential conduits for the customer-to-customer (C2C) sharing of product information and experiences. This study develops and tests a model of online C2C communications in developing desirable online brand community outcomes. Two studies were used to test the model. In Study 1, a netnography technique was employed and conversations between brand community members were coded and combined with survey data to test the research model. In Study 2 an experiment was conducted to further test the sequence of events in our base model. Our findings show that online brand communities are effective tools for influencing sales, regardless of whether these communities reside on company-owned or independently-owned websites. In addition, we demonstrate interesting asymmetrical effects, whereby the positive information shared by community members has a stronger moderating influence on purchase behavior than negative information. Further, we find that online brand communities are effective customer retention tools for retaining both experienced and novice customers. These findings highlight the need for all firms to carefully consider their online community strategies.

Keywords

Customer-to-customer communication Online brand communities Information exchange 

References

  1. Algesheimer, R., Dholakia, U. M., & Herrman, A. (2005). The social influence of brand community: evidence from European car clubs. Journal of Marketing, 69, 19–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Altman, I., & Taylor, D. (1973). Social penetration: The development of interpersonal relationships. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, J. C., & Gerbing, D. W. (1988). Structural equation modeling in practice: a review and recommended two-step approach. Psychological Bulletin, 103(3), 411–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Armstrong, S. J., & Overton, T. S. (1977). Estimating non-response bias in mail surveys. Journal of Marketing Research, 24(3), 396–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ba, S., & Pavlou, P. A. (2002). Evidence of the effect of trust building technology in electronic markets: price premiums and buyer behavior. MIS Quarterly, 26(3), 243–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Balasubramanian, S., & Mahajan, V. (2001). The economic leverage of the virtual community. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 5, 103–138.Google Scholar
  7. Beatty, S. E., & Smith, S. M. (1987). External search effort: an investigation across several product categories. Journal of Consumer Research, 14, 83–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bem, S. L. (1981). Gender schema theory. Psychological Review, 88(4), 354–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Berger, C. R. (1987). Communicating under uncertainty. In M. E. Rolloff & G. R. Miller (Eds.), Interpersonal processes: New directions in communication research (pp. 39–62). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. Berger, C., & Calabrese, R. J. (1975). Some explorations in initial interactions and beyond: towards a developmental theory of interpersonal communication. Human Communication Research, 1, 99–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bhattacharya, C. B., & Sen, S. (2003). Consumer–company identification: a framework for understanding consumers’ relationships with companies. Journal of Marketing, 67, 76–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bolton, R. N., Lemon, K. N., & Verhoef, P. C. (2004). The theoretical underpinnings of customer asset management. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 32(3), 271–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brown, S., Kozinets, R. V., & Sherry, J. F., Jnr. (2003). Teaching old brands new tricks: retro branding and the revival of brand meaning. Journal of Marketing, 67(3), 19–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carlson, J. R., & Zmud, R. W. (1999). Channel expansion theory and the experiential nature of media richness perceptions. Academy of Management Journal, 42, 153–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Crosby, L. A., & Stephens, N. J. (1987). Effects of relationship marketing on satisfaction, retention and prices in the life insurance industry. Journal of Marketing Research, 24, 404–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Crosby, L. A., Evans, K. R., & Cowles, D. (1990). Relationship quality in services selling: an interpersonal influence perspective. Journal of Marketing, 54(3), 68–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Daft, R. L., & Lengel, R. H. (1984). Information richness: A new approach to manager information processing and organization design. In Staw Barry & L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in organization behavior (Vol. 6, pp. 191–233). Greenwich: JAI.Google Scholar
  18. Daft, R. L., & Lengel, R. H. (1986). Organizational information requirements, media richness and structural design. Management Science, 32, 554–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dellaert, B. G., & Stremersch, S. (2005). Marketing mass-customized products: striking a balance between utility and complexity. Journal of Marketing Research, 42, 219–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. De Wulf, K., Odekerken-Schroder, G., & Iacobucci, D. (2001). Investments in consumer relationships: a cross-country and cross-industry exploration. Journal of Marketing, 65, 33–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Doney, P. M., & Cannon, J. P. (1997). An examination of the nature of trust in buyer-seller relationships. Journal of Marketing, 61, 35–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hagel, J., & Armstrong, A. G. (1997). Net gain: Expanding markets through virtual communities. Boston: Harvard Business School.Google Scholar
  24. Johnson, E. J., & Payne, J. W. (1985). Effort and accuracy in choice. Management Science, 31(3), 395–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory: an analysis of decisions under risk. Econometrica, 47, 263–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kelley, H. H., & Thibaut, J. W. (1978). Interpersonal relations: A theory of interdependence. New York: Wiley. 1978.Google Scholar
  27. Kozinets, R. V. (2002). The field behind the screen: using netnography for marketing research in online communities. Journal of Marketing Research, 39(1), 61–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kozinets, R. V. (2007). Brandthroposophy—on marketing, media, and technoculture. (accessed Feb 20, 2008), [available at http://www.kozinets.net].
  29. Marketing Science Institute. (2008). Research Priorities, 2008–2010 Guide to MSI Research Programs and Procedures.Google Scholar
  30. Martin, C. L., & Clark, T. (1996). Networks of customer-to-customer relationships in marketing. In D. Iacobucci (Ed.), Networks in marketing (pp. 342–366). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  31. Mohr, J., Fisher, R., & Nevin, J. R. (1996). Collaborative communication in interfirm relationships: moderating effects of integration and control. Journal of Marketing, 60, 103–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mohr, J. & Nevin, J. R. (1990). Communication strategies in marketing channels: a theoretical perspective. Journal of Marketing, 54(4), 36–51.Google Scholar
  33. Mohr, J., & Spekman, R. (1994). Characteristics of partnership success: partnership attributes, communication behavior and conflict resolution techniques. Strategic Management Journal, 15(2), 135–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mohr, J., & Sohi, R. S. (1995). Communication flows in distribution channels: impact on assessments of communication quality and satisfaction. Journal of Retailing, 71(4), 393–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Morgan, R. M., & Hunt, S. D. (1994). The commitment-trust theory of relationship marketing. Journal of Marketing, 58(3), 20–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Muniz, A. M., Jr., & O’Guinn, T. C. (2001). Brand community. Journal of Consumer Research, 27, 412–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Muniz, A. M., Jr., & Schau, H. J. (2005). Religiosity in the abandoned apple Newton brand community. Journal of Consumer Research, 31(4), 737–747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Netemeyer, R. G., & Bearden, W. O. (1992). A comparative analysis of two models of behavioral intention. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 20(1), 49–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Noble, C. H., Sinha, R. K., & Kumar, A. (2002). Market orientation and alternative strategic orientations: a longitudinal assessment of performance implications. Journal of Marketing, 66, 25–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Parks, M. R., & Adelman, M. B. (1983). Communication networks and the development of romantic relationships: an expansion of uncertainty reduction theory. Human Communication Research, 10(1), 55–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ping, R. A. (1995). A parsimonious estimating technique for interaction and quadratic latent variables. Journal of Marketing Research, 32, 336–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Punj, G. N., & Staelin, R. (1983). A model of consumer information search behavior for new automobiles. Journal of Consumer Research, 9, 366–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Putrevu, S., & Lord, K. R. (1994). Comparative and noncomparative advertising: attitudinal effects under cognitive and affective involvement conditions. Journal of Advertising, 23, 77–90.Google Scholar
  44. Rollof, M. E., & Miller, G. R. (1987). Interpersonal processes: New directions in communication research (Vol. 14). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  45. Schau, H. J., Muñiz, A. M. Jr., & Arnould, E. J. (2009). How brand community practices create value. Journal of Marketing.Google Scholar
  46. Sirdeshmukh, D., Singh, J., & Sabol, B. (2002). Consumer trust, value, and loyalty in relational exchanges. Journal of Marketing, 66, 15–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Thompson, S. A., & Sinha, R. K. (2008). Brand communities and new product adoption: the influence and limits of oppositional loyalty. Journal of Marketing, 72, 65–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Verhoef, P. C., Frances, P. H., & Donkers, B. (2002). Changing perceptions and changing behavior in customer relationships. Marketing Letters, 13(2), 121–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Xue, F., & Phelps, J. (2004). Internet-facilitated consumer-to-consumer communication: the moderating role of receiver characteristics. International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, 1(2), 121–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Weiss, A. M., Lurie, N. H., & MacInnis, D. J. (2008). Listening to strangers: whose responses are valuable, how valuable are they, and why? Journal of Marketing Research, 45, 425–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Williams, R. L., & Cothrel, J. (2000). Four smart ways to run online communities. Sloan Management Review, 41(4), 81–91.Google Scholar
  52. Wyer, R. S., & Gordon, S. E. (1982). The recall of information about persons and groups. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 18, 128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mavis T. Adjei
    • 1
  • Stephanie M. Noble
    • 2
  • Charles H. Noble
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Marketing, College of Business and AdministrationSouthern Illinois University CarbondaleCarbondaleUSA
  2. 2.Marketing Department, School of Business AdministrationUniversity of MississippiUniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations