Communication via social media offers consumers more opportunities to engage with brands. This expanded consumer engagement is regarded as an opportunity for brands to build and shape customer relationships. However, little is known about how engagement actually influences consumer-brand relationships. Based on social construction theories we introduce consumer embeddedness–defined as non-financial interactions of consumers with a brand or with other consumers in a brand context–as a mediator of consumer engagement’s brand effects.
Specifically, we propose that in addition to merely engaging consumers, firms need to ensure consumer embeddedness to achieve positive brand-related outcomes. This is based on the idea that “meaning is dependent on how humans make sense of social interaction” (Edvardsson et al. (2011, p. 329). Consumer embeddedness is therefore conceptualized by drawing from social construction theories. We propose that the relationship between consumer engagement and consumers’ brand-related attitudes and behavior is fully mediated by this new latent construct.
Several steps to develop and validate a scale that measures consumer embeddedness are reported. The results of an online survey combined with respondents’ actual engagement data from a car brands’ facebook page support the hypothesized mediation and thus suggest that consumer embeddedness is in fact necessary for consumer engagement to enhance brand relationships and drive purchase intentions. Our paper supports the idea of value-in-social-context and contributes to an enhanced understanding of marketing communication via social media.
- Social Interaction
- Social Medium
- Online Survey
- Latent Construct
- Purchase Intention
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