Explaining Motivational Needs Through Positive Affect and Brand Tribalism: An Abstract
Smartphone communities have relational and social attributes that parallel brand tribes: they demonstrate augmented forms of value systems, brand enthusiasm, and defense mechanisms (Taute & Sierra, 2014). Mobile communications users have been examined as tribes in Europe (Jurisic & Acevedo, 2011) and in the USA (Taute & Sierra, 2014); yet, determinants and outcomes of smartphone users’ brand tribalism need further inspection. To help close this research gap and offer acuity to this sequential process, we conjecture that positive affect toward a smartphone brand (PosAFF) antecedes both components of brand tribalism (i.e., defense of the tribe – DEFENSE and positivity associated with being a member of a brand tribe – TribePOS). In turn, these tribe dimensions lead to individuals’ motivational need for power (NPOWER) and need for achievement (NACHIEVE). Students enrolled in marketing courses at a southwestern US university completed the questionnaire during regularly scheduled classes. The mean age of respondents (N = 190) is 21.63 years (SD = 1.60). Whites (60%), Hispanics (28%), and Blacks (7%) are represented. In terms of favorite smartphone, iPhone (74%) and Droid (23%) are noted most.
Estimation of the measurement model (34 items, 5 scales), confirms convergent and discriminant validity. With data pooling justified, the relationships were tested using SEM (LISREL 9.2). A COV matrix and MLE were used to estimate model parameters. Model estimation produced the following GOF statistics: χ2(518df) = 1889.51 (P = 0.00), (CFI) = 0.90, (GFI) = 0.63, and (RMSEA) = 0.11. The t statistic associated with six of the seven PC is significant at the P < 0.05 level or better. Specifically, PosAFF relates positively to DEFENSE (H1; PC = 0.54, t = 7.02) and TribePOS (H2; PC = 0.57, t = 6.40). In turn, DEFENSE relates positively to NPOWER (H3; PC = 0.26, t = 3.55) and negatively to NACHIEVE (H4; PC = −0.18, t = −2.21), while TribePOS is unrelated to NPOWER (H5; PC = −0.09, t = −1.35), but positively affects NACHIEVE (H6; PC = 0.19, t = 2.24). Lastly, NACHIEVE relates positively to NPOWER (H7; PC = 0.65, t = 7.30).
Belonging to a brand community or tribe is an aspect of consumers’ lives that they cherish, are proud of, and that boosts their self-worth, all which contribute to their motivational needs to succeed in life. Accordingly, our model demonstrates that the positive affect associated smartphone ownership relates positively to both dimensions of brand tribalism, which in turn, helps explain motivational needs. Specifically, defense of the tribe positively affects need for power, while positive brand tribalism favorably influences need for achievement. Beguilingly, this research proffers that being a member of a brand tribe is but a platform in the development and progression of the motivational need for power and need for achievement. Additionally, it emerges that a consumer’s need for achievement drives their motivational need for power.