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The Role of Online Social Media in Brand-Consumer Engagement:
An Exploratory Study

Abstract Submitted to the Direct/Interactive Marketing Research Summit Proceedings

August 31, 2012

Andrew J. Rohm
Associate Professor, Marketing Department, College of Business Administration, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, arohm1@lmu.edu

George R. Milne
Professor, Marketing Department, Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, milne@isenberg.umass.edu

Velitchka Kaltcheva
Associate Professor, Marketing Department, College of Business Administration, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, velitchka.kaltcheva@lmu.edu

Researchers have noted the importance of generating more
…show more content…
In the following sections, we highlight the theoretical perspective on online engagement that guided the development of our social media diary, the data collection, analysis and results, as well as the implications from our findings.
Online Engagement
A central element of online social media is the extent to which it enables brands and consumers to connect, communicate, and engage. Brodie et al. (2011, p. 253) note that the concept of customer engagement is closely tied with the trend toward “interactive experience and value co-creation within marketing relationships.” Consumer engagement has been defined by the Advertising Research Foundation as the process of “turning on a prospective customer to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context” (Burns 2006), and both academic as well as industry researchers increasingly view engagement as an important construct in the study of brand-consumer relationships (e.g., Gambetti and Graffigna 2010; Haven 2007).
Compared to traditional views of brand-consumer engagement, online brand interactions are viewed as consisting of greater cognitive processing, heightened relevance and emotional experiences (Mollen and Wilson 2010), and greater advertising effectiveness (Calder, Malthouse, and Schadel 2009). Driven by the growth of online media, consumers are increasingly seeking, even expecting, a more involved role in the consumption process (Calder and

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