Based on the theory of value co-creation, western scholars began to re-examine the role of brand managers, customers and other stakeholders in the brand building from a " co-creation” perspective. They put forward the core concept of brand co-creation, and regard it as a new branding paradigm. With the internet development and the rise of social media, virtual brand communities have become the important platform for customers to engage in brand co-creation. However, for the co-creation behavior of customers in virtual brand communities, domestic researches still revolve around the value co-creation in the field of production or consumption. They are rarely explained from the overall perspective of brand co-creation. Although foreign scholars have explored the process, modes, influencing factors and theoretical framework of customer engagement in brand co-creation, their researches basically adopt theoretical analysis or case study, with very few empirical researches. No scholars have systematically studied the effect of customer engagement in brand co-creation on brand performance in virtual brand communities and its mechanism. In fact, virtual brand communities exist because of the brands, and the interaction between enterprises and their customers and the interactions among customers all revolving around the brands. With these interactions, the meaning and value of the brands are created and enhanced. Therefore, customer engagement in value co-creation in virtual brand communities should be conceived as co-creation of brand value, and it is more appropriate to understand and explain the behavior of customer engagement in co-creation in virtual brand community from an integrated perspective of brand co-creation. In addition, customer engagement in brand co-creation in virtual brand communities contains both enterprise-initiated brand co-creation such as brand development, evaluation and promotion, and customer-spontaneous brand co-creation such as brand use, communication and experience sharing. In these two different types of brand co-creation, there are differences in the dominant position and initiative of the customers, which may have differences in brand performance. So based on the overall perspective of brand co-creation, and a questionnaire survey on the registered members of Xiaomi brand community（a virtual brand community of a famous cell-phone company in China）, this paper empirically examines the impacts and mechanisms of customer engagement in brand co-creation and different types of brand co-creation on brand loyalty in virtual brand communities. In the process, 489 valid samples are obtained to test our hypotheses. Based on the survey data, we firstly check the reliability and validity of measurement and then employ structural equation modeling and Bootstrap method to examine the proposed model. The results show that: there are significant differences in the impacts of customer engagement in enterprise-initiated brand co-creation and customer-spontaneous brand co-creation on brand loyalty. Specifically, the effect of enterprise-initiated brand co-creation on brand loyalty is not significant, but customer-spontaneous brand co-creation has a direct and significant positive impact on brand loyalty; customer-spontaneous brand co-creation not only influences brand loyalty directly but also influences brand loyalty through the mediating roles of brand knowledge and self brand connection. There are three paths in the mediating effects: customer-spontaneous brand co-creation influences brand loyalty through the mediating role of brand knowledge; customer-spontaneous brand co-creation influences brand loyalty through the mediating role of self brand connection; customer-spontaneous brand co-creation influences brand loyalty through the dual mediating roles of brand knowledge and self brand connection. This paper enriches and develops the theoretical results of value co-creation in the field of network environment and brand research, and provides important guidance for enterprises to operate and manage the virtual brand communities effectively.
How Does Customer Engagement in Brand Co-creation Promote Brand Loyalty? A study on the Influences and Mechanisms of the Types of Brand Co-creation Behavior on Brand Loyalty
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 40, Issue 05, pp. 84 - 98 (2018) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.2018.05.007
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Cite this article
Zhu Liye, Yuan Denghua, Zhang Hongming. How Does Customer Engagement in Brand Co-creation Promote Brand Loyalty? A study on the Influences and Mechanisms of the Types of Brand Co-creation Behavior on Brand Loyalty[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2018, 40(5): 84-98.