Unforgettable brands: image heritage and consumer engagement in online communities
Purpose of the paper: The paper identifies a link between the consumers’ image heritage and consumer engagement towards brand and community. This objective is focused on a virtual brand community, in the context of non-grocery retailing.
Methodology: A simple random sample was extracted from the Italian online community of Leroy Merlin. Data was collected through 100 Skype interviews. The collected data has been submitted to bivariate analysis.
Findings: There is a noticeable dependence between image heritage and consumer brand engagement, as well as between image heritage and consumer community engagement.
Research limits: Chi-square value, that verifies the relationship between constructs, depends on the sample size. Perspectives of other relevant stakeholders are not adopted. Online brand communities, created by firms, are the only ones to be investigated. Generalizing findings is another limit.
Practical implications: It is not possible to engage the consumer if brand managers ignore or underestimate a planned management of image heritage. To engage the consumer means to discover, explore, enhance, and preserve the heritage image.
Originality of the paper: This paper introduces the Consumer Image Heritage Engagement (CIHE), that is a synthesis of the starting constructs. An integrated framework is proposed in order to effectively and efficiently manage the CIHE.
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