All posts by guudoo

The effects of brand communities on brand trust


Introduction

Having a social media based brand community (SMBBC) is becoming a vital part of having a successful business model with an active consumer group. Traditional ways of reaching customers are fading, while social media influence is increasing. The rise in social media comes with an ideal opportunity to build brand communities, since they often overlap with social media. Previous research has shown that brand communities based on social media influence relationships among customer and brand, product, trust and loyalty (Laroche et al, 2013). However, the research about the benefits and consequences of brand communities based on social media platforms is limited. This article develops a conceptual framework that shows how building blocks of a brand community established on social media can influence brand trust.

Strengths of the paper

The article clearly describes the role of different factors that have an impact on the building blocks of a brand community, for instance consumer relationships with product, brand, company and other consumers (McAlexander et al., 2002). Furthermore, they clearly describe the current main three research streams about brand communities. They also discuss that brand communities can be vastly different based on social contexts and forms, and that there for the outcomes of the communities are very different. After this, they mention the importance of trust for brands, which can be improved by decreasing information asymmetry, by giving more information about product and brand. This leads back perfectly to the benefits of SMBBCs. Also, the methodology used for this article is clearly described. They used an online questionnaire that was answered by people who were part of a brand community. The final sample consisted of 569 questionnaires with 284 different brand communities. The largest age range was 21-30-year-old people (51%), with about 80% of respondents saying that that they logged in to their social networking site once or multiple times a day, while 49% of respondents also checked for their personal brand community at least once per day. This seems like a very representative sample for the population. The hypothesis that followed were clearly described and elaborated on. The rejection of one of the hypothesis, that the customer-other customers relationship negatively influences brand trust, was explained by the lack of hierarchy that could influence trust in other members, which I found an interesting conclusion.

Weakness of the paper

The return of investment for social media and SMBCC’s is shortly discussed in the article, but only by discussing the challenges of determining this rate. They could have focused more on what kind of ROI’s there are for business social media usage, and also mention the key differences compared to traditional marketing. Also, they mention that consumers make strong relationships with different aspects of brand communities based on their primary consumption motivations, but which motivations are indicators of future behavior of consumers in a brand community? Also, they form a hypothesis that consumers with high engagement have stronger relationships with a brand than people with low engagement, but that was already clear from the literature research that was done in a previous chapter. Instead of this, they could have focused more on brand value impacting trust for example, since I think people will trust a firm with a high brand value more easily. Additionally, the 284 brand communities that were used for answering the questionnaire could have been specified more. Since the sample included so many different brand communities, I think it is important to conduct more specific studies across various product categories to find more insights that are linked to certain products.

Managerial Implications

One of the main marketing objectives for a company is often to gain consumers’ trust in their brand (Sirdeshmukh et al, 2002). Therefore, knowing if and how social media-based brand communities (SMBBCs) influence brand trust can be vital information. Consumers often have a need for a brand to feel ‘genuine’ before making a purchase, which is why a SMBBC can be the perfect tool for this by providing the interaction between customer and company. They clearly describe the importance of social media for brand communities, and that companies that use this to their advantage outperform other companies. There are five dimensions that make SMBBCs unique: social context, structure, scale, storytelling and affiliated brand communities. Studying these dimensions compared to previous brand communities is inevitable for managers to be sure that their company stays up to date.

Take away for researchers

The findings of the article show that customer-brand relationships add to brand trust through SMBBCs,  but more research has to be done about negative relationships between customers occurring and what effect this has on the brand community. Negative posts or comments have five times the effect of positive ones (Corstjens & Umblijs, 2012; Powers et al., 2012), so moderating the brand community might be necessary. The disadvantage of this is that removing posts on a social media page could be seen as a censorship move from the brand which decreases the trust of consumers, which should be researched in more detail.

References

Article used: Habibi, M. R., Laroche, M., & Richard, M. O. (2014). The roles of brand community and community engagement in building brand trust on social media. Computers in Human Behavior37, 152-161.

Laroche, M., Habibi, M. R., & Richard, M. O. (2013). To be or not to be in social media: How brand loyalty is affected by social media?. International Journal of Information Management33(1), 76-82.

Sirdeshmukh, D., Singh, J., & Sabol, B. (2002). Consumer trust, value, and loyalty in relational exchanges. Journal of marketing66(1), 15-37.

McAlexander, J. H., Schouten, J. W., & Koenig, H. F. (2002). Building brand community. Journal of Marketing, 66(1), 38–54

Powers, T., Advincula, D., Austin, M. S., Graiko, S., & Snyder, J. (2012). Digital and social media in the purchase decision process: A special report from the Advertising Research Foundation. Journal of Advertising Research, 52(4), 479–489.

 

 

Moov: Break plateaus with your personalized fitness coach


Introduction
Moov is one of the most innovating fitness wearable companies of today, by delivering the world’s most motivating and efficient fitness experience through a personalized fitness coach, based on artificial intelligence (Moov, 2018). Originally they were founded by three entrepreneurs with a feel for technology that had a same goal in life: get back in shape.

Efficiency criteria
Since there were already many companies competing in the fitness wearable industry, Moov had to find a segment of the market that shared a similar set of needs that had not been fulfilled yet, to provide a new value proposition for consumers. They did this by adding a new aspect to an already quite personalized product such as a Fitbit: training advice and tips based on artificial intelligence. Instead of just focusing on the amount of calories you burn, or the amount of steps you take in combination with a mobile application, Moov also gives you real-time feedback on the way you’re exercising. Whether it’s running, lifting weights or other activities, it will give you tips in order to improve your performance and remain injury free, which tailors experience to each consumer individually (Mobasher et al, 2000). By participating as a consumer, Moov will be able to better analyze your training and increase the overall consumer driven value, while also maintaining a quite personalized customer relationship. This joint profitability leads to maximized payoffs for both parties involved. The institutional arrangements and environment is hard to elaborate on, since Moov only interacts with the consumer directly, it has no other partnerships. One aspect of the institutional environment could be privacy of the users, but since Moove needs the data to be able to provide the best customer experience, users are probably okay with sharing their data.

The company is now working towards offering a platform of applications, specially made for the activities that are being tracked. They are continuously updating their wearable devices and coaching mechanisms to keep a leading edge on competition (Hardwick, 2017). Also, since Moov actively collect data from their users to improve their coaching technologies, they can also use this data for more insights about their users. This data can be seen as a key resource, since it can lead to further enhancement of their services, but also find new ways of providing value for their customers to increase lock-in.

Involving consumers
One of their first products consisted of an AI performance coach through a fitness tracker, which was an enormous success. Through the use of a crowdfunding page, they managed to reach their $40k goal within 90 minutes of the opening (Crook, 2014). One of the ways that Moov differentiated itself from competition, was by involving the consumers from the start of the project. They knew that identifying the right customer segment was not enough, but that active involvement of the consumer was necessary to come to the most value providing service possible (Kaulio, 1998). By using crowd sourcing as a tool for generating ideas for their new product and information pooling,  they made sure that their crowdfunding campaign was a success.

Not only have they found ways to gather funding for new projects from consumers, they also provide ways to interact with other users that use Moov. People can share their results with friends and people that are on the same level as them, while also keeping track of their progress. Furthermore, by using hashtags that are linked to Moov, users can link their photos to to the website to share it with others. Users of Moov can easily find each other through their Instagram accounts, and many people have used this as a way to stay motivated by keeping each other updated about their progress. By providing this platform to share and collaborate with other consumers, Moov can actively promote their product and service. One of the downfalls of the value proposition that Moov provides, is the constant need of data to be able to offer the best service possible. As long as people are okay with sharing their data, this should not become a problem, but it might be important for Moov to take this into account for their new products and services, when they further develop and enhance their business model. But until then, I invite you to give Moov a try to reach your fitness goals in 2018!

References:

Crook, J. (2014, February 28). Moov Fitness Tracker Passes Its $40K Crowdfunding Goal In 90 Minutes. Retrieved February 18, 2018, from https://techcrunch.com/2014/02/28/moov-fitness-tracker-passes-its-40k-crowdfunding-goal-in-90-minutes/

Hardwick, T. (2017, February 23). Moov Fitness Coaching Tracker App Receives Major Update. Retrieved February 18, 2018, from https://www.macrumors.com/2017/02/23/moov-fitness-coaching-tracker-app-update/

Kaulio, M. A. (1998). Customer, consumer and user involvement in product development: A framework and a review of selected methods. Total Quality Management, 9(1), 141-149.

Mobasher, B., Cooley, R., & Srivastava, J. (2000). Automatic personalization based on web usage mining. Communications of the ACM43(8), 142-151.

Moov (2018). Moov Fitness Coach. Retrieved February 18, 2018, from https://welcome.moov.cc/