Conference PaperPDF Available


Rodoula H. Tsiotsou, University of Macedonia, Greece
The paper examines whether consumers having a relationship with a brand are more willing
to form relationships with other consumers and if these two types of relationships contribute
to consumers’ brand loyalty. The results suggest there is a sequence of effects with the
consumer-brand relationships influencing the consumers’ tribal behavior which in turn affects
their brand loyalty.
Loyalty is considered a fundamental element for any longitudinal relationship and therefore,
it has been positioned at the center of contemporary brand management. Nowadays,
businesses are implementing various strategies and tools to build loyalty with their consumers
such as consumer experience management (CEM) and customer relationship management
(CRM). Consumer experience management (CEM) is considered an effective strategy for
gaining loyal customers (Meyer and Schwager 2007). The purpose of consumer experience
management is to ensure that every consumer’s contact or interaction with the firm is positive
so that it results in satisfaction (Goldsmith 2011). A consumer experience is considered
successful when “a customer finds (it) unique, memorable and sustainable over time” (Pine
and Gilmore 1998, p. 12).
Customer relationship management (CRM) is being touted as another key technique
for creating loyal relationships with consumers. As important components of CRM, loyalty or
reward programs have been used as tools for building consumer loyalty in services (Wirtz et
al. 2007). Rewards or incentives play a significant role in driving future consumer behavior,
although they depend on the consumers level of satisfaction and ties with a firm. Research
shows that strong consumer-brand relationships are required when using rewards/incentive
(Wirtz and Chew 2002) and trying to develop brand loyalty (Tsiotsou 2011).
CEM and CRM have two common characteristics: they focus on consumer
satisfaction and they emphasize as a prerequisite the consumer-brand relationships. However,
nowadays, consumers do not only develop relationships with the brands but with other
consumers as well because of the brands (Veloutsou 2009). Both types of relationships are
important for brands and their managers (Schau et al. 2009) and should be taken into account
when developing either CEM or CRM strategies. For example, brand relationships and
interpersonal relationships have been proposed in the literature as the antecedents of
consumer experience (Palmer 2010).
The consumer-to consumer relationships are referred in the literature as brand
communities, brand sub-cultures and brand tribes (Veloutsou 2009). Consumer online and/or
offline clubs/brand communities/brand tribes have been employed by companies as a means
of creating loyalty (Roos et al. 2005). However, this aspect of consumer-to-consumer
relationships because of the brand and around the brand has attracted limited research interest
and managerial attention.
Therefore, the purpose of the present study is to examine both, the role of consumer-
brand relationships and brand tribal behavior in developing brand loyalty. Previous studies
have focused either on the role of consumer-brand relationships (Algesheimer et al. 2005;
Tsiotsou 2011) or on the effect of consumer communities/tribes in building loyalty (Roos et
al. 2005; Hur et al. 2011). In terms of consumer groups, this study differs from previous
endeavors in the type of brand communities examined. Roos et al. (2005) studied through 44
in-depth interviews the members of a telecommunications club that was developed by the
company in a formal manner. The club required membership subscription and provided
various rewards/incentives to its members. Hur et al. (2011) studied online brand
communities and gathered data from 200 female consumers. This study examines more loose
offline relationships between consumers (called tribal behavior) that are freely developed by
the consumers themselves and do not require any formal subscription.
The paper is organized as follow. First the conceptual model and research hypotheses
are presented. Then, the method and analysis of the study are explained. Finally the paper
concludes with the findings discussion and implications along with the study limitations and
future research recommendations.
Developing loyalty between companies and consumers is considered central to business
success. Firms are focusing on brand loyalty strategies because they create entry barriers to
competitors, and generate greater sales and profits. Research shows that brand loyalty has a
direct effect on reduced marketing costs, increased new customers (Aaker 1991), favorable
word of mouth (Dick and Basu 1994) and is good predictor of brand equity (Chandhuri
1999). Moreover, loyal consumers are less vulnerable to competitors’ actions (Dick and Basu
1994; Ballester and Aleman 2001) and less price sensitive (Birgelen et al. 1997).
Loyalty refers to “a deeply held commitment to re-buy or re-patronize a preferred
product/service consistently in the future, thereby causing repetitive same-brand or same
brand-set purchasing, despite situational influences and marketing efforts have the potential
to cause switching behavior” (Oliver 1999, p. 34). Several antecedents of brand loyalty have
been proposed in the literature. Brand attachment (Thomson et al. 2005; Tsiotsou 2011),
brand trust (Chaudhuri and Holbrook 2001; Morgan and Hunt 1994; Tsiotsou 2011)
perceived risk, inertia, habit, involvement and satisfaction (Rundle-Theile and Bennet 2001)
are only a few found in the literature.
The proposed model (Figure 1) supports that the relationships consumer develop with
the brands along with the relationships they form with other consumers lead in the
development of brand loyalty. Thus, loyalty is seen as a sequential process where consumers
become related to the brand first and then, to other consumers who follow and support this
brand. Following, the hypotheses of the study are presented whereas the proposed
relationships among the constructs are shown in Figure 1.
The Antecedents of Brand Loyalty
The consumer-brand relationships are very important for companies because, as recent
research indicates, a strong emotional attachment with the brand indicates a brand with high
brand equity (Christodoulides et al. 2006). According to Blackston (1992) consumer-brand
relationship is a combination of cognitive, emotional, behavioral processes that occur
between consumers and brands. Veloutsou (2007) supports that consumer-brand relationships
consist of an emotional and an informational aspect. Brands may communicate their offers to
customers in an individual or mass manner, while customers can provide feedback and brands
can react to that input .
The interpersonal relationship metaphor has been used to in the literature to explain
the consumer-brand relationships. According to this notion, individuals form relationships
with brands in a similar manner that they initiate and nurture relationships with other
individuals (Fournier 1998; O’Malley and Tynan 2000). Thus, consumers affectively bond
with specific brands to form brand relationships (Fournier 1998). Sometimes the relationship
is so strong that brands have fanatical consumers demonstrating emotional attachments such
as feelings of passion and love, intimacy and dedication towards the brands they have
decided to follow. The attachment is so strong that some may express extreme, addictive and
compulsive behaviors (Chung et al., 2008; Tsiotsou and Goldsmith 2011).
Aaker (1997) suggests that the development of a strong brand relationship between
consumers and brands should be the ultimate goal in branding because consumer-brand
relationship builds up brand loyalty. A number of empirical studies support a direct link
between consumer-brand relationships and brand loyalty (Fournier 1998; Park and Lee 2005;
Kressmann et al. 2006). Fournier (1998) supports that consumers do have relationships with
tangible goods/brands and these relationships impact their loyalty for these goods/brands.
Recent studies show that the emotional attachment consumers develop with brands can lead
to brand loyalty through an hierarchy of effects (Tsiotsou 2011). Therefore, it is hypothesized
H1: Brand relationships are positively related to brand loyalty.
Brand trust has been conceptualized as ‘the willingness of the average consumer to
rely on the ability of the brand to perform its stated functions’ (Chaudhuri and Holbrook
2001, p. 82) and exists “when one party has confidence in the exchange partner’s reliability
and integrity” (Morgan and Hunt 1994, p.23). Trust involves a “calculative process” based on
the ability of a brand to continue to meet its promises and on an estimation of the rewards
gained by remaining in a relationship in terms of the costs involved (Doney and Cannon
1997). It is perceived as a process that is carefully considered (Chaudhuri and Holbrook
2001). The link between brand trust and brand loyalty results from the notion that trust can
create relational exchanges that are highly valued (Morgan and Hunt 1994). Research
supports that brand trust impact consumers’ brand commitment, even more than overall
satisfaction (Ballester and Aleman 2001). Moreover, brand trust is linked directly to purchase
and attitudinal loyalty with the brand (Chaudhuri and Holbrook 2001; Tsiotsou 2011).
Therefore, based on the above reasoning, it is hypothesized that:
H2: Brand trust is positively related to brand loyalty
Brands act as agents that facilitate the development of relationships amongst
consumers. Nowadays, it is common for individuals who admire a brand to interact around
this brand and even join groups which have the brand as a central point. These brand
followers engage in group actions to achieve collective goals and/or to express mutual
sentiments and commitments (Stokburger-Sauer 2010).
In the literature various terms are used to describe these groups, named brand
communities, brand sub-cultures of consumption or brand tribes (Fournier 1998; Cova and
Pace 2006; Bazaki and Veloutsou 2010). This paper approaches brand communities as formal
brand related groups which consist of individuals who join the group willingly and
acknowledge their membership of the group. Brand tribes on the other hand are groups of
individuals that exhibit tribal behavior; participants have not necessarily joined the group in
some sort of formal manner, but they are demonstrating the behavior (Bazaki and Veloutsou
2010). Therefore, brand tribes have a wider membership than brand communities. Although
brand tribes are not always so formal, their participants often have a sense of togetherness
and belonging (Hamilton and Hewer 2010).
Tribal behavior can be conceptualized as collective memory, brand tribe identification
reference group acceptance, and brand tribe engagement (Tsiotsou and Veloutsou 2012).
Collective memory refers to the brand knowledge the consumers are developing and their
willingness to share this knowledge with other group members (Veloutsou and Moutinho
2009). Brand tribe identification is the perceived attachment of an individual to other brand
supporters (Algesheimer et al. 2005) while reference group acceptance is the perceived
approval of brand related activities in which an individual participates conducted by other
people in their reference group (Veloutsou and Moutinho 2009). Brand tribe engagement is
the degree of motivation in active participation in the brand group related activities
(Algesheimer et al., 2005).
In line with Roos et al. (2005), the function of tribal group participation is perceived
as a sign of commitment from the consumer perspective and therefore loyalty to a brand.
Recent evidence suggests that consumers belonging in brand groups (e.g. brand clubs or
online communities) remain more loyal to the brand (Roos et al., 2005; Hur et al. 2011).
Thus, it is expected that individual intending to continue engaging in brand tribal behavior
should also try to remain loyal to the brand. In line with this reasoning, it is hypothesized
H3: Tribal behavior intentions are positively related to brand loyalty.
The Antecedents of Tribal Behavior Intentions and Tribal Behavior
Recent empirical evidence suggests that the more active members of the brand tribe will also
like to remain in that group for a longer period of time (Algesheimer et al. 2005). Moreover,
Veloutsou and Tsiotsou (2011) have shown that consumers being identified with and actively
engaged in a brand tribe are more likely to have intentions to continue their tribal behavior.
Thus, it is expected that:
H4: Tribal behavior expressed as (a) collective memory, (b) reference group
acceptance, (c) tribal engagement and (d) tribal identification is positively related to tribal
behavior intentions.
Consumer’s relationship with the brand is an influential antecedent to integration
(Muniz and O’Guinn 2001; McAlexander et al. 2002) and identification with the brand group
(Algesheimer et al. 2005). The link between brand relationship satisfaction (Algesheimer et
al. 2005) and community participation has been previously verified in the literature.
Moreover, Veloutsou and Tsiotsou (2011) have shown that brand relationships have an effect
on tribe members’ collective memory and identification with the tribe. Based on the above
research findings, it is expected that consumers should have developed trusted relationships
with a brand before they become involved in brand-related groups (e.g., brand tribes).
Therefore, it is hypothesized that:
H5: Brand relationships are positively related to tribal behavior expressed as (a)
collective memory, (b) reference group acceptance, (c) tribal engagement, and (d) tribal
Brand Trust as Antecedent of Brand Relationships
Brand trust constitutes an important construct in marketing because it affects consumers’
positive and favorable attitudes, and results in brand commitment (Ballester and Aleman
2001), an expression of successful relationships between consumers and brands. Based on the
commitment-trust theory, Morgan and Hunt (1994) consider trust as a key variable in
developing and maintaining enduring and highly valued brand relationships. Therefore, it is
hypothesized that:
H6: Brand trust is positively related to brand relationships
The target population for this research was soccer fans living in a south European country.
Professional sports teams are considered today as strong and unique brands (Buhler,
Heffernan and Hewson 2007), with specific consumer-brand associations (Tsiotsou 2012).
The sport industry and especially soccer, is such that their supporters are likely to develop
strong relationships with both their team and other team supporters, demonstrating tribal
The survey research method has been used in order to collect data for the study. The
questionnaire consisted of multi-item measures for each construct. The scales have been used
before in the literature showing acceptable levels of reliability (Algesheimer et al. 2005;
Veloutsou and Moutinho 2009; Tsiotsou and Veloutsou 2012), as presented in Table 1. All
items in the final instrument are anchored by Strongly Disagree (1) to Strongly Agree (5).
Using convenience sample, student volunteers acted as field researchers to collect the data for
the study. They were instructed to recruit non-student respondents. This procedure resulted to
320 completed usable questionnaires. The majority of the sample consisted of males (51%).
In relation to age, the majority of the participants were between 16 and 25 years old (53%),
41% were between 26 and 50 years old and 6% were older than 51 years old. Regarding their
education, 56% held a bachelor’s degree while 40% were employed full time.
Confirmatory Factor Analysis
Because the measures of the study have been previously developed and used, a confirmatory
factor analysis (CFA) tested the measurement model and then, structural equation modeling
(SEM) tested the theorized model (Figure 1).
The initial items used to measure the eight latent constructs (43 items) were subjected
to Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) using LISREL 8.52. Table 1 presents the final
measurement model for the exogenous and the endogenous variables of the study. The
revised measurement model consisted of 30 items and was found to fit the data well with a
chi-square goodness of fit index of 988.76 and 406 degrees of freedom, ratio χ2 / d.f.=2.4,
p<.000). Moreover, the fit indexes values met or exceeded the critical values for good model
fit (RMSEA = 0.07, NFI = 0.90, CFI = 0.93, IFI=0.03).
Next, composite reliability (CR) assess the internal consistency of the model. The
calculations of composite reliability (CR) and average variance extracted (AVE) used the
procedures recommended by Fornell and Larker (1981). As shown on Table 1 all the
composite reliabilities for the seven multi-item scales ranged from 0.85 to 0.96, indicating
acceptable levels of reliability for the constructs. Moreover, the AVEs ranged between 0.63
and 0.74, well above the recommended .50 level (Bagozzi and Yi 1988).
The measurement model was tested for evidence of convergent and discriminant
validity using the factor loadings and the Φ matrix. The loadings of the observed variables
ranged from 0.71 to 0.93, and all were positive and significant at the 0.05 level (the lowest t-
value = 14.41). The item loadings indicate that the observed variables were explained by the
latent variables and provided evidence of convergent validity. To test discriminant validity
the AVE score for each construct was compared against the shared variance with the other
latent constructs. The AVE scores were larger than the shared variance with the other latent
constructs, providing evidence of discriminant validity.
Testing the Structural Model
After the preliminary calculations, the analysis continued using structural equation modeling
(SEM) by employing Maximum Likelihood (ML), and the statistical package LISREL 8.52.
The proposed model (Figure 1) had three non significant paths and did not fit the data well
with a chi square value of 1464.77 with 422 degrees of freedom (ratio χ2/df=3.5, p<.00);
RMSEA=.09, NNFI = 0.84, IFI=0.88, CFI = 0.88. Two paths were non-significant and were
omitted in the model while four paths suggested by the modification indices were added
because they were in line with the related literature. The new model had a much better fit
with a chi square value of 1080.17 with 422 degrees of freedom (ratio χ2/df=2.6, p<.00);
RMSEA=.07, NNFI = 0.92, IFI=0.92, CFI = 0.92. With respect to the explained variance, the
proposed variables explained 84% of the variance on Brand Loyalty and 88% of the variance
on Tribal Behavior Intentions.
Nowadays, brand managers aim to develop stable and strong relationships with their
consumers because these relationships can protect product providers from damage potentially
caused by an occasional brand failure or poor brand performance (Berry 1995). Furthermore,
a customer-firm relationship may act as a barrier to its termination because consumers gain
several benefits through a long-term relationship (e.g., economic and psychological benefits,
emotional and social bonds, customization and personalization of services) (Colgate et al.
The study investigated the effects of the relationships consumers build up with brands
on an individual level along with the relationships they develop with other consumers around
a brand on a group level on brand loyalty. The findings show that brand loyalty is no longer
the outcome of only the relationships consumers develop with brands but also of the
relationships consumers develop with other consumers because of the brand. In particular, the
results suggest that the individual relationship with a brand will directly influence brand
loyalty and indirectly through certain tribal behaviors such as collective memory and the
current engagement in brand tribal activities. Moreover, tribal behaviors such as reference
group acceptance and brand tribe identification will influence consumers’ future intentions to
engage in tribal activities. In turn, intentions to participate in future tribal activities have a
direct effect on brand loyalty. The findings also support once again the direct link between
brand trust and brand loyalty.
Moreover, the study shows the sequence of effects of these two types of relationships.
First, consumers need to develop strong relationships with the brands and then, to develop
relationships with other consumers who share the same values, rituals and language.
Managerially speaking, the study shows that in order to develop brand loyalty,
managers should not only focus on developing strong consumer-brand relationships but
encourage consumer-to-consumer interactions around the brand for which they should aim to
develop brand tribes. Marketing managers should try to leverage their consumer-brand
relationships and transform them into consumer-to-consumer relationships in order to
develop brand loyalty. The marketers need to recognize consumer-brand relationships and
consumer-to-consumer relationships as two important predictors of brand loyalty.
Thus, in order to build up brand loyalty, first, brand managers should make every
effort to create positive consumerbrand interactions and encourage a strong emotional bond
between the consumer and the brand. Then, they need to promote the development of
relationships amongst consumers around the brand in a formal or informal manner.
Developing online and offline brand groups such as brand communities, brand clubs and
brand tribes is an easy way for initiating consumer-to-consumer relationships. However, in
order for these groups to be effective, consumers should be identified with them and its
members and feel a need to connect with each other in the context of the brand’s
consumption. Sharing information amongst brand members and providing the opportunity to
the consumers to express their personality and identify with the group are only some of the
necessary elements for forming a brand group that could make consumers become involved
in it.
This study has certain limitations that qualify its findings and provide directions for further
research. First, the findings and implications (theoretical and practical) of this study should
be read in the context of the specific sample and results may not be generalized. However, as
in any research, further investigation is needed to replicate and extend these findings.
Although the chosen context is good for strong consumer-brand relationships and consumer-
to-consumer relationships, future research should definitely try to examine these relationships
in other contexts, for goods, services, corporate or even for people brands.
Moreover, the data collected were at a specific point of time although loyalty is
considered dynamic in nature. This might not be the most appropriate approach in capturing
processes and changes over a period of time. Thus, longitudinal approaches to the study of
brand loyalty in relation to the proposed antecedents are recommended in order to gain
further understanding not only of the developmental process of loyalty but to also tap its
possible fluctuations over time.
Another limitation of the study is the use of a convenience sample which means that
the results are not generalizable to the population as a whole. Because the data comes from a
single country, the present model should be validated in other countries. Recent research
shows that the effect of consumer-brand relationships on consumer community participation
might be culture driven (Tsai et al., 2011). Therefore, research in other countries and contexts
would further support this paper’s model.
Finally, future research may consider the influence of other determinants of tribal
behavior such as consumer motives, brand prestige, brand personality, and relationship
satisfaction and examine their role in building brand loyalty.
Aaker, David A. (1991). Managing brand equity: Capitalizing on the value of a brand name.
New York: The Free Press.
Algesheimer, Rene, Dholakia, Utpal. and Herrmann, Andreas (2005), “The Social Influence
of Brand Community: Evidence from European Car Clubs”, Journal of Marketing, 69
(July), 19-34.
Bagozzi, Richard P., and Yi, Youjae (1988),” On the Evaluation of Structural Equation
Models,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 16 (1), 74-94.
Ballester, Delgado E. and Alemán, Jose.L. M. (2001), “Brand Trust in the Context of
Consumer Loyalty,”European Journal of Marketing, 35 (11/12), 1238-1258.
Bazaki, Eleni and Veloutsou, Cleopatra (2010), “Brand communities, subcultures of
consumption, neo-tribes: a melange of terminology”, in Christodoulides G, Veloutsou C,
Jevons, de Chernatony L and Papadopoulos N. Contemporary Issues in Brand
Management, Athens Institute of Education and Research (ATINER), Athens, Greece,
pp. 163-180.
Birgelen, Marcel, Wetzels, Martin and de Ruyter, Ko (1997), Commitment in Service
Relationships: An Empirical Test of Antecedents and Consequences, “ EMAC
Conference Proceedings, 1255-71. University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.
Blackston, Max (1992), “Observations: Building Brand Equity by Managing the Brands
Relationships,” Journal of Advertising Research, 32 (2), May/June, 79-83.
Buhler, Andre, Heffernan, Troy W. and Hewson, Paul J. (2007), “The soccer club-sponsor
relationship: identifying the critical variables for success,” International Journal of
Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, 8 (July), 144-153.
Chaudhuri. Arjun and Holbrook, Morris B. (2001), “The Chain of Effects from Brand Trust
and Brand Affect to Brand Performance: The Role of Brand Loyalty,” Journal of
Marketing, 65 (April), 81-93.
________ (1999), “Does Brand Loyalty Mediate Brand Equity Outcomes?” Journal of
Marketing Theory and Practice, 7 (2), 136-46.
Christodoulides, George, de Chernatony, Leslie, Furrer, Olivier, Shiu, Eic. and Abimbola,
Temi. (2006), “Conceptualising and Measuring the Equity of Online Brands”, Journal of
Marketing Management, 22 (7/8), 799-825.
Chung, Emily, Beverland, Michael B, Farrelly. Francis and Quester, Pascale (2008),
“Exploring Consumer Fanaticism: Extraordinary Devotion in the Consumption
Context”, Advances in Consumer Research, 35, 333-340.
Cova, Bernard and Pace, Stefano (2006), “Brand Community of Convenience Products: New
Forms of Customer Empowerment The Case ‘My Nutella Is Community’”, European
Journal of Marketing, 40 (9/10), 1087-1105.
Dick, Alan S. and Basu, Kunai (1994), “Customer Loyalty: Toward an Integrated Conceptual
Framework,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 22, 99-113.
Doney, Patricia M. and Cannon, Joseph P. (1997). “An Examination of the Nature of Trust in
Buyer-Seller Relationships”. Journal of Marketing, 61 (April), 35-51.
Fornell, Claes and Larcker, David F. (1981), “Evaluating Structural Equation Models with
Unobservable Variables and Measurement Error,” Journal of Marketing Research, 28,
Fournier, Susan (1998), “Consumers and their Brands: Developing Relationship Theory in
Consumer Research”, Journal of Consumer Research, 24 (March), 343-373.
Goldsmith, Ronald E. (2011),‘Brand Engagement and Brand Loyalty’, in Avinash Kapoor,
and Chinmaya Kulshrestha (eds), Branding and Sustainable Competitive Advantage:
Building Virtual Presence”, IGI Global: Hershey, PA, pp. 122-135.
Hamilton, Kathy and Hewer, Paul (2010), “Tribal mattering spaces: Social-networking sites,
celebrity affiliations, and tribal innovations”, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol.
26, No. 3/4, pp. 271-289.
Hur, Won-Moo, Kwang-Ho, Ahn, and Minsung, Kim, (2011) "Building Brand Loyalty
through Managing Brand Community Commitment," Management Decision, 49 (7),
1194 1213.
Frank Kressmann, M. Joseph Sirgy, Andreas Herrmann, Frank Huber, Stephanie Hubera,
and Dong-Jin Lee (2006). “Direct and Indirect Effects of Self-Image Congruence on
Brand Loyalty,” Journal of Business Research, 59 (9), 955-964.
McAlexander, James H., Schouten, John W. and Koenig, Harold F. (2002), “Building Brand
Community,” Journal of Marketing, 66 (January), 38-54.
Meyer, Christopher, and Schwager, Andre (2007),Understanding Customer Experience”,
Harvard Business Review, 85 (February), 117-126.
Morgan, Robert M. and Hunt, Shelby. (1994), “The Commitment-Trust Theory of
Relationship Marketing,” Journal of Marketing, 58, 20-38.
Muniz, Albert M. and Schau, Hope J. (2005), “Religiosity in the Abandoned Apple Newton
Brand Community”, Journal of Consumer Research, 31 (March), 737-747.
O’Malley, Lisa and Tynan, Caroline (2000), “Relationship Marketing in Consumer Markets:
Rhetoric Or Reality?”, European Journal of Marketing, 34 (7), 797-815.
Oliver, Richard L. (1999), “Whence Consumer Loyalty?” Journal of Marketing, 63, 33-44.
Palmer, Andrian (2010),”Customer Experience Management: A Critical Review of an
Emerging Data,” Journal of Services Marketing, 24 (3), 196-208.
Park, Seong-Yeon and Eun Mi Lee (2005), “Congruence between Brand Personality and
Self-Image, and the Mediating Roles of Satisfaction and Consumer-Brand Relationship
on Brand Loyalty,” Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research, 6, 39-45.
Pine, Joseph B. II and Gilmore, James H. (1998), “Welcome to the Experience Economy,”
Harvard Business Review, 76 (4), 97-106.
Roos, Inger, Anders Gustafsson, Bo Edvardsson, (2005) "The Role of Customer Clubs in
Recent Telecom Relationships", International Journal of Service Industry Management,
16 (5), 436 454.
Rundle-Thiele, Sharyn and Bennett, Rebekah. (2001), A Brand for All Seasons: A
Discussion of Brand Loyalty Approaches and their Applicability for Different Markets,”
Journal of Product & Brand Management, 10(1), 25-37.
Stokburger-Sauer, Nicola (2010), “Brand Community: Drivers and Outcomes”, Psychology
& Marketing, 27 (4), 347-368.
Thomson, Matthew, MacInnis, Deborah J. and Park, Whan C. (2005), “The Ties that Bind:
Measuring the Strength of Consumers’ Emotional Attachments to Brands,” Journal of
Consumer Psychology, 15(1), 77-91.
Tsiotsou, Rodoula H. (2011). Developing brand loyalty in services: A hierarchy of effects
model. Proceedings of the 2011 Summer Marketing Educators’ Conference, American
Marketing Association, pp. 391-398, San Francisco (August 5-7, 2011), U.S.A.
_____and Goldsmith, Ronald E.(2011), “Exploring the Formation Process of Brand Love: A
Comparison between Goods and Services,” 2011 Academy of Marketing Science World
Marketing Congress (July 19-23, 2011), Reims, France, pp. 557-561.
_____ (2012), “Developing a Scale for Measuring the Personality of Sport Teams,” Journal
of Services Marketing, 26 (4), 238-252.
_____ and Veloutsou, C. (2012). TRIBE: Measuring tribal behavior in service brands. AMA
SERVSIG 2012 International Service Research Conference, June 7-9, 2012, Helsinki,
Veloutsou, (2007), “Identifying the Dimensions of the Product-Brand and Consumer
Relationship”, Journal of Marketing Management, 23 (1/2), 7-26.
_____(2009), “Brands as Relationship Facilitators in Consumer Markets”, Marketing Theory,
9 (1), 127-130.
_____ and Moutinho, Luiz (2009), “Brand Relationships through Brand Reputation and
Brand Tribalism”, Journal of Business Research, 62 (3), 314-322.
_____ and Tsiotsou, Rodoula (2011),’Examining the Link between Brand Relationships And
Tribal Behaviour: A Structural Model’, Proceedings of the 2011 7th Thought Leaders
International Conference in Brand Management, Lugano, Switzerland, 10-12 March
2011, pp. 1-7.
Wirtz, Johen and Chew, Patricia (2002),‘The Effects of Incentives, Deal Proneness,
Satisfaction and Tie Strength on Word-Of-Mouth Behavior’, International Journal of
Service Industry Management, 13 (2), 141-162.
_____, Mattila, Ann S. and Lwin, May O. (2007), “How Effective Are Loyalty Reward
Programs in Driving Share of Wallet?” Journal of Service Research, 9 (4), 327-334
Zeithaml, Valarie A., Berry, Leonard L. and Parasuraman, A. (1996), “The Behavioral
Consequences of Service Quality,” Journal of Marketing, 60 (April), 31-46.
For Further Information Contact:
Rodoula Tsiotsou (Ph.D.)
Assistant Professor of Services Marketing
Department of Marketing & Operations Management
University of Macedonia
Agiou Dimitriou 49, TK 58200 Edessa, Greece
Tel. 003(0)-23810-51765 Fax 003(0)-23810-51182
Final Measurement Model and Confirmatory Factor Analysis Results
I would like to be informed about my team
I am more willing to learn news about my team than for other teams
I listen with interest the information about my team
I am willing to be informed about my team in the future
This teams means more to me than any other team
I care about the developments related to my team
I feel comfortable with my team
Both, the team and I benefit from this relationship
I completely trust my team
I depend on my team
My team is honest
When my friends talk about sports they want to talk about this team
When my friends watch sports they want to watch games of this team
In general my friends know a lot about this team
I follow this team because I am sure that my friends approve of it
I am very loyal to this team because my friends also like it
My friends are following this team and I follow it too just because I want to be like
I am very attached to the group of people interested in this team.
The friendships I have with other people interested in this team mean a lot to me.
If people who follow this team planned something, I’d think of it as something “we”
would do rather than something “they” would do.
I see myself like one of the many people who follow this team
I am motivated to meet people who follow this team because I feel better afterwards.
I am motivated to meet people who follow this team because I am able to exchange
opinions about the team.
It would be very difficult for me to stop doing things with people interested in this
I am willing to make more effort to interact with people interested in this team than I
would for people interested in other teams.
I intend to keep interacting with people interested in this team
I never miss an opportunity to recommend activities organized from people interested
in this team to others
I intend to actively participate in activities of people interested in this team.
I always follow my team
I follow my team in all of its activities
I am devoted to my team
Chi square = 988.76 (p<0.00) with 406 degrees of freedom, RMSEA = 0.07, NFI = 0.90, CFI = 0.93, IFI=.93
* significant at the 0.05 level
** CR = Composite Reliabilities, AVE = Average Variance Extracted
Proposed Conceptual and Final Structural Model
( * indicates significant path, indicates non significant path, indicates added path)
Brand Tribe
Reference Group
Brand Tribe
Brand Tribe
... Members of a brand community have reciprocal relationships, enjoy the same brand and possess shared values and rituals (Cova and Pace, 2006). Although brand tribalism is a conceptual derivation of brand communities, it is much stronger than brand community because people do not need to formally implement it (Tsiotsou, 2013) to express values, rituals and behaviours within the group (Veloutsou and Moutinho, 2009). While a tribe is stronger than a community, it is more loosely based because it does not have to be built around a brand or consumption (Cova and Shankar, 2012). ...
... Brand loyalty is positively affected by brand community Impact of selfexpressive value (Marzocchi et al., 2013). In a brand tribe, although tribe members may not formally belong to the group (Tsiotsou, 2013), they tend to have higher interaction and involvement with other members (Cova and Cova, 2002) and a higher commitment to the group (Mitchell and Imrie, 2011) than brand community members. Many studies that have examined brand communities have viewed them as closely interwoven with brand tribalism (Luo et al., 2015). ...
... Hospital visitors with any religious background can experience this tribal relationship. According to Tsiotsou (2013), loyalty results from the relationship between each member and the brand and the member-to-member relationship because of the brand. Furthermore, Taute and Sierra (2014) discovered that brand tribalism has a positive impact on brand loyalty, especially in quasi-membership and for brands of products with high switching costs (Ali et al., 2014) or when encouragement and enthusiasm are common among the members themselves (Bagozzi and Dholakia, 2006;Tsiotsou, 2013). ...
Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine the antecedents and consequences of halal brand personality in the hospital industry by comparing Muslim and non-Muslim Islamic hospital visitors. Design/methodology/approach Online questionnaires were distributed to 113 Muslim and 100 non-Muslim Islamic hospital visitors using a purposive proportional sampling technique. The structural equation modelling (SEM) method was used, which is appropriate for complex model testing. SEM was used for both the second-order model and multigroup analysis to compare Muslim and non-Muslim visitors. Findings Self-expressive value was significantly affected by halal brand personality. Self-expressive value was a direct antecedent of brand tribalism, which affects brand loyalty. Brand tribalism positively affected brand loyalty. No differences between Muslim and non-Muslim visitors were found, indicating that halal is a universal concept, particularly in the hospital brand personality context. Practical implications Islamic hospital marketing managers should empower visitors to build strong brand advocacy. These strategies may lead to new hospital visitors and can be achieved by creating user-generated content distributed via social media. User-generated content is a powerful form of brand advocacy, as non-customers do not view it as marketing. Originality/value This study provides insightful empirical contributions to brand literature by showing that halal is a universal and inclusive concept, relatively accepted by consumers regardless of their religious background. This study also offers managerial insights for hospital policymakers in developing strategic programs to strengthen Islamic hospitals' halal brand personalities.
... Building brand equity requires marketers to plan and formulate branding strategies in consistence with consumer behavior and marketing factors which are always changing (Kim and Hyun, 2011;Goldsmith, Flynn and Clark, 2012;Tsiotsou, 2013). When the brand has its influence on purchasing decisions of consumers, this benefits the owner of such brand. ...
... Nowadays, a new strategy for building brand equity is to create brand tribalism (Tsiotsou, 2013;Taute and Sierra, 2014). It is a huge challenge for marketers because the creating process of brand tribalism is to build a network of individuals who have a passion for the same brand, have a connection, share emotions and opinions on the brand among the members in a group or tribe together (Dionisio, Leal and Moutinho, 2008). ...
... This is a concept developed from the concept of brand community, which is the integration of the communities associated with the same brand or that have an interest in the same thing or like the same brand. They came together with willingness and accept a formal membership of the group (Tsiotsou, 2013). This is different from the concept of brand tribalism in the way that integration does not require a formal manner but members of the group have to express the behavior of the group or tribe (Veloutsou & Mautinho, 2009). ...
Full-text available
This study aims to investigate the influence of brand tribalism and brand relationships on Halal brand equity of Muslim consumers in Thailand. The framework of the study comes from a new marketing concept, brand tribalism, which identifies a community of self-selected individuals formed on the bases of an emotional attachment to a brand, and its members are not just only consumers but also advocates. Brand tribalism focuses on creating network of heterogeneous persons, sharing value, ritual and belief in their group. This tribe is not outside the company, but it is part of the company network. It provides marketers an opportunity to engage in symbiotic relationships with groups of consumers. Although brand tribalism has now become an increasingly important phenomenon in contemporary marketing, previous research analyzing brand tribalism mainly focuses on sport fan club and luxury brand such as car and motorbike. There is a very limited knowledge to analyzed brand tribe that targets the mass market. The results of the study indicate that brand tribalism has direct and indirect influence on brand equity through brand relationships. Hence, brand tribalism is fundamental to the success of Halal brand. This study should help fulfill a gap in the brand and marketing literature and provide theoretical insights and managerial implications to marketing academic and practitioners.
... These groups have been described as brand community, brand tribes, or brand sub-cultures of consumption [23,24]. Brand communities are defined as " formal brand related groups which consist of individuals who join the group willingly and acknowledge their membership of the brand " [25]. In contrast, brand tribes are groups of individuals that exhibit tribal behavior; that is, participants have not necessarily joined the group formally, but they demonstrate a passion toward the brand tribe [26]. ...
... In contrast, brand tribes are groups of individuals that exhibit tribal behavior; that is, participants have not necessarily joined the group formally, but they demonstrate a passion toward the brand tribe [26]. Therefore, brand tribes have informal and wider membership than brand communities [25], with a sense of togetherness and belonging [27]. Consumer behavior within brand tribes has attracted recent attention in marketing fields. ...
... Consequently, customers are not merely responders but rather active value co-creators. The customer-to-customer relationships are referred as brand tribes [25] that have been employed by companies to enhance their customers' loyalty. Brand tribes are different from traditional brand communities in that, the latter are managed by companies in a formal manner, such as membership subscription, and various rewards or incentives are offered to members. ...
Full-text available
Since 2008, soaring international oil prices and environmental awareness have pushed bicycle to be a green transport vehicle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a significant global trend. Consequently, Taiwan’s bicycle industry earned the “bicycle kingdom” has entered a new peak period of demand under popular social trends of bicycling for health conscious and a healthy exercise tool; thus, to co-create value with customers to retain the reputation is important for Taiwan’s bicycle industry. In Internet age, plus the prevailing of service-dominant logic, virtual customer environments (VCEs) can be greatly leveraged to promote customers’ active engagement in the value co-creation activities. After an extensive literature review, this study organizes a hybrid expert-based DANP model based on the applications of multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) tools, such as decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL)-based analytical network process (ANP), for investigating the iterative and dynamic nature of customer’s engagement and value co-creation behavior in the key bicycle industry in Taiwan. In the empirical study of analysis, the use and gratification framework of prior studies is validated on concerning the dynamic value co-creation behavior in bicycling VCEs and yields the following empirical results: (1) Tribal behavior drives the pursuit of realized benefits through VCE engagement and affects the related participation and citizenship behaviors in turn; (2) recognize the importance of social influences toward personal commitment and engagement of bicycling activities and related VCEs; and (3) four broad types of interaction-based benefits derived from engagement in VCEs include cognitive, social integrative, personal integrative, and hedonic benefits. The major research findings on theoretical implications and managerial implications provide helpful insights on marketing of Taiwan’s bicycle industry.
... Chan et al. (2014) indicated that customer engagement mediates the relationship between brand community characteristics and customer loyalty. In a study conducted by Tsiotsou (2013) on the role of tribal behaviour on brand loyalty, the brand community was positively related to customer loyalty. Briefly, the literature supports the significant effect of customer's participation in brand communities on their loyalty to brands (Brodie et al., 2013;Tsiotsou, 2016). ...
Full-text available
This study aimed at examining the mediating role of brand Community membership on the effect of customer empowerment and customer engagement on marketing performance. The population of the study contained students of universities in the North Region of Jordan. A total of 1320 questionnaires were administered to sample members, and 895 questionnaires were returned completed. Data analysis indicated a significant partial mediation of brand community in the effect of customer empowerment on customer satisfaction but not in the effect of customer engagement and customer loyalty.Interestingly, the results confirmed that employee engagement is more important for organisations to ensure customer loyalty. The effect of customer empowerment on customer satisfaction was mediated by the customer’s membership to the brand community. Thereupon, organisations should ensure put their customers’ engagement as a priority. Further research is required to investigate the predictability of both customer satisfaction and engagement using different samples from several settings.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The study aims to investigate the interrelationship among customer value, brand tribalism, and brand equity. The data were collected by online questionnaires from 400 BMW online members in Thailand. Then data was analyzed by using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). The results of the study revealed that customer value has the influence on brand tribalism, which is one of the principal mechanisms for creating brand equity.
Consumers do not only develop relationships with brands but with other consumers as well because of the brands (Veloutsou, 2009). Both types of relationships are important for brands and their managers (Schau et al., 2009) and should be taken into account. The consumer-to-consumer relationships are referred in the literature as brand communities, brand sub-cultures and brand tribes (Fournier 1998; Cova and Pace 2006; Bazaki and Veloutsou 2010). This study adopts the term brand tribe to describe groups of individuals who join a brand group in an informal manner and demonstrate tribal behavior. This type of consumer relationship has attracted recently research attention (Bazaki and Veloutsou 2010; Tsiotsou and Veloutsou, 2011) because it is related to important brand outcomes such as brand loyalty (Roos et al. 2005; Hur et al. 2011). However, although brand tribes result from consumers’ interest in interacting with other consumers who share the same interest and feelings toward a brand, it has been documented that not all consumers are engaging in brand tribe activities in the same manner or to the same degree (Ballantine and Martin, 2005; Casalo, Flavian, and Guinaliu, 2008; Motion, 2008). Some of the brand tribe members might exhibit parasocial behavior: they observe the activities of other brand tribe members and do not participate or get involved in these activities. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the relationship between parasocial relationships and tribal behavior in brand tribes. The liaison between the two constructs has not been studied before so the study contributes to the literature and practice.
Full-text available
The Social Aspects of Consumption as Predictors of Consumer Loyalty: Online vs Offline Services Purpose – Nowadays companies are seeking to create meaningful and long-term relationships with their customer. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to examine the role of parasocial and social aspects of consumption in building trustworthy and loyal relationships in both offline and online services. Methodology - Two studies have been conducted using the survey research method. One study collected data from 285 soccer fans and the second study collected data from 298 Facebook consumers. Findings - The study confirms the proposed model and suggests that parasocial and social relationships act as significant antecedents of service brand loyalty in both offline and the online services. Originality/Value -This is the first study that examines parasocial and social relationships in tandem and their role in developing loyal relationships with service brands. It also confirms that social relationships play a significant role in service setting.
Full-text available
If service quality relates to retention of customers at the aggregate level, as other research has indicated, then evidence of its impact on customers’ behavioral responses should be detectable. The authors offer a conceptual model of the impact of service quality on particular behaviors that signal whether customers remain with or defect from a company. Results from a multicompany empirical study examining relationships from the model concerning customers’ behavioral intentions show strong evidence of their being influenced by service quality. The findings also reveal differences in the nature of the quality-intentions link across different dimensions of behavioral intentions. The authors’ discussion centers on ways the results and research approach of their study can be helpful to researchers and managers.
Full-text available
This research explores the grassroots brand community centered on the Apple Newton, a product that was abandoned by the marketer. Supernatural, religious, and magical motifs are common in the narratives of the Newton community, including the miraculous performance and survival of the brand, as well as the return of the brand creator. These motifs invest the brand with powerful meanings and perpetuate the brand and the community, its values, and its beliefs. These motifs also reflect and facilitate the many transformative and emancipatory aspects of consuming this brand. Our findings reveal important properties of brand communities and, at a deeper level, speak to the communal nature of religion and the enduring human need for religious affiliation.
Full-text available
This paper explores the phenomenon of fanaticism through qualitative in-depth interviews to learn about the characteristics associated with extraordinary devotion to consumptive objects. Findings showed inertial (addictive and obsessive-compulsive) elements associated with fanaticism, however, contrary to common portrayals, this is not always detrimental to the individual. It also showed that fanaticism involves managing the fine line between extreme levels of enthusiasm that is positive and fulfilling, versus non-sustainable borderline-dysfunctional levels of enthusiasm that may turn into something darker or problematic.
Both practitioners and academics understand that consumer loyalty and satisfaction are linked inextricably. They also understand that this relation is asymmetric. Although loyal consumers are most typically satisfied, satisfaction does not universally translate into loyalty. To explain the satisfaction–loyalty conundrum, the author investigates what aspect of the consumer satisfaction response has implications for loyalty and what portion of the loyalty response is due to this satisfaction component. The analysis concludes that satisfaction is a necessary step in loyalty formation but becomes less significant as loyalty begins to set through other mechanisms. These mechanisms, omitted from consideration in current models, include the roles of personal determinism (“fortitude”) and social bonding at the institutional and personal level. When these additional factors are brought into account, ultimate loyalty emerges as a combination of perceived product superiority, personal fortitude, social bonding, and their synergistic effects. As each fails to be attained or is unattainable by individual firms that serve consumer markets, the potential for loyalty erodes. A disquieting conclusion from this analysis is that loyalty cannot be achieved or pursued as a reasonable goal by many providers because of the nature of the product category or consumer disinterest. For some firms, satisfaction is the only feasible goal for which they should strive; thus, satisfaction remains a worthy pursuit among the consumer marketing community. The disparity between the pursuit of satisfaction versus loyalty, as well as the fundamental content of the loyalty response, poses several investigative directions for the next wave of postconsumption research.
Relationship marketing—establishing, developing, and maintaining successful relational exchanges—constitutes a major shift in marketing theory and practice. After conceptualizing relationship marketing and discussing its ten forms, the authors (1) theorize that successful relationship marketing requires relationship commitment and trust, (2) model relationship commitment and trust as key mediating variables, (3) test this key mediating variable model using data from automobile tire retailers, and (4) compare their model with a rival that does not allow relationship commitment and trust to function as mediating variables. Given the favorable test results for the key mediating variable model, suggestions for further explicating and testing it are offered.
The statistical tests used in the analysis of structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error are examined. A drawback of the commonly applied chi square test, in addition to the known problems related to sample size and power, is that it may indicate an increasing correspondence between the hypothesized model and the observed data as both the measurement properties and the relationship between constructs decline. Further, and contrary to common assertion, the risk of making a Type II error can be substantial even when the sample size is large. Moreover, the present testing methods are unable to assess a model's explanatory power. To overcome these problems, the authors develop and apply a testing system based on measures of shared variance within the structural model, measurement model, and overall model.
This study examines professional soccer sponsorship as a business-to-business relationship and explores key dimensions of sponsorship success in the context of the English Premier League and the German Bundesliga. The findings suggest that commitment, satisfaction and cooperation positively influence the success of sponsorships; trust and effective communication do not emerge as significant variables. The implications for soccer clubs and sponsors are discussed and avenues for further research are suggested.