Online customer engagement: Creating social environments through brand community constellations

Wafa Hammedi, Jay Kandampully, Ting Ting (Christina) Zhang, Lucille Bouquiaux

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose – The emergence and success of online brand communities in the marketplace have attracted considerable interest; this study seeks to determine the conditions in which people create social environments by investigating the drivers of connections to a focal online brand community and other brand communities. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the composition of multi-community networks, focussing on the density and centrality of brand communities. Design/methodology/approach – On the basis of insights from prior literature, the proposed model examines customers’ social relationships with multiple brand communities. A survey of 290 participants spans eight brand communities. The modeling process used structural equation modeling; the analysis of the social relationship among brand communities relied on an ego network approach. Findings – Two drivers prompt connections to other online brand communities. First, personal identification with a core brand community enhances connections to other communities. Second, some core brand members choose a functionality-driven approach in creating social environments. Practical implications – For marketers, this study highlights the importance of positioning the brand community as part of a social environment. To strengthen customer-brand relationships, marketers should focus on community members’ multiple memberships. Originality/value – This paper extends understanding of online brand community members’ motivations to participate in a focal brand community. It also explains the creation of a social environment, through a careful consideration of participation in different brand communities and their relationships.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)777-806
    Number of pages30
    JournalJournal of Service Management
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2015


    • Brand community
    • Customer brand-relationship
    • Participation
    • Personal identification
    • Social environment
    • Social identity


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