Brand Avatars: Impact of Social Interaction On Consumer-Brand Relationships

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Purpose: Over the past two decades, technology-facilitated communication between brand and consumer has become common. One way in which technology can be used to build brand relationships in the online environment is by using brand avatars. This study considers social aspects of brand avatar communication, with the aim of determining if including an element of “socialness” adds to the impact of the brand avatar.

Design/Methodology/Approach: Specifically, the authors test three outcome variables core to building strong consumer relationships through experimental design comparing an avatar's communication style (transactional vs social) while considering the potential covariate of motivational orientation.

Findings: Overall, multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) results indicate that social functions provided by the brand avatar are more likely to facilitate the consumer–brand relationship (CBR) process than transactional functions. This study provides managerial support for using an avatar with social communication capabilities.

Originality/Value: As social interaction becomes more expected by consumers in the current media landscape, understanding how to meet those demands on a large scale, through brand avatars, is valuable.

Publication Title

Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing

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