Title: Innovation from virtual brand community members may only be virtually effective

Authors: Paul G. Barretta; A. Fuat Fırat

Addresses: Wagner College Nicolais School of Business, One Campus Rd., Campus Hall, Suite 219, Staten Island, NY 10301, USA ' Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, 1201 W. University Dr., ECOBE 211 C, Edinburg, Texas 78539, USA

Abstract: This study measures how effective crowdsourcing innovation from a virtual brand community (VBC) is for promoting brand attachment of members and non-members of that VBC. Experimental design is used to survey members and non-members of the website Marvel.com to measure brand attachment and affect toward an innovation of the company in the form of a comic book universe reset, a form of product innovation for this market. Mean difference testing and structural equations indicate that brand attachment is higher at a statistically significant level when measuring the interaction effect of innovation source x community membership; the less consumers know about the source of the innovation the better; knowledge that innovation is sourced from the VBC may be effective for increasing brand attachment of members of the VBC, but not for non-members, indicating that applying characteristics of traditional brand communities to VBCs may not be effective.

Keywords: virtual brand community; VBC; brand attachment; marvel comics; crowdsourcing; product innovation; brand community.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2022.120975

International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, 2022 Vol.16 No.1/2, pp.186 - 202

Received: 01 Jul 2020
Accepted: 19 Nov 2020

Published online: 21 Feb 2022 *

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