Title: A theoretical and empirical exploration of identification with virtual product communities

Authors: Andrew J. Czaplewski, Thomas W. Gruen

Addresses: Marketing and International Business, College of Business, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, PO Box 7150, Colorado Springs, CO 80933, USA. ' College of Business, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, PO Box 7150, Colorado Springs, CO 80933, USA

Abstract: This paper examines, both theoretically and empirically, the impact of a participant|s identification with a virtual community. This extends previous research in marketing that has examined identification in membership and customer-company scenarios to the virtual communities. Antecedents to identification that are examined include the length and extent of contact with the community, as well as the degree to which the community fulfils the member|s expectations. Outcomes include the participant|s intentions towards the specific product the community was formed around as well as the brand of the product. Findings show that length of contact, extent of contact, and satisfaction with the virtual product community significantly impact on the participant|s level of identification. Moreover, identification was found to impact positively on intentions towards the product, but this does not carry over to the brand. Theoretical and managerial implications are considered.

Keywords: identification; customer-to-customer communication; virtual community; relationship marketing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2004.004018

International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, 2004 Vol.1 No.2, pp.155 - 173

Available online: 12 Mar 2004 *

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