Title: The latent potential of virtual communities as brand missionaries: implications from US and Korean bloggers

Authors: Soonkwan Hong; Michael S. Minor

Addresses: School of Business and Economics, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, Michigan 49331, USA ' College of Business Administration, The University of Texas-Pan American, 1201 West University Drive, Edinburg, TX 78541, USA

Abstract: While it is evident that firms can benefit from consumers' online activities, particularly blogging and brand community participation, little is known about the genuine motivations of such practices. The authors explore and juxtapose US and Korean bloggers' and brand community members' motivations by utilising Q-sort data. The results indicate commonalities with minimal disparities in their motivations. Consumers in both countries emphasise connectedness, self-expression, and enjoyment. The distinct motivations that only US consumers underline are practicality and history of intellectual progress. These motivations suggest practical implications for global marketers to build long-term, sustainable, and sociocultural relationships with customers by launching their own firm-led virtual communities, which will function as a new type of online brand community, called value co-creation web.

Keywords: brand communities; blogs; possession; Q-method; Korea; USA; United States; value co-creation; viral marketing; global brands; virtual communities; online communities; web based communities; brand missionaries; bloggers; motivation; connectedness; self-expression; enjoyment; practicality; intellectual progress; customer relationships.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2014.064875

International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, 2014 Vol.6 No.1, pp.4 - 27

Accepted: 22 Feb 2014
Published online: 20 Sep 2014 *

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