AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
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AbstractPurpose – Over the past few years online fashion communities have proliferated becoming an increasingly powerful forum for user-generated content, and consequently, the fashion industry has shown great interest in such communities. The purpose of this paper is to review and analyse brand advocacy behaviour within luxury brand accessory forums: to analyse the role these communities play in influencing purchase intention; assessing their contribution to fashion brand love. Design/methodology/approach – The study adopted a netnographic approach to the phenomenon of online luxury accessory communities. The research reports observational data including blog texts and audience comments for four popular forums: The Purse Forum, The Fashion Spot, The Bag Forum (TBF) and Shoe Forum (SF). Although the forums are open to all and are designed to be internationally relevant; the observations were conducted from a base in the UK. Findings – Findings indicate that informants display some unifying characteristics clustered around engagement, involvement, self-concept and self-connection, brand love and hedonic values. Informants however, display some discernible differences as they “rally” to two distinctive totems: first, active luxury brand advocates and second, passive brand advocates. Although subtle, these differences suggest significant possibilities for fashion brand owners. Research limitations/implications – Further research could include the measurement of brand advocacy to distinguish more clearly between high and low levels of advocacy and the resulting consumer behaviour intentions. One sub-group that would be interesting to explore is that of brand evangelists and their relationship with fashion brands: what are the reasons for treating brands as religious artefacts and can this extreme level of advocacy be developed by marketing? The study focused on observing online posts by self-selected brand advocates. A worthwhile comparison could be made with fashion communities where brand marketers are active participants and how this influences the discourse and actions of brand advocates. Practical implications – The findings indicate that all forum members are incredibly attached to their brands, but will still consider purchasing several brands as their “evoked set”. Additionally, even when demonstrating involvement, they can operate as passive observers in the online community. Originality/value – Social media, especially online forums, play an important role in contemporary luxury fashion branding. This study addresses the role these forums play in supporting brand love and the contribution they make to luxury brand advocacy. Membership and influence dynamics are reported; which have resonance to both practitioners and researchers.
CitationParrott G, Danbury A, Kanthavanich P (2015) 'Online behaviour of luxury fashion brand advocates', Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 19 (4), pp.360-383.
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Online brand advocates of luxury fashion accessoriesKanthavanich, Poramate (University of Bedfordshire, 2011)This study observes brand advocacy and online brand advocates behaviours. The research is using a netnographic approach to uncover perceptions, behaviours and characteristics of online brand advocates within the framework of the loyalty ladder and online brand communities in the context of luxury fashion accessories, particularly handbags. The study analyses discussions, conversations and activities in four online communities. The findings show that brand advocates perceive hedonic values of luxury fashion accessories such as being a source of happiness, fulfilment and belonging. Frequent participation in discussions and activities with others brand fans in the online communities can increase advocacy level and love for the brands, and subsequently turn participants into active brand advocates. Positive word-of-mouth, recommending, defending and sharing love for fashion brands are the key online advocacy behaviours which are caused by love and passion for luxury fashion accessories. The findings also suggest that brand advocacy may not be a stable state depending on the favour and love of the brands at a particular point of time. Thus, brand advocates can exhibit advocacy behaviours for several fashion brands simultaneously. The study makes a contribution to brand advocacy by extending the loyalty ladder with the behaviours and characteristics of online luxury fashion brand advocates. The research provides insights to online advocacy which will be beneficial to both academic research and provide valuable feedback to brand managers.
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