The Impact of User-Generated Content on Consumer-Based Brand Equity Jennifer Bonhomme, Euro RSCG Worldwide, United Kingdom Dr George Christodoulides, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom Dr Colin Jevons, Monash University, Australia
User-Generated Content <ul><li>An emerging field of study (Stockl et al . 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>UGC is original content made publicly available over the internet, which reflects a certain amount of creative effort and is created outside of professional practices (OECD 2007) </li></ul>(E-marketer 2009) <ul><li>82 million in 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>115 million by 2013 </li></ul>UGC Creators <ul><li>116 million in 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>155 million by 2013 </li></ul>UGC Consumers
Previous studies suggest UGC involvement is driven by various factors: Co-Creation Empowerment Community Self-Concept <ul><li>Collaboration / dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>Social benefit factor </li></ul><ul><li>Risk reduction </li></ul><ul><li>Power & control </li></ul><ul><li>Influence perceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Forum for greater choice </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge-sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Social connections </li></ul><ul><li>Desire to interact / belong </li></ul><ul><li>Self-expression </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Shaping personal identity </li></ul>Sources: Burmann and Arhnold (2008), Berthon, Pitt and Campbell (2008), Daugherty, Eastin and Bright (2008), Li and Bernoff (2008), Gangaharbatla (2008), Krishnamurthy and Dou (2008), Jacobs (2008), Gray (2007), Muniz and Schau (2007), OECD (2007)
Research Question How does consumer involvement in user generated content influence consumer-based brand equity?
The Conceptual Model Perceived Empowerment Involvement Perceived Community Perceived Co-creation Perceived Self-concept Brand Equity UGC H1 H2 H3 H4 H5 H6c H6b H6a H6d
Co-Creation <ul><li>Co-creation = consumer participation in the production of value on all points in the value chain (Vargo and Lusch 2004, Prahalad 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Access to the value creation process or tools to create UGC may increase the perception of co-creation (Muniz and Schau 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>The growing amount of branded UGC online signifies a consumer interest in collaboration and co-created dialogue (Jaffe 2005, Wipperfurth 2005, OECD 2007, Burmann and Arnhold 2008) </li></ul>“ It used to be [brands] just announce stuff to people to be bought through advertising and now you can have conversations one-to-one.” “ [UGC] makes [a brand] more honest, more authentic, a little bit more gritty and granular and fun and spontaneous and rough around the edges, not so finished.”
Empowerment <ul><li>Consumer empowerment = i.) the ability to adjust the choice set ii.) progress cues in the consumer decision-making process iii.) information about other consumers (Wathieu et al. 2002) </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer empowerment is activated and advanced by marketing efforts designed to satisfy wants and needs (Wright et al. 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>UGC enables consumers to connect in new digital spheres making them feel powerful and able to define brands on their own (Li and Bernoff 2008, Christodoulides 2009) </li></ul>“ We have to allow people to embrace the brand in their own way.” “ It’s theirs, they are marking their territory and this is just a more technological version. If they play with it, if they move it around, it’s more theirs.”
Community <ul><li>Brand community is structured around a set of social relations among admirers of a brand (Muniz and O’Guinn 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Sense of community is characterized through homophily and membership, both which lead to a sense of belonging, likeness to others and identification (McPherson et al . 2001, McMillian and Chavis 1986) </li></ul><ul><li>Among UGC, the role of social networking sites has been overwhelming (Gangaharbatla 2008) </li></ul>“ As we think about it culturally and socially, [UGC is about] how do I get together with likeminded people.” “ There are a lot of people who are very actively involved in a very fundamental activity, which is sort of creating the knowledge base of the world.”
Self-Concept <ul><li>Self-concept is the dynamic perspective of oneself with implications on all aspects of social interactions (Markus and Wurf 1987) </li></ul><ul><li>The self is composed of multiple dimensions - the big five personality traits (Thurstone 1934) </li></ul><ul><li>UGC platforms provide consumers the opportunity to express themselves and signify preference (Oh et al . 2008, Jacobs 2008, Daugherty et al . 2008) </li></ul>“ You just need something that you can send out that says, ‘Oh look, I’m interesting.” “ We all want to make ourselves more multi-dimensional, more interesting, more compelling and we have many more pressures on ourselves to do that because we are expressed as individuals in all of these new media.”
Involvement <ul><li>Defined in the research as “the degree of personal relevance which a stimulus [in this case branded UGC] is perceived to help achieve consequences and values important to the consumer” (Peter et al. 1999) </li></ul><ul><li>UGC creation is a consumption related activity and therefore is a form of product involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Category involvement is also relevant in terms of UGC because some product categories have low brand involvement and thus low branded UGC involvement </li></ul>“ There is an affinity for the brand or the product or the company that may be the primary or secondary reason they are [involved in UGC creation].
Consumer-Based Brand Equity <ul><li>Consumer-based brand equity (CBBE) is a well established area of research (Aaker 1991, Keller 1998, Yoo and Donthu 2001, Pappu et al . 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Research measures include brand awareness, brand association, perceived quality and brand loyalty (Pappu et al . 2005) </li></ul>“ One of the most interesting effects of [UGC involvement] is that it can make a brand iconic.” “ I think that brands need to realize that they can have more facets and allowing consumers to help create those different aspects of the brand gives it depth that maybe brands didn’t have in the past.”
Methodology <ul><li>Qualitative interviews: Senior marketing and advertising experts </li></ul><ul><li>Online survey: Sample of brand-related UGC creators (n=201) </li></ul><ul><li>Measures in the final questionnaire instrument: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Co-creation : 5 items adapted from Prahalad and Ramaswamy (2002) and Vargo and Lusch (2004) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Empowerment : items adapted from Pires et al . (2006), Conger and Kanungo (1988) and Hoffman et al . (2000) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community : 4 items adapted from MacMillian and Chaviz (1986) and Muniz and O’Guinn (2001) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-Concept : 5 items adapted from Markus and Wurf (1987) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involvement : 9 items from Zaichowsky’s 10-pt semantic differential scale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CBBE : 8 items adapted from Pappu et al . (2005) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Context: Respondents identify the brand they last created content for, this was labeled ‘Brand X’ and operated as a constant in most measuring statements </li></ul>
Respondents <ul><li>Profile of survey sample by age range </li></ul><ul><li>Profile of respondents’ UGC contribution by platform </li></ul>
Analysis <ul><li>Reliabilities ranged from .61 (empowerment) to .92 (CBBE) </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple regression analysis </li></ul>
“ My only issue with empowerment is I think consumers feel empowered and that brands don’t need to empower them, so especially the type of people who are going to create already feel, if not superior to a brand, they already feel at least on the same level.”
Final Remarks <ul><li>This is the first study to show the direct influence UGC involvement on brand equity. </li></ul><ul><li>UGC - particularly when driven by self-concept, community and co-creation - has a positive impact on CBBE. </li></ul><ul><li>Implications: Brand managers in digital and marketing communications to incorporate UGC into strategic planning </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations: non-probability sample </li></ul><ul><li>Further research areas: qualitative study of consumer self-concept in UGC, research testing of CBBE during implementation of a UGC-led campaign </li></ul>