The FIRST Academic Paper on Social Media Branding: Conceptualising Brand Consumption in Social Media Community by Robert Davis, Inna Piven and Michael Breazeale

Conceptualising Brand Consumption in Social Media Community

To be published in the Journal of Retail and Consumer Services.

Robert Davis (Ph.D.):

Inna Piven (MBus): Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand,

Michael Breazeale (Ph.D.): University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA,


The emergence of social media is challenging the ways that marketing academics and practitioners conceptualize and manage brands. This research explores the consumers’ specific motivations for the purpose and structure of the consumption of brands in social media community. Keeping the evolving economic relevance of social consumption in mind, the resulting conceptual model has been designed to give a better understanding of the unique branding opportunities and relationships that social media present to brand managers. The research employs a triangulated method that includes a social media-based Facebook focus group and face-to-face interviews. The findings suggest that consumers expect some very specific two-way interactions with brands and that social media may be the only way to effectively deliver these demands. This study identifies five core drivers of brand consumption in a social media community articulated in the Five Sources Model: functional, emotional, self-oriented, social and relational. These core drivers represent unique opportunities for brands to enhance their relationships with their customers and to increase the likelihood of an active and beneficial online community built around their brands. Future research implications are discussed.

Key Words: brand consumption, focus group, interviews, consumption values, consumption motivation.

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