Fostering Brand Community Through Social Media: A New Relational Framework for Targeting Connected Consumers

William F. Humphrey, Debra A. Laverie, Shannon B. Rinaldo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Traditionally wine marketers have used advertising to inform and persuade. However, wine marketers are realizing that relational and experiential aspects of wine consumption are important to understand. One way to develop brand loyalty is by building brand community. Online communities, such as those facilitated via social media sites, are now used to build relationship though customer interactions. Online community members share product information, knowledge, product experience, and identity. We argue that the next step in this progression is the use of social media to build brand community. Despite the strong emphasis in the marketplace today on the importance of social media, there has not been an examination of how social media can be used to build brand community. This seems a logical progression, as social media is now as influential if not more influential, than conventional media. An emerging method to achieve the “Holy Grail of brand loyalty” is through the use of social media to build brand communities. We develop a conceptual model to explore how social media can be used to build brand communities for wineries. This model includes brand characteristics, relational factors, and community characteristics that will inform those in the wine industry and in academic wine research as to the necessary steps to use social media to build a brand community and builds upon the brand/customer literature where traditionally researchers explored the customer-brand relationship. Once consumers identify with a wine brand, they will have brand experiences and can be exposed to social media about the brand. The relevance of the reference group and the relevance of the message will influence identification with owners and identity importance, which in turn build brand community. We offer a theoretically grounded model that depicts how identification with the winery leads to brand identification as mediated through social media participation; in turn, this participation in social media enhances and broadens the context of brand community for the wine industry. We advance the necessary characteristics a winery must possess to cultivate brand identification.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Marketing Science
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages1
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
ISSN (Print)2363-6165
ISSN (Electronic)2363-6173


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