Consolidating Brand Loyalty: The Moderating Role of Smartphones in Online Brand Communities

Dominic Appiah (Lead / Corresponding author), Alison Watson, Olanrewaju Lewis, Syed Tarek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The emergence of interactive communication, together with the enormous development of communication technologies, in particular the rise of the internet, has led to the growth of online brand communities (OBCs). OBCs offer great opportunities for businesses to strengthen customer loyalty. OBCs, in fact, are an effective means of influencing customers’ purchasing intentions and they boost the capability of a firm to know the buying intentions of their customers through the monitoring of exchanged information. Recorgnising that brand communities can become important marketing instruments, and understanding who joins a community and for what reasons, may have potentially powerful managerial implications.
Members of OBCs feel a solid connection with the brand but, more significantly, they feel a stronger connection with one another; this creates ‘we-ness’ or ‘one-ness’, which is a shared feeling of belongingness among users of a brand that consolidates loyalty to the brand. The current study adopted a social constructivist approach using an inductive strategy to explore different individuals’ perspectives and opinions of their social identities within OBCs and how this impacts their loyalty to the group and the brand, and it considered the role of smartphones in OBCs. The study applied social identity theory and used an online survey of 40 OBC members drawn from different countries. Findings from this study showed the psychological effects of social identity in OBCs and revealed the mechanisms mediating and moderating the relationship between members’ perceptions of their social identity and their commitment to the brand.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82 - 104
Number of pages23
JournalInterdisciplinary Journal of Economics and Business Law
Issue numberSpecial issue
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2023


  • Online brand communities (OBCs)
  • Social identity theory
  • Smartphones
  • Brand loyalty


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