The increasing dynamics between consumers, social groups and brands

Hans Ruediger Kaufmann, Sandra Maria Correia Loureiro, Gianpaolo Basile, Demetris Vrontis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide a contribution to advancing knowledge on the more recent phenomenon of social brand community. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on an extensive interdisciplinary literature review in areas such as sociology, management, and marketing. Three interrelated and consecutively developed conceptualizations resulting from a co-operation of the researchers over the last three years are presented to explain the influence of the evolution of current social trends on the relationship between consumers and brands in different contexts (socio-demographic aspects and culture). The conceptualizations have been applied to a qualitative case study on Cypriot consumers, which conducted in-depth expert interviews and focus groups. The research project has been designed in three stages: the first stage elicited thenature of relationships between consumer, brands and social groups; the second stage was concerned with differentiating consumer behaviour and segmentation patterns in the various stages; finally, the last one conceptualized the influence of culture on the brand-consumer relationship and benefited from a progressive knowledge of the researchers in the field of embedded learning and human branding. Findings: The first conceptualization (Siano and Basile) explains the various stages of the evolution of the relationship between the consumer and the brand. The second conceptualization proposes a new segmentation and categorization pattern of brand consumers and their respective behaviors derived from the different stages of the consumer-brand relationship development (Siano and Basile; Siano, Kaufmann and Basile). The third conceptualization has been developed from the findings of an exploratory study on Cypriot brand related consumer behavior (Kitsios and Kaufmann), which had expanded the previous two conceptualizations by integrating cultural aspects. Beyond that, the third conceptualization integrates the influence of embedded learning and stimulant experience on the consumer-brand relationship. Originality/value: The paper provides innovative knowledge on a new quality, even new paradigm, of consumer-brand-social group relations leading to newly arising segmentation patterns and socially responsible marketing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)404-419
    Number of pages16
    JournalQualitative Market Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


    • Brand community
    • Brands
    • Consumer behaviour
    • Cyprus
    • Embedded learning
    • Learning
    • Social identity


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