Online brand experience: results from a master thesis
Firms have always been looking for ways to differentiate themselves from competitors, hoping to gain competitive advantages. Their approaches in seeking these advantages have evolved over time. Today, a potential source of differentiation is to create a superior experience for the customers.
Aiming to give firms an experience measurement tool, Brakus, Schmitt and Zarantonello (2009) were the first to conceptualize brand experience and also created a measurement scale. Additionally, the footprint of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be found centuries back in history. Today, companies are often acting on the premise that CSR is not merely the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do.
The purpose of my master thesis was to validate Brakus, Schmitt and Zarantonello’s (2009) brand experience construct in the online private banking industry. Within the research field of experience, there are a relatively low number of studies that look at drivers of experience and what their effects are. Thus, a second purpose was to take a closer look at CSR as a possible antecedent and brand attitude, purchase intentions and word of mouth as consequences of experience.
My thesis partially validated the brand experience construct and proved it to have decent, but not ideal, discriminant and convergent validity in an online private banking setting. The results also confirmed brand attitude, purchase intentions and the new dependent variable “word of mouth” as significant, positive consequences of brand experience. It also proved word of mouth as a consequence of CSR. Thus, based on my results focusing on creating superior brand experiences online could, in part, help gaining competitive advantages.
Brakus, J., Schmitt, B., and Zarantonello, L. (2009). Brand Experience: What Is It? How Is It Measured? Does It Affect Loyalty? Journal of Marketing, 73: 52-68.