The journey from loyalty to brand advocacy

Hele tekst

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The journey from Loyalty to

Brand Advocacy

University of Amsterdam

MSc in Business Administration

Master Thesis

Author: Adriana Frasin Student number: 6140491

Supervisor: Prof. A.C.J. Meulemans Co-reader: Prof. J. A. Tettero

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Contents

Contents……….3 Statement of Originality……….4 Preface………5 Keywords………..6 Executive Summary……….7 Chapter 1. Introduction……….8

Subchapter 1.1. Chapter Overview Subchapter 1.2. Context and motivation of the thesis Subchapter 1.3. Research questions Subchapter 1.4. Research objectives Chapter 2. Theoretical research: Literature review………..12

Subchapter 2.1. Introduction Subchapter 2.2. The link between Perceived Quality and Satisfaction Subchapter 2.3. The concepts of Trust and Commitment Subchapter 2.4. Loyalty as a key concept Subchapter 2.5. The concept of WOM? Subchapter 2.6. What is Brand Advocacy? Subchapter 2.7. What is a Super Promoter? Subchapter 2.8. Conclusion Chapter 3. Empirical Research: Design and Methodology………26

Subchapter 3.1. Research Method Subchapter 3.2. Questionnaire Design Subchapter 3.3. Data Collection Chapter 4. Empirical Research: Data Analysis………32

Chapter 5. Conclusions and Recommendations……….43

List of Figures………45

List of Tables……….45

List of References………..46

Appendix A: Survey Design………..53

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Statement of Originality

This document is written by Student Adriana Frasin, who declares to take full responsibility for the contents of this document.

I declare that the text and the work presented in this document is original and that no sources other than those mentioned in the text and its references have been used in creating it.

The Faculty of Economics and Business is responsible solely for the supervision of completion of the work, not for the contents.

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Preface

As part of my MSc in Business Administration, I have written this paper focused on Super Promoters and Brand Advocates mainly because I am big admirer of people with passion, people with enthusiasm and people who do not shy away from sharing it with the world. These are the dreamers, the change makers, the influential and the thought leaders in their social circles. Also, as a marketer, I am conducting my job daily with the consumer’s needs at heart, and investigating the stages that he/she is passing through towards the status of Brand Advocate, has helped me tremendously in figuring out how to target them.

My thesis is dedicated to my mother, to whom I am extremely grateful and forever in debt, for being by side during my decision to study abroad, for supporting me

emotionally during the times I have started balancing school and work. She has been my role model, my inspiration and my #1 fan. As well, I give thanks to my sister and to my best friend, for cheering me up and encouraging me to finalize the paper and graduate.

I would like to thank my supervisor, Prof. Meulemans, who has shown great support and outstanding flexibility throughout the time that I was writing this thesis. I am thankful for giving me the chance to work with him and for all the good advice he has shared with me. The process has been long, due to the fact that I have been working more than 50 hours per week, at the same time with my studies. But the moment has come to close another chapter of my life, at least for some time: the student years.

On this closing note, I am looking forward towards a world where consumers are not only satisfied with the products that brands develop for them, but actually thrilled and

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Keywords:

satisfaction, trust, commitment (affective, normative, continuance), loyalty (behavioral and attitudinal), enthusiasm, WOM, willingness to recommend, repurchase intentions, customer retention, brand preference, consumer advocacy, brand advocacy, evangelism marketing, market mavens, opinion leadership, co-creation, social influence, C2C

engagement, NPS, Super Promoters

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Executive Summary

“What causes consumers to become enthusiastic and affectively committed advocates on behalf of their preferred brands?” is the central question of this paper.

At first glance, it might seem that all that product/service providers have to do is to create satisfied customers. But eventually, the drivers of the various types of loyalty behaviors will assert more influence on the process of becoming brand advocates. If we start with first time customers – they have to be satisfied with the product they

purchased, have to trust its brand and become committed to it. If they would

recommend it to their family and friends, according to the NPS methodology, they would be considered loyal to the brand.

This paper aims to investigate and pin point the constructs that mediate the journey and transformation of loyal consumers into brand advocates, or Super Promoters, via means of a survey which was sent to a database of Philips promoters, Senseo owners who registered their product and had the highest NPS scores of 9 and 10. 200 responses were returned, enabling an analysis that used simple logistic and multiple regressions to probe the influence that a selected set of variables have on the Super Promoter status. The survey probed their satisfaction, trust and commitment with the Senseo brand, asked them to self-assess their enthusiasm towards the product or to answer socio-demographic inquiries. It also tested their influence in their network in terms of opinion leadership and market knowledge (mavenism), which the theory considered critical pre-requisites for becoming Super Promoters or brand advocates.

The results show that the hypothesized model with trust, affective commitment and market knowledge mediating the relationship between satisfaction and Super Promoter status was supported. Furthermore, market knowledge appears to be especially

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Chapter 1 – Introduction

1.1 Chapter Overview

The study encompasses 5 chapters (see Figure 2), which are based on a pre-research on available literature and online information on Brand Advocacy by using a set of keywords depicted in the word cloud above (see Figure 1).

Chapter 1 sets the ground basis of this paper by defining the context of the study, the

objectives and the research questions.

To compliment the introduction, Chapter 2 provides an extensive overview on

academic literature and introduces the concepts of NPS and Super Promoters from the business managerial world.

Chapter 3 explains how empirical research was started by collecting data via a

questionnaire, designed to survey a set of loyal consumers on their self-assessment of various constructs the literature review has introduced.

Chapter 4 includes the data analysis which shows the relationships between these

constructs and supports the hypotheses.

Chapter 5 closes the research with conclusions and recommendations for further

research and for managerial implications.

Figure 2. Chapter overview

Pre-research: Information on Brand Advocacy by using different keywords Chapter 1 Goals and research questions Research Model Chapter 2 Theoretical Framework Chapter 3 Empirical Research Data Collection Questionnaire

Chapter 5 Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter 4 Analysis Satisfaction Trust Commitment Market knowledge Advocacy

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1.2 Context and Problem Statement

The Consumer Relationship Lifecycle (MCorp Consulting, 2011) has been used as a starting point, in order to place the topic of the research in the context of the customer buying decision process. The relationship between the last three touchpoints,

constituting the Post-Purchase section, is further explored.

Figure 3. Consumer Relationship Lifecycle (MCorp Consulting, 2011)

Every company has developed relationships with its stakeholders - suppliers, employees, partners, media, the government, etc. - who have a high impact on the company’s ability to retain customers and grow. Not all companies manage to handle these

relations in a constructive way that would reach a large key audience, would draw them closer by building their loyalty, would drive retention, WOM and referrals and would create advocates of the brand. All of these, while growing year after year. The

touchpoints presented in Figure 1 are steps which companies are struggling to identify and improve.

When having a closer look (see Figure 3) to the post-purchase stages – Satisfaction, Loyalty and Advocacy – the strength of the relationship intensifies as the consumer further advances the path towards becoming an advocate. As the consumer discovers that the performance of the service/product meets expectations, he will need even more a branded experience which is delivered in a consistent manner, where trust, price and performance are key determinants of his loyalty. Many consumers will not move beyond loyalty. But those who do become advocates will be the engine of growth and will

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provide countless benefits through their active and enthusiastic recommendations of the company’s products/services.

1.3 Research Objectives

The research objectives are two-fold and they aim at contributing something new on the topic of brand advocacy to the existing body of literature and to offer tools to the

marketers to identify and recruit brand advocates:

 First, enriching the academic literature with the concept of Super Promoters, another name for Brand Advocates, understanding their journey and triggers from being loyal to becoming a Super Promoter

 Second, proposing a method of identification, design a new instrument for selecting them and identifying the Super Promoters from a pool of loyal consumers, in order to build a strong army of well-equipped brand advocates that a brand can employ in broadcasting its message

1.4 Research Questions

The central question examines what causes loyal consumers to become enthusiastic and affectively committed advocates on behalf of their preferred brands.

“What causes consumers to become enthusiastic and affectively committed advocates on behalf of their preferred brands?”

1. What criteria, according to the Super Promoter methodology

(Vogelaar, 2011) could be used to classify Super Promoters as such, by selecting them from a pool of loyal consumers?

2. Can the Super Promoter status be explained a proposed mediational customer advocacy model, including Satisfaction, Trust, Affective Commitment and Market Knowledge (see Figure 4)?

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(a) How does Satisfaction predict Super Promoter status?

(b) How does Satisfaction predict each of the other mediators: trust, affective commitment and market knowledge?

(c) What is the relationship between each of the moderators and Super Promoter status?

(d) Are the 3 variables Trust, Affective Commitment and Market Knowledge mediating the relationship between Satisfaction and Super Promoter status?

(e) Which one of them is a better predictor of Super Promoter status?

Figure 4. Mediational customer advocacy model

Satisfaction

Brand

Advocates

Trust

Affective Commitment

Market Knowledge

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Chapter 2 – Literature review

2.1 Introduction

Companies start to understand more and more that long term, sustainable competitive advantage that enables growth is connected to their ability to attract, retain, sustain and nurture the customer base (Anderson, Fornell and Mazvancheryl, 2004; Gruca and Rego, 2005; Rego, Billet and Morgan, 2009). To measure their performance, companies are looking at customer-based metrics such as trust and commitment (Bansal, Irving and Taylor, 2004; Garbarino and Johnson 1999; Palmatier et al., 2006; Verhoef, 2003), service quality perceptions (Zeithaml, Berry and PArasuraman, 1996), brand experience (Brakus, Schmitt and Sarantonello, 2009), brand-consumer connections (Fournier et al., 1998; Muñiz and O’Guinn, 2001), consumer identification (Ahearne, Bhattacharaya and Gruen, 2005), customer equity (Rust, Lemon and Zeithaml, 2004), etc.

This thesis aims at providing a framework that reflects the customer engagement process from the prospective stage to the partnership stage, with all its underlining mediating variables like satisfaction, loyalty, trust, affective commitment, positive WOM and advocacy. The research tries to capture which drivers the company has to mediate, in order to transform a prospective customer into an advocate of the brand or even a partner in co-creation.

From a strategic perspective, the template developed allows scholars and managers to fully understand how these behaviors are intertwined and to examine the descriptive and causative analysis of the relations between the components of the model and how strong their correlations are, if any.

Chapter 2 gives a theoretical overview on all the variables employed in the research topic. It starts by building on the definitions of Perceived Quality & Satisfaction, Trust & Commitment and Loyalty in order to identify what is missing in the literature and to select the most appropriate research questions for the present study. These three

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concepts are seen as the main antecedent drivers that finally create Brand Advocacy through the mediation of positive WOM.

2.2 The link between Perceived Quality and Satisfaction

Perceived quality is defined as the result of the comparison that a customer makes between the expectations about a product or a service and the perception of how that product or service has been performed (Caruana, 2002; Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry, 1994). Perceived quality is considered a core customer-based brand equity factor because it has been associated with the willingness to pay a price premium, brand purchase intent and brand choice (Aaker, 1991).

Satisfaction is one of the most studied constructs in the history of marketing

scholarship (Fournier and Mick, 1999; Szymanski and Henard, 2001). Advocacy is a key consequence of positive evaluations of the service (Anderson, 1998; Swan and Oliver, 1989; Zeithaml et al., 1996). Anderson shows in his study that delighted customers are more likely to give recommendations than those who had a more neutral satisfaction evaluation.

The link between perceived quality and satisfaction has been strongly supported by several studies (Chiou and Droge, 2006; Cronin, Brady and Hult, 2000; Olsen, 2002), but it has also been theoretically questioned (Henning-Thurau and Klee, 1997; Pappu and Quester, 2006). Oliver (1997) demonstrated that perceptions of high quality lead to brand loyalty because it is the basis of consumer satisfaction. Cronin and Taylor (1992) assess a few models and conclude that perceived quality leads to satisfaction. Lee and Back (2008) similarly found empirical evidence supporting this relationship in the branding context.

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2.3 The concepts of Trust and Commitment

Trust and Commitment have been identified as the most important concepts in the field of relationship marketing (Morgan and Hunt, 1994). In the same article, the authors define trust as the level of confidence that the consumer has in the reliability and integrity of the company, level which is achieved when expectations are fulfilled and the quality of the service is consistent. Commitment is usually defined as the extent to which an exchange partner desires to continue a valued relationship (Moorman et al., 1992), as an attitude towards the act of maintaining a relationship with a partner (Bansal et al., 2004; Fullerton, 2003). At its core, commitment consists of three distinct components: affective commitment, continuance commitment and normative

commitment (Meyer et al., 2002).

Affective commitment has been defined as the extent to which a customer identifies with and feels a positive attachment for a partner (Bansal et al., 2004; Fullerton, 2003; Gruen et al., 2000). The affective commitment is the psychological attachment, based on loyalty and affiliation of one exchange partner to the other (Bahttacharaya, Rao and Glynn, 1995; Gundlach, Achrol and Mentzer, 1995).

Continuance commitment is defined as the extent to which a customer feels bound

to a relational partner (Bansal et al., 2004; Fullerton, 2003; Gruen et al., 2000) whereas

normative commitment is defined as the construct to which a customer feels

obligated to do business with a partner (Bansal et al., 2004; Gruen et al., 2000).

To further underpin the hypotheses of this thesis, it has been found that commitment positively affects loyalty (Garbarino and Johnson, 1999; Morgan and Hunt, 1994). Amongst the findings of Fullerton’s study (2011) is the one that demonstrates that the degree to which customers will become advocates depends on the components of commitment. Thus, consistent with the previous literature on the topic, Fullerton finds that affective commitment is the strongest and most significant determinant of customer advocacy, but also that normative commitment has a considerable influence (Fullerton, 2003; Bloemer and Odekerken-Schroder, 2007).

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2.4 Loyalty – as a key concept

Brand loyalty can be defined as “a deeply held commitment to re-buy or re-patronize a preferred product/service in the future, thereby causing repetitive same-brand

purchasing, despite situational influences and marketing efforts having the potential to cause switching behavior” (Oliver, 1999, p.34). Dick and Basu (1994) propose that customer loyalty is the result of psychological processes and has behavioral

manifestations and should therefore incorporate both attitudinal and behavioral components.

The relationship between satisfaction and brand loyalty has been the focus of a study that investigates the effects of satisfaction and commitment on loyalty (Gustafsson, Johnson and Roos, 2005). Jones and Sasser (1995) argue that satisfaction does not necessarily lead to behavioral brand loyalty.

To measure loyalty, Reichheld (2003) has proposed the Net Promoter Score, an 11 points scale tool that ascertains customer’s loyalty towards certain products with one simple question: “Based on your experience with this product, how likely are you to recommend your <branded> product to a friend, relative or colleague?” Based on the answers to this question, the consumers can be categorized as “Promoters”, “Passives” or “Detractors”. The Net Promoter Score, NPS in Figure 5, is calculated by taking the percentage of customers who are Promoters (score 9 to 10) and subtracting the percentage of Detractors (score 0 to 6).

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Figure 5. NPS formula

If Reichheld is right in his assumption that willingness to provide recommendations is the strongest indicator of customer loyalty, then it is important to consider all drivers of advocacy, beyond mere satisfaction.

2.5 The concept of WOM

Word of mouth has suffered some alterations from the initial definition in which Arndt (1967, p.190) sees WOM as “oral, face to face communication between a perceived non-commercial communicator and a receiver concerning a brand, a product or a service offered for sale”. Twenty years later, Westbrook (1987, p.261) defines it as “informal communication directed at other consumers about the ownership, usage or

characteristics of particular goods and services and their sellers”. Another 20 years later, Word of Mouth Marketing Association, founded in 2005, defines WOM as “consumers providing information to other consumers” (WOMMA, 2008). All definitions convey WOM as an organic, natural, inter-personal communication about brands, products or services that can be either positive or negative.

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In the past, as stated above, WOM has been viewed from the classic perspective of two individual customers talking about a brand. This view appears incomplete today because different customers affect each other in many ways, sometimes even unknowingly. A broader view brings Customer-to-Customer (C2C) interactions in the spotlight, as the transfer of information from one customer or a group of customers to another customer or group of customers in such a way that influences their preferences, their purchasing decision and even the way they interact with others in the future (Libai et al., 2010). Companies have tried to influence the C2C interactions with the help of tools such as WOM agent campaign, viral marketing, buzz marketing or even referral reward programs (Godes et al., 2005).

WOMMA classifies WOM in two categories: organic WOM, that occurs naturally, without the company’s intervention and amplified WOM that occurs when campaigns that target creation or acceleration of WOM in new or existing communities, are

designed by marketers (WOMMA 2008).

WOM plays an important role in shaping recipients’ attitudes and intentions (Brown and Reingen, 1987; Harrison-Walker, 2001; Keaveney and Parthasarathy, 2001; Libai, Muller and Peres, 2009) as “WOM and especially personal recommendations have long been more powerful than media advertising in driving both trial and repeat purchase behavior” (Ostrom et al., 2010, p. 23).

Verlegh et al. (2008) answer the question of why do customers engage in WOM by putting forward four reasons: product enthusiasm, self-presentation, helping consumers and helping the firm. These motives appear similar to the ones Dichter (1966) and Sundaraman et al. (1998) found, but at a smaller scale.

McKinsey (2010) signals how important trust and influence are in WOM propagation: “marketers may spend millions of dollars on elaborately conceived advertising

campaigns, yet often what really makes up a consumer’s mind is not only simple, but also free: a word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted source”. Also they suggest three approaches towards WOM marketing: a consumer’s direct experience with a product or service – experiential WOM, a consumer exposed to traditional advertising

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passes on the message – consequential WOM and a marketer that uses celebrity endorsement – intentional WOM.

Figure 6. WOM process (McKinsey, 2010)

McKinsey (2010) points out in the process illustrated in Figure 6 that in order for a company to have a strong equity, fewer messages should be sent in terms of volume, by close/trusted, influential people that point out relevant key buying factors based on their own experience.

The positive effects of the antecedents of WOM, such as satisfaction, loyalty, service quality, commitment, trust and perceived quality are well established in the literature (de Matos and Vargas Rossi, 2008). The level of Satisfaction has an influence on repurchase intentions and recommendation intentions (Bearden and Tell, 1983; Maxham and Netemeyer, 2002a, b; Oliver, 1980; Ranaweera and Prahbu, 2003; Richins, 1983).

Loyalty is hypothesized as an antecedent of WOM because when customers are more

loyal to a given provider, they are also more likely to give positive recommendations, to have greater motivation to process new information about the company and to have stronger resistance to being persuaded by contrary information (Dick and Basu, 1994).

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Empirical studies have demonstrated that perceived quality is a relevant predictor of WOM (Bloemer et al., 1999; Boulding et al., 1993; Harrison-Walker 2001; Zeithaml et al., 1996). The positive relation presented in these studies demonstrates that the higher the service quality, the higher the WOM activity. Customers with higher commitment levels will have a greater likelihood of spreading positive WOM, being stimulated by a high satisfaction condition. The study of de Matos and Vargas Rossi (2008) reveals that commitment is the main correlate of WOM, followed by perceived value, quality, trust, satisfaction and loyalty. Also the study points out that the influence of loyalty on WOM is significantly higher when looking at actual repurchase behavior than when looking at

intentions. Another finding shows that satisfaction has a stronger relationship with

positive WOM than loyalty does and reinforces the notion that satisfied customers are not necessarily loyal (Matos et al., 2007; Reichheld, 1994).

The antecedents of WOM were presented in order to give a better overview on what triggers the process of word-of-mouth. This present study will attempt to find positive links between satisfaction, loyalty, trust and commitment when seen as antecedent variables of WOM, leading to Brand Advocacy.

Further research is needed to investigate which are the success factors of future WOM communication, what are the conditions under which consumers make

recommendations, does WOM work equally well in all industries and products, how reliable and valuable is electronic-WOM and is its effect similar to the one of traditional WOM’s.

2.6 What is Brand Advocacy?

“The driving force behind brand evangelism is that individuals simply want to make the world a better place. Evangelism is about selling your dream so that other people believe in it as much as you do”

Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist, Apple Computer, Inc.

Why do people give enthusiastic recommendations to their friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances and what triggers them to become reliable advocates of the brands

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they prefer? These questions have received consistent interest from many scholars over the years.

Throughout the researched literature, advocacy has been labeled as customer reference, evangelism marketing, C2C engagement, social influence and it has been correlated in one way or another to opinion leadership or market mavenism (Stokburger-Sauer and Hoyer, 2009).

According to Anderson (1998), Brown et al. (2005), Swan et al. (1989) advocacy is one of the consequences of customer satisfaction. Advocacy has been defined as the willingness of the customer to give strong recommendations and praise to other

consumers on behalf of a products or service supplier (Hill et al., 2006; Harrison-Walker, 2001). Companies are measuring more and more the willingness to recommend as a perceived consequence by the consumer of the performance and evaluation of the firm (Reichheld, 2006). It has even been forwarded the fact that the willingness to

recommend is a much bigger proof of loyalty than willingness to repurchase, because people enthusiastically recommend products or services to others when they have strong feelings of trust and commitment towards the brand (Mazzarol et al., 2007; Reichheld, 2003).

It is clear that customers become advocates of the brand when they are systematically pleased with level of service provided (White and Schneider, 2000). Advocacy is a kind of behavior in which consumers who are actively and attitudinally loyal to the brand engage (Bodet, 2008; Bontis et al., 2007; Ganesh et al., 2000). These consumers act as endorsers towards the brand because they are comfortable recommending the product, brand or service provider to the people they care for (Fullerton, 2003; Wangenheim and Bayon, 2004). However, source credibility is crucial for a message to be effective and it often depends on the sender being perceived as credible, believable, competent and trustworthy (Petty and Cacioppo, 1986). Besides credibility, one of the most important characteristics of a recommendation is its independence. The more positive the maker is rated, the more positively is his recommendation received (Röthlingshöfer, 2008). Fullerton (2010) has found in his study that affective commitment, described in the previous section, is the most significant determinant of consumer advocacy and that

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normative commitment also plays a positive and supporting role. This comes to support why the satisfaction alone, which is still a direct driver of customer advocacy (Fullerton, 2010), does not lead to forms of positive WOM and does not always result in advocacy in the absence of affective or normative commitment.

The brand advocacy is about creating a mission and a brand experience that are so inspiring to consumers that they become committed to a company and share their enthusiasm with others (Meiners et al., 2010). What makes brand advocacy so powerful today is the connection of the most powerful old means of persuasion, word-of-mouth, with the newest one, the social network (Fetherstonhaugh, 2009). The company has to take into consideration three main factors: the need of a good and successful product, being a strong brand that has emotional relationship with consumers and has a brand community and the creation of an open and transparent corporate and marketing communication that integrates the customer in the marketing process, gains their trust and generates long term relationship marketing (Meiners et al., 2010).

C2C engagement studies have given considerable attention to people with substantial social effects on others, sometimes labeled as opinion leaders, influentials, influencers or hubs (Goldenberg et al., 2006; Goldenberg et al., 2009; Watts and Dodds, 2007). The role of people with such characteristics should be further explored, especially the

mechanisms they use and the magnitude of their social influence in online and offline environment interactions.

In their study about consumer advisors, Stokburger-Sauer and Hoyer (2009) identify the drivers of market mavenism and opinion leadership and point out that consumer with tendencies towards these two traits represent powerful forces in the marketplace due to their influence on the buying decisions of the other consumers. The authors point out that these individuals are more or less satisfied than other consumers and they can be categorized according to their need for variation or to their product category

involvement. The conclusions of their study show that opinion leaders possess superior knowledge and can be a valuable construct in the co-creation process for a company. The same findings, when exploring the motives of WOM, were reached for the

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According to Lusch and Vargo (2006), customer co-creation involves “the participation in the creation of the core offering itself. It can occur through shared inventiveness, co-design or shared production of related goods.” Clearly, behaviors such as making suggestions to improve the consumption experience, helping and coaching service providers and helping other customers to consume better are all aspects of co-creation and consumer engagement.

The concept of brand community has received both academic attention from scholars (Fullerton, 2010; Kozinets, 2001; Muniz and O’Guinn, 2001) and managerial practice, from P&G with its Tremor consumer advocacy panel or from Harley-Davidson. The emergence of brand related customer communities as a unique type of social network has still to be researched in terms of how customers affect each other and create new forms of relationships with brands (Libai et al., 2010).

According to Figure 7, Kotler’s (1997, p.157) Customer Development Process, the customer follows a step by step process from the moment he is just an element of the market until he becomes a partner. The starting point is everyone who might

conceivably buy the products (suspects). A part of these suspects are considered by the company prospects that it hopes to transform into first-time customers and if the is gap between his quality expectations and the actual perceived one is small or inexistent, their repurchase intentions will materialize and they will become repeatcustomers and eventually clients, with whom the company will master the customer relationship

management. The challenge is now to transform these clients into members and then to

advocates who will enthusiastically recommend the brand others. After identifying them,

the last step is to turn them into partners and co-create tailored products and services with their help. It is important to mention though, that at any given step of the process the customer can become inactive or can defect.

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Figure 7. Consumer Development Process (Kotler, 1997)

In the attempt of integrating the above described concepts in Kotler’s Customer Development process, the framework in the present study could incorporate the following hypotheses for further study (see Figure 8):

- Perceived quality and satisfaction links First-time customers and Repeat customers.

- Loyalty links Repeat Customers to Clients

- Trust and Affective Commitment links Clients to Advocates - Co-creation links Advocates to Partners

First-time customers

Repeat

customers Clients Advocates Partners

Suspects

Prospects

Disqualified

prospects

Inactive or

ex-customers

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Figure 8. A conceptual framework for the process of engagement

2.7 What is a Super Promoter?

In his book, The Super Promoter (2011), Rijn Vogelaar introduces the concept of the Super Promoter as someone who personifies the power of enthusiasm, shares the enthusiasm and infects others with it, customers who make recommendations and bring new customers in, employees who get really involved and change the work

environment, members from the public who stand up to defend something they believe in, or people acting behind the scenes to ensure sales growth, building a good

reputation or creating more effective management.

In this study, the following definition of the concept will be used:

Super Promoters - Highly satisfied customers who share and wear their enthusiasm and influence other people by spreading it around, through offline and online media.

First-time

customers

Repeat

customers

Clients

Advocates

Partners

Inactive or

ex-customers

Perceived quality

Satisfaction

Loyalty

Trust & Affective

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The concept of the Super Promoter is built on three pillars: Enthusiasm, Sharing and Influence. Enthusiasm is a result of experiencing new and exciting products, of having a positive surprise after receiving unexpected excellent service, of authenticity without advertorial hoax, of an open and honest company attitude towards its customers.

Sharing can be done spontaneously with active WOM, passively when prompted or by

copycat behavior: explicit invitation – making a recommendation or implicit invitation – radiating enthusiasm. Influence can be attained by reciprocation, when the Super Promoter makes recommendations to his social environment and expects his environment to return the favor when chance permits it, by being committed and consistent in opinions and behaviors, by social proof, when following the herd is a safe choice and it simplifies decision making, by being liked and having charisma, the

influence increases and the Super Promoter is taken seriously by his own crowd of same age, social class and attitudes, by having a certain degree of formal authority by virtue or responsibilities, by having the perception of urgency, when people are more easily persuaded and they take any advice as a hot tip.

2.8 Conclusion

When looking at all these constructs, we ask ourselves what causes consumers to become enthusiastic and affectively committed advocates on behalf of their preferred brands? At first glance, it might seem that all that product/service providers have to do is to create satisfied customers. But eventually, the drivers of the various types of loyalty behaviors will assert more influence on the process of becoming brand advocates.

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Chapter 3 – Empirical Research:

Design and Methodology

3.1 Research Method

The empirical study was started with some observations, followed by formulation of the hypotheses. In order to investigate the proposed hypotheses and to show the strength of the relationships between them, a survey method was put in place. The survey model was tested on customers of Philips Senseo, using as a source an internal NPS database. They were asked to respond to a series of questions ranging from self-assessing their level of influence in a group, their level of satisfaction with the product, the actual state of their enthusiasm towards the product to answering socio-demographic inquiries. The primary purpose of this study was to address the research question: How do consumers become enthusiastic and affectively committed advocates for their preferred brands? This study tested a newly proposed model of customer engagement that examines how other variables move customers through the Kotler’s Customer Development Process to become strong brand advocates.

Model and Hypotheses

This study examines how loyal customers (satisfied first-time and repeat customers) transform into Super Promoters (i.e., advocates and partners for the brand). Past research documents the connection between satisfaction and customers’ loyalty, and later advocacy on behalf of the brand (Gustafsson, Johnson and Roos, 2005). Once a customer is loyal, his or her likelihood of becoming an advocate may be shaped by developing trust and affective commitment that motivate sharing behaviors. This motivation, combined with a strong knowledge of the market, may drive customers to be extraordinary supporters of the brand. The present study tests a model of the customer process, where trust, affective commitment, and market knowledge mediate the relationship between customer satisfaction and Super Promoter status (see Figure 9).

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Figure 9. Mediational customer advocacy model.

3.2 Questionnaire Design

Participants

Customers who purchased a Philips Senseo®, who previously registered their product on the Customer Care web portal, and had responded to other questionnaires sent by the company received an invitation to participate in the study. They were already

classified as loyal consumers (i.e. promoters with an NPS score of 9 and 10 in the Philips database). Two hundred customers chose to participate and completed the survey. Within the 200 participants, age ranged from 25 to 90 years old (M = 59.28, SD = 12.68), and gender was almost equally represented, with 45% (90) male participants and 55% (110) female participants. The majority of participants had completed MBO (56, 28%), followed by LBO/VMBO/MAVO (36, 18.0%), HBO (Bachelor; 36, 18.0%), and HAVO/VWO (28, 14.0%). Some participants have only completed Geen/Basisschool (6, 3.0%), while others had completed WO (Master, PhD; 7, 3.5%). Almost all of the participants either were currently unemployed (67, 33.5%) or had a vocational

occupation (63, 31.5%). While income levels ranged from less than €9,999 per year to more than €100,000 per year, the most common income levels were €20,000 to €29,000 (26, 13.0%) and €30,000 to €39,999 (27, 13.5%).

Only loyal customers were included in the sample, as indicated by their ratings of how likely they were to recommend Philips Senseo® to their friends, family, co-workers, and

Satisfaction

Brand

Advocates

Trust

Affective Commitment

Market Knowledge

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acquaintances on a scale from 0 (extremely unlikely) to 10 (extremely likely). Responses to this item were scored similarly to Net Promoter Score introduced by Reichheld (2003), with consumers categorized as “Promoters” if they rate

recommendation likelihood as a 9 or 10, “Passives” with ratings of 7 or 8, or

“Detractors” with ratings from 0 to 6. All of the participants had NPS of 9 or 10, which classifies the entire sample as Promoters (i.e., loyal customers). Past research has highlighted the importance of satisfaction, trust, and commitment in generating loyal customers (Gustafsson, Johnson, and Roos, 2005). Thus, concurrent validity of

participants’ NPS was demonstrated by high satisfaction (M = 3.70, SD = 1.26), trust (M = 3.95, SD = 1.00), and affective commitment (M = 2.64, SD = 1.27) ratings, with the majority of respondents giving agree or strongly agree ratings for trust (67%) and satisfaction (61%).

Measures

Participants completed a 40-question online survey. First, participants provided their background and demographic information, including their name, gender, date of birth, highest level of education completed, profession, income level, email address, and telephone number. They also responded to several items about their attitudes and behaviors, to be used only for a descriptive profile of Super Promoters. Specifically, participants were asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed with several statements using a 5-point Likert scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Examples of the questions include, “People ask me about information on new products, places to shop, sales, or discounts,” “I can easily convince other people of my ideas,” and “I am seen by others as an enthusiastic person.” They also selected the statement that described them best among three options: “I take decisions based on my feelings,” “I take decisions based on facts,” and “I take decisions by consulting other people.” They also provided information about their online and social networks (e.g., average amount of hours spent online, number of contacts in their mobile phone, and number of contacts on their social media accounts).

Sharing behaviors were measured using items asking about how and when participants shared their enthusiasm about the Philips Senseo® with others. Specifically, they were asked: (a) With whom do you share your enthusiasm about your Senseo? (b) In which

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of the following situations have you recommended your Senseo? (c) Where you share your enthusiasm about Senseo on the internet? and (d) their agreement with the statement “I often share my opinions with others.” The sum of the number of different groups of people, number of situations, number of online locations, and rating of agreement indicated the participants’ degree of sharing behaviors (with missing values replaced with 0 to permit the calculation of a sum).

Using a 5-point Likert scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree, participants rated their agreement with the statement, “The quality of my Philips Senseo® meets my expectations,” as measure of satisfaction, and, “I believe the brand Philips Senseo® is trustworthy and keeps its promises,” as a measure of trust. To measure enthusiasm, participants were asked if they are “more or less enthusiastic about [their] Senseo than when [they] started using the product” (with less enthusiastic scored as -1, just as enthusiastic scored as 0, and more enthusiastic scored as 1), and their level of

agreement with the statements, “I like talking about new products with my friends,” and “I am seen by others as an enthusiastic person” (both scored on a 5-point Likert scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree). The sum of 3 item responses indicated enthusiasm level. All missing responses were replaced with a value of 0 to permit the calculation of a sum for enthusiasm.

Three types of commitment were measured, affective, normative, and continuance, using participant agreement ratings with 3 statements: “I feel emotionally attached to the brand Philips Senseo,” “I am satisfied with my Philips Senseo because of its features (design, ease of use, speed of preparation),” and “I have the feeling that Philips Senseo is the only brand I can buy when I want to buy a coffee machine”), respectively. Only the rating for affective commitment was used in this study, as normative commitment is conceptually redundant with customer satisfaction, and continuance commitment is not relevant to the theoretical examination of the behavior and characteristics of Super Promoters.

Opinion leadership (a component of influence) was measured by the sum of the ratings for 8 items: “People ask me about information on new products, places to shop, sales, or discounts,” “People think of me as a good source of information when it comes to

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new products or sales,” “I am a person who knows a lot about products and likes to help people by sharing this info with others,” “In a group, I am often the central point,” “I can easily convince other people o my ideas,” “In discussions about Philips Senseo, I convince my friends of my ideas,” “Out of all these people, what percentage do you think would/did by a Senseo, following your recommendations?” (coded as “0” for less than 1% and “1” for 1% or more), and “Do you think you would/did play an important role in other people’s decision to buy a Senseo?” (coded “0” for did not play a role and “1” for played a role in at least one person’s decision). All missing responses were replaced with a value of 0 to permit the calculation of a sum for opinion leadership. Market knowledge (another component of influence) was measured by the sum of the ratings on 3 items: “Compared to my circle of friends, I am very likely to be asked about coffee machines,” “In general, I talk to my friends about coffee machines,” and “When I talk about coffee machines, I give a great deal of information. All variables, together with their respective questions, are summarized in Figure 10.

Figure 10. Overview of the variables employed in the survey

Satisfaction

The quality of my Philips Senseo® meets my expectations

Trust

I believe the brand Philips Senseo® is trustworthy and keeps its promises

Commitment

I feel emotionally attached to the brand Philips Senseo® I am satisfied with my Philips Senseo® because of its features (design, ease of use, speed of preparation) I have the feeling that Philips Senseo® is the only brand I

can buy when I want to buy a coffee machine

Loyalty (NPS score)

How likely are you to recommend Philips Senseo® to your friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances?

Enthusiasm Sharing/WOM

Influence/Opinion Leadership

Influence/ Market knowledge

I like talking about new products with my friends I am seen by others as an enthusiastic person Are you more or less enthusiastic about your Senseo® than when you started using this product?

Where do you share your enthusiasm about Senseo® on the internet? In which of the following situations have you recommended your Senseo®? With whom do you share your enthusiasm about your Senseo®?

People ask me about information on new products, places to shop, sales or discounts

How did you become a Senseo® owner?

People think of me as a good source of information when it comes to new products or sales

I am a person who knows a lot about products and likes to help people by sharing this info with others

In a group I am often the central point I can easily convince other people of my ideas

I often share my opinions with others

In discussions about Philips Senseo®, I convince my friends of my ideas Out of all these people, what percentage do you think would/did buy a Senseo®, following your recommendation?

Do you think you would/did play an important role in other people’s decision to buy a Senseo®?

Compared to my circle of friends, I am very likely to be asked about coffee machines

In general, I talk to my friends about coffee machines

When I talk to my friends about coffee machines, I give a great deal of information

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3.3 Data Collection

Participants received an email inviting them to participate in the study, with the link to the survey online. The introductory page of the survey explained to the participants the purpose of the study, the estimated time needed to participate, and noted the risks and benefits of participation before asking if they were willing to participate. People who agreed to participate were presented with the survey items. After completing the survey item, participants received a debriefing statement.

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Chapter 4 – Empirical Research:

Data Analysis

To summarize again the double purpose of this thesis study, the 2 main questions ask about a set of criteria that would enable companies to identify the Super Promoters from their database of loyal consumers and investigate the mediational relationship between satisfaction, trust, affective commitment and market knowledge in relation with Super Promoter status.

1. What criteria, according to the Super Promoter methodology

(Vogelaar, 2011) could be used to classify Super Promoters as such, by selecting them from a pool of loyal consumers?

2. Can the Super Promoter status be explained a proposed mediational customer advocacy model, including Satisfaction, Trust, Affective Commitment and Market Knowledge (see Figure 4)?

(a) How does Satisfaction predict Super Promoter status?

(b) How does Satisfaction predict each of the other mediators: trust, affective commitment and market knowledge?

(c) What is the relationship between each of the moderators and Super Promoter status?

(d) Are the 3 variables Trust, Affective Commitment and Market Knowledge mediating the relationship between Satisfaction and Super Promoter status?

(e) Which one of them is a better predictor of Super Promoter status? To answer the first question and establish the Super Promoter status, a classification method that depended upon the three pillars established by past research has been used: enthusiasm, sharing, and influence (Vogelaar, 2011). A participant was considered a Super Promoter if he or she was in the top 25% of scores for each of the three

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respondents out of the total of 200 participants) met the criteria for this category. These people were coded with 1, while the rest of the respondents with 0 (Table 1).

Table 1. Super Promoter classification table

] Observed Predicted SuperPromoter Percentage Correct .00 1.00 Step 1 SuperPromoter .00 162 0 100.0 1.00 24 0 .0 Overall Percentage 87.1

a. The cut value is .500

To answer the second question, together with its underlying sub-questions, by using Baron & Kenny’s (1986) approach to mediational analysis, direct mediation effects were tested in four steps:

 logistic regression analysis with satisfaction predicting Super Promoter status,

 regression analyses with satisfaction predicting each of the mediators, including trust, affective commitment, and market knowledge,

 logistic regression analyses with each of the mediators predicting Super Promoter status, and

 multiple regression analysis with satisfaction, trust, affective commitment, and market knowledge predicting Super Promoter status.

First, Table 2 shows a binary logistic regression established satisfaction as a significant predictor Super Promoter status, χ2(1) = 6.016, p = .014 (-2 Log Likelihood = 137.034, Cox & Snell R2 = .032, Nagelkerke R2 = .059). People with higher levels of satisfaction were more likely to be Super Promoters (B = .497, SE = .224, Wald (1) = 4.913, p = .027). The model with satisfaction alone predicts 87.1% of the Super Promoter statuses correctly.

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Table 2. Satisfaction as a predictor of Super Promoter status

Chi-square df Sig.

Step 6.016 1 .014

Block 6.016 1 .014

Model 6.016 1 .014

Model Summary

Step -2 Log likelihood Cox & Snell R Square Nagelkerke R Square

1 137.034a .032 .059

a. Estimation terminated at iteration number 6 because parameter estimates changed by less than .001.

Variables in the Equation

B S.E. Wald df Sig. Exp(B) 95% C.I.for EXP(B) Lower Upper Step 1a Satisfaction .497 .224 4.913 1 .027 1.644 1.059 2.552

Constant -3.880 .967 16.108 1 .000 .021 a. Variable(s) entered on step 1: Satisfaction.

Second, simple regressions demonstrated that satisfaction significantly predicted each of the mediators, including trust in Table 3 (β = .711, t(1)¬ = 13.65, p < .001), affective commitment in Table 4 (β = .334, t(1)¬ = 4.78, p < .001), and market knowledge in Table 5 (β = .205, t(1)¬ = 2.80, p = .006). People with higher levels of satisfaction tended to have higher levels of trust, affective commitment, and market knowledge.

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Table 3. Dependent Variable: Trust

Coefficientsa

Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients

t Sig.

B Std. Error Beta

1

(Constant) 1.821 .164 11.094 .000

Satisfaction - The quality of my Philips Senseo® meets my expectations

.571 .042 .711 13.650 .000

a. Dependent Variable: Trust - I believe the brand Philips Senseo® is trustworthy and keeps its promises

Table 4. Dependent variable: Affective Commitment

Coefficientsa

Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients

t Sig.

B Std. Error Beta

1

(Constant) 1.382 .278 4.965 .000

Satisfaction - The quality of my Philips Senseo® meets my expectations

.339 .071 .334 4.775 .000

a. Dependent Variable: Commitment (Affective)

Table 5. Dependent variable: Market Knowledge

Coefficientsa

Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients

t Sig.

B Std. Error Beta

1

(Constant) 5.730 .661 8.666 .000

Satisfaction - The quality of my Philips Senseo® meets my expectations

.474 .169 .205 2.800 .006

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Third, further logistic regressions examined the relationship between each mediator and Super Promoter status. Trust in Table 6, χ2(1) = 12.257, p < 001 (87.0% correct

classification), affective commitment in Table 7, χ2(1) = 7.367, p = .007 (87.0% correct classification), and market knowledge in Table 8, χ2(1) = 42.092, p < .001 (91.2% correct classification) significantly predicted Super Promoter status. People were more likely to be Super Promoters if they have higher levels of trust (B = .998, SE = .333, Wald (1) = 8.975, p = .003), affective commitment (B = .477, SE = .182, Wald (1) = 6.909, p = .009), or market knowledge (B = .564, SE = .108, Wald (1) = 27.311, p < .001).

Table 6. Trust as a predictor of Super Promoter status

Omnibus Tests of Model Coefficients

Chi-square df Sig. Step 1 Step 12.257 1 .000 Block 12.257 1 .000 Model 12.257 1 .000 Classification Tablea Observed Predicted SuperPromoter Percentage Correct .00 1.00 Step 1 SuperPromoter .00 161 0 100.0 1.00 24 0 .0 Overall Percentage 87.0

a. The cut value is .500

Variables in the Equation

B S.E. Wald df Sig. Exp(B) 95% C.I.for EXP(B) Lower Upper

Step 1a

Trust .998 .333 8.975 1 .003 2.714 1.412 5.215 Constant -6.146 1.512 16.531 1 .000 .002

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Table 7. Affective commitment as a predictor of Super Promoter status

Omnibus Tests of Model Coefficients

Chi-square df Sig. Step 1 Step 7.367 1 .007 Block 7.367 1 .007 Model 7.367 1 .007 Classification Tablea Observed Predicted SuperPromoter Percentage Correct .00 1.00 Step 1 SuperPromoter .00 161 0 100.0 1.00 24 0 .0 Overall Percentage 87.0

a. The cut value is .500

Variables in the Equation

B S.E. Wald df Sig. Exp(B) 95% C.I.for EXP(B) Lower Upper

Step 1a Commitment .477 .182 6.909 1 .009 1.612 1.129 2.301

Constant -3.296 .620 28.259 1 .000 .037 a. Variable(s) entered on step 1: Commitment.

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Table 8. Market Knowledge as a predictor of Super Promoter status

Omnibus Tests of Model Coefficients

Chi-square df Sig. Step 1 Step 42.092 1 .000 Block 42.092 1 .000 Model 42.092 1 .000 Classification Tablea Observed Predicted SuperPromoter Percentage Correct .00 1.00 Step 1 SuperPromoter .00 168 2 98.8 1.00 15 9 37.5 Overall Percentage 91.2

a. The cut value is .500

Variables in the Equation

B S.E. Wald df Sig. Exp(B) 95% C.I.for EXP(B) Lower Upper

Step 1a MarketKnowledge .564 .108 27.311 1 .000 1.758 1.423 2.173

Constant -7.078 1.120 39.911 1 .000 .001 a. Variable(s) entered on step 1: MarketKnowledge.

Lastly, the final step in the mediation analysis was a logistic regression including satisfaction and all three of the mediators. The hypothesis that trust, affective

commitment, and market knowledge would mediate the relationship between customer satisfaction and Super Promoter status was supported. Satisfaction significantly

predicted Super Promoter status in the first model, which excluded the mediators, but was no longer a significant predictor once the mediators were added to the model. A logistic regression with satisfaction and trust predicting Super Promoter status in Table 9 (χ2(2) = 12.203, p = .002) found that satisfaction was fully mediated (determined by comparing the significance of the predictor without the mediator in the model, B = .497, SE = .224, Wald (1) = 4.913, p = .027, to the significance of the predictor with the mediator in the model, B = -.015, SE = .275, Wald (1) = .003, p = .955).

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The lack of significance of satisfaction as a predictor when affective commitment (χ2(2) = 9.743, p = .008, B = .344, SE = .232, Wald (1) = 2.199, p = .138) and market knowledge (χ2(2) = 44.724, p < .001, B = .225, SE = .235, Wald (1) = .920, p = .337) were in the model are evidence of full mediation for those variables, as well.

Trust (B = 1.007, SE = .418, Wald (1) = 5.790, p = .016), affective commitment (B = .373, SE = .190, Wald (1) = 3.837, p = .05) and market knowledge (B = .562, SE = .113, Wald (1) = 24.872, p < .001) remained significant predictors of Super Promoter status, further supporting their roles as mediators.

Table 9. Satisfaction and Trust as predictors of Super Promoter status

Omnibus Tests of Model Coefficients

Chi-square df Sig.

Step 1

Step 12.203 2 .002

Block 12.203 2 .002

Model 12.203 2 .002

Variables in the Equation

B S.E. Wald df Sig. Exp(B)

Step 1a

Satisfaction -.015 .275 .003 1 .955 .985

Trust 1.007 .418 5.790 1 .016 2.737

Constant -6.114 1.507 16.466 1 .000 .002 a. Variable(s) entered on step 1: Satisfaction, Trust.

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Table 10. Satisfaction and Affective Commitment as predictors of Super Promoter

status

Omnibus Tests of Model Coefficients

Chi-square df Sig.

Step 1

Step 9.743 2 .008

Block 9.743 2 .008

Model 9.743 2 .008

Variables in the Equation

B S.E. Wald df Sig. Exp(B)

Step 1a

Satisfaction .344 .232 2.199 1 .138 1.411 Commitment .373 .190 3.837 1 .050 1.452 Constant -4.351 1.001 18.898 1 .000 .013 a. Variable(s) entered on step 1: Satisfaction, Commitment.

Table 11. Satisfaction and Market Knowledge as predictors of Super Promoter status

Omnibus Tests of Model Coefficients

Chi-square df Sig.

Step 1

Step 44.724 2 .000

Block 44.724 2 .000

Model 44.724 2 .000

Variables in the Equation

B S.E. Wald df Sig. Exp(B)

Step 1a

Satisfaction .225 .235 .920 1 .337 1.253 MarketKnowledge .562 .113 24.872 1 .000 1.753 Constant -7.800 1.381 31.897 1 .000 .000 a. Variable(s) entered on step 1: Satisfaction, MarketKnowledge.

To examine whether one of the mediators was more or less influential than the others, a multiple logistic regression included satisfaction and all of the mediators together in Table 12, rather than in separate analyses, χ2(1) = 48.099, p < .001 (-2 Log Likelihood = 93.264, Cox & Snell R2 = .234, Nagelkerke R2 = .431). The model predicted 88.3% of the Super Promoter statuses correctly. As with the regressions with the individual

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.743) by trust (B = .838, SE = .479, Wald (1) = 3.065, p = .080), affective commitment (B = -.188, SE = .245, Wald (1) = .588, p = .443), and market knowledge (B = .578, SE = .122, Wald (1) = 22.525, p < .001).

Although trust, affective commitment, and market knowledge all significantly predicted Super Promoter status when examined alone, trust and affective commitment were no longer significant predictors when all three of mediators were in the model. When the mediational effects of trust, commitment, and market knowledge were combined, market knowledge was the strongest mediator, above and beyond the effects of the other mediators.

Table 12. Satisfaction, Trust, Affective Commitment and Market Knowledge as

predictors of Super Promoter status Omnibus Tests of Model Coefficients

Chi-square df Sig. Step 1 Step 48.099 4 .000 Block 48.099 4 .000 Model 48.099 4 .000 Model Summary

Step -2 Log likelihood Cox & Snell R Square

Nagelkerke R Square

1 93.264a .234 .431

a. Estimation terminated at iteration number 7 because parameter estimates changed by less than .001.

Classification Tablea Observed Predicted SuperPromoter Percentage Correct .00 1.00 Step 1 SuperPromoter .00 150 6 96.2 1.00 15 9 37.5 Overall Percentage 88.3

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Variables in the Equation

B S.E. Wald df Sig. Exp(B)

Step 1a Satisfaction -.105 .320 .107 1 .743 .901 Trust .838 .479 3.065 1 .080 2.313 Commitment -.188 .245 .588 1 .443 .829 MarketKnowledge .578 .122 22.525 1 .000 1.782 Constant -9.649 1.904 25.671 1 .000 .000 a. Variable(s) entered on step 1: Satisfaction, Trust, Commitment, MarketKnowledge.

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Chapter 5 – Conclusions and

recommendations

Academic implications

The hypothesized model with trust, affective commitment, and market knowledge mediating the relationship between satisfaction and Super Promoter status was

supported. Satisfaction did not predict Super Promoter status, once the mediators were accounted for. Rather, high satisfaction predicted higher levels of trust, commitment, and market knowledge, which then predicted Super Promoter status. These findings suggest that the transformation from loyal customer to Super Promoter takes more than just satisfaction. Although satisfaction has been linked to advocacy in past research by Anderson (1998), Brown et al. (2005), Swan et al. (1989), this study demonstrates that loyal customers’ satisfaction contributes to their development of strong trust and affective commitment to the brand, along with knowledge about the market. The combination of high levels of trust, affective commitment, and market knowledge

encourages them to become Super Promoters. Managers today are in need of a different method to measure how content their consumers are, besides only satisfaction or

market share. They need to measure their enthusiasm in a more accurate way, to make sure the consumers are returning, they are happy and they share their positive feelings with people around, recruiting more consumers.

Further, market knowledge appears to be especially important in the path to becoming a Super Promoter. Market knowledge gives the consumer the title of market maven – he/she can influence others’ opinions and behavior via the information possessed.

Managerial implications

Advocates are incredible creators of reliable information and they influence opinions and purchases of their friends. They love to help others, but they also like to be recognized for it. They talk about their preferences, they are making decisions based on feelings or reason and are willing to solve problems. They will be thankful you asked, appreciative you have connected with them further and grateful for ongoing support and respect. A company can look for them, give them exclusive membership to an advocacy platform,

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offer them content that they can share with their audiences or use their knowledge for co-creation purposes.

Future research

Some limitations of the present study that come to mind might be that the paper has been using a small sample size of only 200 respondents. As well, by selecting only loyal customers opportunities might be missed in investigating what the passives (customers with an NPS score of 7 or 8) need to become Super Promoters. Also, there is no

objective, established measure for classifying Super Promoters at this moment in academic literature, no psychometrically-sound measures for satisfaction, or the rest of the mediators. The analysis examines the direct effects of mediation, but not the indirect effects. Another limitation of the study is that all responses given to the questionnaire are based on self-perceived attitudes, rather than more objective measures. It appears that a longitudinal design would be more appropriate for examining transformation or changes from loyal customers to Super Promoters.

More research is needed to investigate which are the success factors of future WOM communication, what are the conditions under which consumers make

recommendations, does WOM work equally well in all industries and products, how reliable and valuable is electronic-WOM and is its effect similar to the one of traditional WOM’s.

In the attempt of integrating the concepts in Kotler’s Customer Development process, the framework in the present study can incorporate the following hypotheses for further study (see Figure 8): Perceived quality and satisfaction links First-time customers and Repeat customers; Loyalty links Repeat Customers to Clients; Trust and Affective Commitment links Clients to Advocates; Co-creation links Advocates to Partners.

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List of Figures:

Figure 1. Brand advocacy word cloud Figure 2. Chapter overview

Figure 3. Consumer Relationship Lifecycle (MCorp Consulting, 2011) Figure 4. Mediational customer advocacy model

Figure 5. NPS formula

Figure 6. WOM process (McKinsey, 2010)

Figure 7. Consumer Development Process (Kotler, 1997)

Figure 8. A conceptual framework for the process of engagement Figure 9. Mediational customer advocacy model

Figure 10. Overview of the variables employed in the survey

List of Tables:

Table 1. Super Promoter classification table

Table 2. Satisfaction as a predictor of Super Promoter status Table 3. Dependent Variable: Trust

Table 4. Dependent variable: Affective Commitment Table 5. Dependent variable: Market Knowledge Table 6. Trust as a predictor of Super Promoter status

Table 7. Affective commitment as a predictor of Super Promoter status Table 8. Market Knowledge as a predictor of Super Promoter status Table 9. Satisfaction and Trust as predictors of Super Promoter status

Table 10. Satisfaction and Affective Commitment as predictors of Super Promoter

status

Table 11. Satisfaction and Market Knowledge as predictors of Super Promoter status Table 12. Satisfaction, Trust, Affective Commitment and Market Knowledge as

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