Corporate impression formation in online communities: a qualitative study

Hallier Willi, Christine, Nguyen, Bang, Melewar, T. C. and Dennis, Charles ORCID logoORCID: (2014) Corporate impression formation in online communities: a qualitative study. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 17 (4) . pp. 410-440. ISSN 1352-2752 [Article] (doi:10.1108/QMR-07-2013-0049)

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Purpose: This study aims to evaluate elements of corporate communication in online communities (OCs) and their influence on corporate impression formation. Interactive online platforms such as OCs are growing. Companies are discovering their importance and increasingly include OCs in their communication activities. The present study identifies the underlying components relevant to successful corporate communication in OCs, and further explore if and how online community members (OCMs) expect companies to communicate with them, explaining how corporate impressions are formed.

Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative research method was chosen, consisting of two stages. In stage one, seventeen expert interviews with academics and practitioners were conducted, and in stage two, twelve OCMs were interviewed to clarify the concepts and gain new insights.

Findings: The study gains new knowledge relating to corporate communication in OCs and image formation. Specifically, the authors identify and confirm important key constructs in corporate impression formation in OCs, namely, relevance of messages, communication style, social context cues, affiliation, perceived similarity, source credibility and interpersonal communication. Furthermore, a conceptual model is proposed on the relationship between communication elements relevant in online communities and their influence on corporate impression.

Theoretical and practical implications: The study helps to refine existing concepts of corporate impression formation in OCs. It is suggested that understanding how corporate impression is formed in OCs helps companies to participate in virtual networks, improving their corporate impression.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Marketing, Branding and Tourism
Item ID: 18976
Notes on copyright: This is the accepted version of the manuscript "Corporate impression formation in online communities: a qualitative study", forthcoming/published in the journal "Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal" available via the journal site at: This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here ( Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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Depositing User: Tc Melewar
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2016 12:59
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 23:24

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