The Influence of Word of Mouth Communication on Brand Equity: Receiver Perspectives

REGINA VIRVILAITE, DOVILE TUMASONYTE, LAIMONA SLIBURYTE

Abstract


It is indeed important to remember that brand equity is no longer valued by large sums of money that companies invest; instead customers are dictating the value of brand equity by what they are saying to each other. Therefore, this study focused on evaluating the influence of word of mouth communication (message characteristics and their elements) on various brand equity dimensions (including brand loyalty, brand association, brand awareness and perceived quality). The purpose of the research was to investigate the influence of word of mouth communication on brand equity.

Methodology. The methodological groundwork of the empirical study was formed of scientific research studies analysis in word of mouth communication and brand equity (Pappu et al. (2005) Gil et al. (2007), Bill and Chan (2009), Hawley and Tong (2009), Burmann at al. (2009), Yasin and Zahari (2011), Rezvani et al. (2012), Murtiasih et al. (2013), Buil at al. (2013)). Performing the research it was decided to collect primary data because they convey the most useful information for us. We collected data by the primary quantitative research using the survey. For the data analysis there was applied statistical package SPSS 22.0 version. The data were analyzed using the statistical method that examines the correlation of characteristics – principle of correlation. The regression analysis was also employed.

Results. Research results confirmed that both vividness and usefulness of word of mouth communication message characteristics give positive impact on brand equity and its dimensions in the case of our researched Gucci and Dolce&Gabbana brands. In the case of Gucci brand a positive correlation was found between the word of mouth communication message characteristic vividness and brand association, brand loyalty, perceived quality, and between the word of mouth communication message characteristic usefulness and brand association. Meanwhile, in the case of Dolce&Gabbana brand, a positive correlation was found between the word of mouth communication message characteristic vividness and brand association, and between the word of mouth communication message characteristic usefulness and brand association, brand awareness, perceived quality. The regression analysis results highlighted the most important elements of characteristics of word of mouth communication message.

The theoretical contribution. Considering the fragmentary nature of studies performed in the field, based on the results of systematic comparative scientific literature analysis, we constructed a conceptual model of the influence of word of mouth communication on brand equity.

Practical implications. It was found that all correlations among the word of mouth communication message characteristics and brand equity dimensions were statistically significant. Furthermore, it has been established that the most important element of word of mouth communication message characteristic vividness is determination, and the most important element of word of mouth communication message characteristic usefulness is utility.

Keywords: word of mouth communication, brand equity, brand awareness, brand association, brand loyalty, perceived quality.

Paper type: Research paper.


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