Engaging Gen Y customers in online brand communities: A cross-national assessment

Jamie Carlson*, Syed Mahmudur Rahman, Mohammad M. Rahman, Jessica Wyllie, Ranjit Voola

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Global retail brands find it vital to engage Generation Y (Gen Y) customers through firm-hosted online brand communities (OBCs) for generating actionable insights; this study advances customer engagement (CE) frameworks in this setting. First, we draw on the stimulus–organism–response (S–O–R) theory to introduce OBC website quality (termed OBC-SiteQUAL), alongside brand involvement as a customer resource input, to shape an expanded quadripartite CE conceptualisation. Second, using multi-country data, we test the validity of the OBC-SiteQUAL and CE measurement models, and the theoretical framework. Results indicate that the newly conceived OBC-SiteQUAL construct, underpinned by various web-based cues related to affective elements, brand interaction and customer-to-customer interaction, positively influences CE, whereas brand involvement partially influences CE. Third, we examine how these variables translate to behavioural loyalty outcomes. Empirically, a consistent pattern across the country samples indicates that OBC-SiteQUAL can affect behavioural loyalty by enhancing CE. Thus, we reliably confirm the mediating effect of CE (O) between OBC-SiteQUAL (S) and behavioural loyalty (R). Fourth, we found that the impact of OBC-SiteQUAL and brand involvement on CE differs between younger and older Gen Y consumers. These findings inform the optimisation of precise digital content marketing activities to enhance customer-brand relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102252
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Information Management
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Social media
  • Brand community
  • Site quality
  • Customer engagement
  • Loyalty


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