Despite the prominence of social media (SM) in global branding, no prior studies have evaluated an international brand's strategy of establishing market-based relational ties with SM users in local markets. This study draws from the resource-based theory to conceptualize SM ties as latent relational resources and evaluate an international brand's SM ties strategy on the basis of three resource attributes: value, inimitability, and rarity. Whereas value is the initial basis for a relational resource in SM, inimitability and rarity are the foci of an international brand's strategy in local SM networks. The authors interviewed brand managers and SM users in China and New Zealand and conducted direct observations on brands' SM sites. They develop two theoretical frameworks (one initial; one advanced) to offer insights into the development of brand-user ties as a relational resource in the context of an international brand's global or foreign consumer culture positioning in a host-country market. The authors conclude that combined incentives offered in SM must be tailored to the type of brand-user tie.
- Consumer culture positioning strategy
- Non-brand-centric networks
- Relational ties
- Resource-based theory
- Social media