The effect of website usage and virtual community participation on brand relationships

Hanna Kaisa Ellonen, Anssi Tarkiainen, Olli Kuivalainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study is to explore the impact of website visits and virtual community participation on the development of brand relationships. Building on the literature on relationship marketing, we model brand trust as a mediator and brand loyalty and Word-of-Mouth (WOM) as the final outcomes in our research model. The hypotheses are tested with structural equation modelling on four independent datasets collected from the consumer magazine industry. The results are identical in all four datasets: Both the frequency of website visits and the time spent on the website per visit strengthen brand trust and consequently also brand loyalty and WOM. However, neither posting nor lurking on the virtual community has an effect on brand trust. All in all, the results provide support for the mediating role of brand trust between consumer-brand online interactions and brand loyalty and WOM. The study contributes to the existing literature on relationship marketing by showing that consumer-initiated online interactions also support the development of the brand relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-105
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Brand loyalty
  • Brand relationship
  • Brand trust
  • Internet
  • Relationship marketing
  • Virtual community
  • Website usage
  • WOM
  • Word-of-Mouth


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