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Thought Leadership

The Effects of Social Media on Brand-Customer Relationships

Professors Simon Hudson, Martin S. Roth, and Thomas J. Madden

This research explores how social media affects brand-customer relationships, and whether social media-based relationships lead to desired outcomes such as customer satisfaction, recommendations, and loyalty. We conducted a three-country study and compared how consumers who engage with brands using social media, versus ones who do not, think and feel about those brands, and consequently how those interactions affect desired marketing outcomes. We find that consumers in France, the UK and the USA who engage in brand-related social media have greater emotional attachment with the brands, are more likely to humanize the brands (known as anthropomorphism), have higher quality brand relationships, and are more satisfied with, willing to recommend, loyal to the brands. Our study provides compelling, cross-national support on the benefits of social media interaction on brand-customer relationships.


Customer Communications Management in the New Digital Era 

Professors Simon Hudson, Martin S. Roth, and Thomas J. Madden

The world today is increasingly digital. At work, home, and play, people are constantly connected through the internet via a variety of devices and networks. This digital connectivity raises new opportunities—and challenges—for organizations striving to manage their customer communications to create customer and brand value. While marketers now have more means than ever to reach, engage with, and influence customers, knowledge of and expertise in managing these data-intensive tools is essential for success.

In this discussion paper we explore the new digital era of marketing communications, an era dominated by mobile information and social media accessibility. We describe how marketers can leverage various social media platforms and services to touch customers at various stages of the buying process. The importance of brand community building, in particular via digital tools, is then examined. We also describe the significance of emotions in marketing, and how emotional appeals are increasingly employed, both on- and off-line, to drive loyalty and build relationships. We conclude with insights on managing customer communications in the new digital era.

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