Consumers do not only develop relationships with brands but with other consumers as well because of the brands (Veloutsou, 2009). Both types of relationships are important for brands and their managers (Schau et al., 2009) and should be taken into account. The consumer-to-consumer relationships are referred in the literature as brand communities, brand sub-cultures and brand tribes (Fournier 1998; Cova and Pace 2006; Bazaki and Veloutsou 2010). This study adopts the term brand tribe to describe groups of individuals who join a brand group in an informal manner and demonstrate tribal behavior. This type of consumer relationship has attracted recently research attention (Bazaki and Veloutsou 2010; Tsiotsou and Veloutsou, 2011) because it is related to important brand outcomes such as brand loyalty (Roos et al. 2005; Hur et al. 2011). However, although brand tribes result from consumers’ interest in interacting with other consumers who share the same interest and feelings toward a brand, it has been documented that not all consumers are engaging in brand tribe activities in the same manner or to the same degree (Ballantine and Martin, 2005; Casalo, Flavian, and Guinaliu, 2008; Motion, 2008). Some of the brand tribe members might exhibit parasocial behavior: they observe the activities of other brand tribe members and do not participate or get involved in these activities. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the relationship between parasocial relationships and tribal behavior in brand tribes. The liaison between the two constructs has not been studied before so the study contributes to the literature and practice.
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- Parasocial Relationships and Brand Tribal Behavior: Delineating their Link
Rodoula H. Tsiotsou