Constructing brand loyalty via social networks

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Identifying the construction of brand loyalty via social networks requires an analysis of the information sharing of a product or brand amongst a social network, therefore indicating the strength of the brand loyalty members of a social network not only have towards a brand, but also promote to other members of the same social network. This exchange of information amongst social network members is called ‘homophily’, where “similarity breeds connection” (McPherson, 2001, p.415). In order to determine the strength of brand loyalty amongst a social network, a qualitative study was performed on a sample of consumers from the ‘digital age’ generation (Castells, 2010, p.xviii), examining the extent of information exchange via social media as well as via the social networks. In addition to this a minor case study was conducted where participants were asked a serious of questions that pertained to a specific brand, that of Woolworths. This was done in order to determine the strength of the brand loyalty they had for a particular brand that may then be theoretically applied on a general scale. As a result the strength of their brand loyalty was determined, indicating whether or not brand loyalty can be constructed via social networks. On the whole it can be determined that social networks play a strong role in the development of brand loyalty, particularly as it pertains to the current digital generation. Keywords: Social Network, Habitus, Purchase Behaviour, Networked Society, Brand Loyalty, Consumer satisfaction, Homophily, Brand Trustworthiness

Includes bibliographical references.