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Strengthening consumer-brand relationships through avatars

Strengthening consumer-brand relationships through avatars
Strengthening consumer-brand relationships through avatars
Purpose: Avatars have become increasingly prevalent on brand websites, yet their impact on consumers’ use of these sites remains underexplored. The current study focuses on avatars, which are three-dimensional animated graphical web interfaces that verbally aid the brand stakeholders (e.g., customers, employees, and suppliers). Avatars provide administrative and technical information through the brand website. Drawing upon the stimuli-organism-response (S-O-R) paradigm, this research examines the impact of avatars as an information provision and interacting tool (vs. a traditional format) on consumers’ perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors toward a brand. It also investigates the roles of familiarity with avatar use and the language used by an avatar in shaping consumers’ responses.

Design/methodology/approach: Across two laboratory experiments, the authors examined and confirmed causal relationships between the use of avatars (vs. a traditional format) on a website and attitudinal and behavioral constructs.

Findings: We show that avatars (vs. written information) had a significant effect on controlling information. The users in our experiments had greater control over the information provided when it was presented as text on a website compared to the case of avatars “telling” the information. Different languages and familiarity with avatar use also affected the consumers’ hedonism in terms of website use.

Originality: We advance understanding of avatar use in website design, particularly avatars’ verbal interaction, in shaping consumers’ cognitive, affective, attitudinal, and behavioral response and add important empirical evidence to the growing body of research and practices involving using avatars in interactive marketing.
Avatar elements, WOM, Information recall, Hedonic, Usefulness, Attitude toward a brand, Familiarity
2040-7122
Elsharnouby, Mohamed
830359ce-ef07-4394-ba6c-55cfab647549
Jayawardhena, Chanaka
1e0b9a71-5493-43e0-ba57-2496f6b3d790
Liu, Hongfei
7d65edcf-20c9-452a-83c2-8b545b12f68c
Elbedweihy, Alaa
399a8a91-6fed-4241-b065-8d550d9225ab
Elsharnouby, Mohamed
830359ce-ef07-4394-ba6c-55cfab647549
Jayawardhena, Chanaka
1e0b9a71-5493-43e0-ba57-2496f6b3d790
Liu, Hongfei
7d65edcf-20c9-452a-83c2-8b545b12f68c
Elbedweihy, Alaa
399a8a91-6fed-4241-b065-8d550d9225ab

Elsharnouby, Mohamed, Jayawardhena, Chanaka, Liu, Hongfei and Elbedweihy, Alaa (2022) Strengthening consumer-brand relationships through avatars. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing. (In Press)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Purpose: Avatars have become increasingly prevalent on brand websites, yet their impact on consumers’ use of these sites remains underexplored. The current study focuses on avatars, which are three-dimensional animated graphical web interfaces that verbally aid the brand stakeholders (e.g., customers, employees, and suppliers). Avatars provide administrative and technical information through the brand website. Drawing upon the stimuli-organism-response (S-O-R) paradigm, this research examines the impact of avatars as an information provision and interacting tool (vs. a traditional format) on consumers’ perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors toward a brand. It also investigates the roles of familiarity with avatar use and the language used by an avatar in shaping consumers’ responses.

Design/methodology/approach: Across two laboratory experiments, the authors examined and confirmed causal relationships between the use of avatars (vs. a traditional format) on a website and attitudinal and behavioral constructs.

Findings: We show that avatars (vs. written information) had a significant effect on controlling information. The users in our experiments had greater control over the information provided when it was presented as text on a website compared to the case of avatars “telling” the information. Different languages and familiarity with avatar use also affected the consumers’ hedonism in terms of website use.

Originality: We advance understanding of avatar use in website design, particularly avatars’ verbal interaction, in shaping consumers’ cognitive, affective, attitudinal, and behavioral response and add important empirical evidence to the growing body of research and practices involving using avatars in interactive marketing.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 17 September 2022
Keywords: Avatar elements, WOM, Information recall, Hedonic, Usefulness, Attitude toward a brand, Familiarity

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 470321
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/470321
ISSN: 2040-7122
PURE UUID: 364a5a29-6429-479d-802a-59e9825252bc
ORCID for Hongfei Liu: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8539-9054

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Oct 2022 16:49
Last modified: 26 Oct 2022 01:59

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Contributors

Author: Mohamed Elsharnouby
Author: Chanaka Jayawardhena
Author: Hongfei Liu ORCID iD
Author: Alaa Elbedweihy

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