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Title: E-tail brand equity : scale development and validation
Author: Christodoulides, George
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2005
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Brand equity is an extensively researched subject associated with marketing performance measurement. Although brand equity is a significant source of competitive advantage online, previous conceptualisations and measures thereof overlook the unique characteristics of computer mediated environments that render consumers co-creators of brand value as opposed to passive recipients. Experience with interactive media such as the internet 1 has shown that simply replicating offline marketing effort online is not capitalising on the interactive opportunities offered by the internet. The internet's unique capabilities have significant implications for the development and management of brands and, by extension, to the translation of brand value into consumer based brand equity. By choosing to focus on e-tail brands, a multi-phased research programme was initiated to identify the facets of etail brand equity, and then develop and validate a scale for its measurement. Following well established procedures for scale development and validation in the social sciences (e.g., Churchill 1979; Gerbing and Anderson 1988), an exploratory stage was first undertaken in conjunction with a literature review to identify the facets of e-tail brand equity. This involved sixteen depth interviews with brand experts and two focus groups with consumers. Based on the results of this exploratory qualitative stage, e-tail brand equity was assumed to be three-faceted, the dimensions being emotional connection, online experience, and responsive service nature. An initial item pool was then developed to tap the aforementioned facets. In this thesis a lowercase "i" is used for the word "internet" (cf. Schwartz 2002). Next, quantitative data were collected by means of a web based consumer survey, administered to a sample of UK online shoppers, all of whom were registered users of a leading European online reward programme. After a series of iterative statistical analyses, including coefficient alpha, item-to-total correlations, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, the initial pool was reduced to a more tractable number of items. Items of fulfilment and trust failed to load on the hypothesised factors, responsive service nature and emotional connection respectively, but emerged as separate factors. Various tests of validity, reliability, and unidimensionality provided preliminary evidence of the stability of the resulting scale's psychometric properties, and suggested that e-tail brand equity is a second order construct with five independent but correlated dimensions: emotional connection, online experience, responsive service nature, trust, and fulfilment. The proposed e-tail brand equity scale is reflective of a paradigm shift precipitated by the internet and its related technologies. No longer is brand equity the outcome of "cultural engineering" branding, but is instead the result of a dialectical process between managers and consumers. The implications of this research are both theoretical and practical. The 12-item e-tail brand equity scale can potentially be used for a variety of applications in e-tailing, and can also serve as the basis for further empirical research in marketing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available