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«of the AM’s Brand, Corporate Identity and Reputation SIG INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SESSIONS Sessions chairs The main function of a session chair is to ...»

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Hypothesis 3 (H3): There will be significantly higher mean scores on the assessment of quality, value and likeliness to purchase of certified over uncertified forest products.

Hypothesis 4 (H4): There will be a positive influence of quality beliefs and value assessments on consumer choices under the experimental conditions.

A self-administered questionnaire was utilized to test the aforementioned hypotheses. The questionnaire included questions about demographics and lifestyle including environmentally-friendly behaviour, local and certified product consumption, and environmental and economic concerns (e.g. Schlegelmilch, Bohlen & Diamantopoulos 1996).

The questionnaire also contained eight different manipulations and three response measures to collect beliefs, evaluation and conation. This section was designed to capture information on the possible influence of certified and locally sourced products on consumers' product selection. The manipulations are represented by a 2x2x2 research design with two options for each of location (local versus imported), certification (certified versus uncertified) and product type (commodity versus value added). Both product types were forest products with the one being the commodity dimensional lumber product (i.e. "2X4") and a value-added product (kitchen cabinets).

Surveys were collected from a sample of consumers in a small Canadian city. Canada is an appropriate location for this study as it is the world’s largest exporter of softwood forest products (Cashore, van Kooten, Vertinsky, Auld, & Affolderbach 2005; Statistics Canada 2012). Samples were drawn from the population at two locations to enable one to represent a forest product consumer (i.e. home renovation store) and the other to represent the general population (i.e. grocery stores). In total, 201 completed questionnaires were collected from the grocery store location (101 completed) and home renovation location (100 completed).

Of the total, 91 were usable from the home renovation store, and 88 were usable from the general population locations. Responses were deemed unusable if more than 10% of the questionnaire was submitted as incomplete.

To test the hypotheses, a repeated measures ANOVA was performed to compare manipulations involving different combinations of products to determine consumers' attitudes towards each different type (i.e. H1, H2, H3). In addition, a regression analysis was performed to determine if quality beliefs and value assessments of a product had an influence on likeliness to purchase (i.e. H4). An exploratory correlational analysis was also conducted to examine the possible influence of environmental and economic consciousness on product attitudes.

Findings The ANOVA results lead to rejecting hypothesis 1. The mean scores for the eight manipulations for each of the population groups were compared and no significant difference was found between the two locations. Hypothesis 2 is accepted because the local conditions had significantly higher mean scores for quality beliefs, value assessments and likeliness to purchase. Hypothesis 3 is partially accepted because the majority respondents viewed products in the certified conditions as having higher quality and value along with higher likeliness to purchase except when the local condition was present. The regression results support Hypothesis 4 with most cases showing quality and value were predictors but value was the most important indicator of the likeliness to purchase of forest products. An additional correlational analysis to examine lifestyle behaviours suggests that consumers are potentially motivated by economic and environmental reasons.

Theoretical implications There are three key aspects of the results. The first key implication in this study was that the local conditions had the highest perceived quality beliefs, value assessments and likeliness to purchase scores over all other conditions. Respondents found the local conditions to be the most important attribute when comparing it to the imported and certified products. The second key implication was that certified products were also rated high for quality beliefs, value assessments and likeliness to purchase. Consumers are interested in buying certified forest products, especially when purchasing the commodity product. The third key implication was that respondents were driven mainly by value when assessing their likeliness to purchase.

The results also provide support for justice theory motivation with the localness playing a role in operationalizing this theory in the context of environmental marketing. The justice theory of motivation appears to be operating as demonstrated by the correlation of the lifestyle behaviours. In terms of place branding, the role of place was found to be more important than the certification of the products.

Practical implications Based on the importance of product localness demonstrated in the results, it appears that marketers could offer more effective information to consumers of forest products by using place branding as a tool in local markets. Indeed, the place aspect was seen to be more important than certification.

Limitations This study was conducted with a sample drawn from one Canadian city. Future research should be conducted in other parts of the country and world to see if the results can be replicated. In addition, a single method using questionnaire experimental design was used.





Future research should consider different methods to deepen our understanding of the findings from this research.

Originality/value The study is unique in that it examines the influence of place and certification in a single study using an experimental design. This testing is also done with a manipulation of product type (i.e. commodity versus value added). The study also collected and explored environmental consciousness levels of the participant to explore the role of environmental and economic concerns providing support that justice motivation may be at work.

Keywords: Place branding, environmental marketing, forest products, local, certification References Ankit, G., & Mayur, R. (2013). Green Marketing: Impact of green advertising on consumer purchase intention. Advances In Management, 6(9), 14-17.

Blader, S., & Tyler, T. (2002). Justice and empathy: What motivates people to help others?.

In The Justice Motive in Everyday Life. Edited by M. Ross and D. Miller. New York, Cambridge University Press, 226-250.

Bruwer, J., & Johnson, R. (2010) Place-based marketing and regional branding strategy perspectives in the California wine industry. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 27(1), 5 - 16.

Cashore, B., van Kooten, G., Vertinsky, I., Auld, G., & Affolderbach, J. (2005). Private or selfregulation? A comparative study of forest certification choices in Canada, the United States and Germany. Forest Policy and Economics, 7, 53–69.

Dinnie, K. (2004). Place branding: Overview of an emerging literature. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 1(1),106-110.

Do Paço, A., & Reis, R. (2012). Factors affecting skepticism toward green advertising.

Journal Of Advertising, 41(4), 147-155.

Dowling, G. (2001). Creating Corporate Reputations, Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press.

Hoek, J., Roling, N., & Holdsworth, D. (2013). Ethical claims and labelling: An analysis of consumers' beliefs and choice behaviours. Journal Of Marketing Management, 29(7/8), 772Hrabovsky, E., & Armstrong, A. (2005). Global demand for certified hardwood products as determined from a survey of hardwood exporters. Forest Products Journal, 55(2), 28–35.

Kavaratzis M., & Hatch M. (2013). The dynamics of place brands: An identity-based approach to place branding theory. Marketing Theory,13(1), 69-86.

Keller, K.L. (1993). Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity. Journal of Marketing, 57(1), 1-22.

Kozak, R. A., Cohen, D. H., Lerner, J., & Bull, G. Q. (2004). Western Canadian consumer attitudes towards certified value-added wood products: An exploratory assessment. Forest Products Journal, 54(9), 21-24.

Lerner, M.J. (1980). The belief in a just world: A fundamental delusion. New York, Academic Press.

McEachern M., Warnaby G., Carrigan M., & Szmigin I. (2010). Thinking locally, acting locally?

Conscious consumers and farmers' markets. Journal Of Marketing Management. 26(5/6), 395Megicks P., Memery J., & Angell R. (2012). Understanding local food shopping: Unpacking the ethical dimension. Journal Of Marketing Management. 28(3/4), 264-289.

Ozanne, L. K., & Vlosky, R. P. (2003). Certification from the U.S. consumer perspective: A comparison from 1995 and 2000. Forest Products Journal, 53(3), 13.

Papadopoulos, N. (2004). Place branding: Evolution, meaning and implications. Place Branding, 1(1), 36-49.

Papadopoulos, N. & Heslop, L.A. (2002). Country equity and country branding: Problems and prospects, Journal of Brand Management, 9 (4/5), 294–314.

Schlegelmilch, B.B., Bohlen G.M., & Diamantopoulos, A. (1996). The link between green purchasing decisions and measures of environmental consciousness. European Journal of Marketing, 30(5), 35-55.

Statistics Canada. 2012. An Overview of the Lumber Industry in Canada, 2004 to 2010.

Stern, B., George M. Z. and Anupam J. (2001). Marketing images: Construct definition, measurement issues, and theory, Marketing Theory, 1(2), 201-224.

Thompson, D. W., Anderson, R. C., Hansen, E. N., & Kahle, L. R. (2010). Green segmentation and environmental certification: insights from forest products. Business Strategy & The Environment, 19(5), 319-334.

Zabkar, V., & Hosta, M. (2013). Willingness to act and environmentally conscious consumer behaviour: can prosocial status perceptions help overcome the gap? International Journal Of Consumer Studies, 37(3).

Identifying the nature of consumer’s eWOM activity on Facebook brand pages: An exploratory study Pasternak, Oleksandra Veloutsou, Cleopatra Morgan-Thomas, Anna Purpose Over the last decade there has been increased academic and practitioner attention to the areas of brand communities and online consumer interactions. Previous studies have discussed offline (Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001) and on-line brand communities (Jang, et al., 2008; Hede & Kellett, 2012; Kuo & Feng, 2013); including company-managed and enthusiast-run (Dholakia & Vianello, 2011), small group (Bagozzi & Dholakia, 2006), and social and psychological brand communities (Carlson, Suter & Brown, 2008). These communities are made up of admirers of a brand who share common traditions, rituals, and sense of belonging to a group (Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001).

Recently researchers started looking into the social networking sites as platforms for brand communities (Jahn & Kunz, 2012; Goh, Heng & Lin, 2013; Zaglia, 2013). Consumers are offered an interactive platform to communicate with one another about brands, and are able to express their consumer-brand relationships on such platforms as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. This interaction can include online brand reviews, product evaluations, or brandrelated consumer conversations, and can be conceptualized as brand-related electronic wordof-mouth (eWOM) (Hennig-Thurau, et al., 2004; Kozinets, et al., 2010). Despite the influence of eWOM on consumers’ brand attitudes, their product judgments (Lee & Youn,

2009) and perceptions of brand image (Jalilvand & Samiei, 2012), and loyalty intentions (Gruen, Osmonbekov & Czaplewski, 2006), eWOM activity among brand fans in the context online brand communities is yet to be approached with regards to any communities, let alone communities formed in social networking sites.

This study focuses on the company-created and fan-created brand pages on Facebook as a special of type of social media-based brand communities. They are however different from the traditional brand communities, where the latter are focused on a brand and the relations between the brand’s admirers (Jahn & Kunz, 2012; Zaglia, 2013). Similarly based around a single brand, official Facebook brand pages are often more concerned with consumer-brand interactions; where brand page membership can project a specific self-image to the rest of the member’s social network (Jahn & Kunz, 2012). Thereby, the nature of members’ eWOM activities on such pages and inside their broader network of ‘friends’ are yet to be explored (Chu & Kim, 2010; Jahn & Kunz, 2012).

The purpose of the paper is to explore the nature of consumer participation in eWOM activities on Facebook brand pages. This paper aims to contribute to the academic literature on eWOM and brand communities by exploring consumer communication on the official (company-managed) and unofficial (enthusiast-run) Facebook brand pages and groups. The authors also look into the interconnectedness of the members’ personal Facebook profiles and brand-related pages. The paper thereby does not limit the exploration of eWOM activity to the social media-based brand communities; but also explores the members’ brand-related communication within their broader network of ‘friends’. The study also looks into how the fans construct and project their image though their interactions with brands.

Methodology/approach The study adopts an exploratory approach. The researchers conducted 22 semi-structured face-to-face and Skype interviews with the members of official and unofficial Facebook brand pages. The average duration of each interview was 38 minutes. The snowballing approach was used to recruit participants. The participants represented different age groups, nationalities and occupations. The respondents were free to mention any brand that they followed on Facebook, and could include (but were not limited to) products, services and entertainment brands. During the interviews respondents were asked to relate their experiences with the brand pages, and how they communicated with others about the brands.

Often the respondents were members of more than one brand-related page or group, and were free to discuss their eWOM activities on any page. The interviews were transcribed and coded to identify the main themes within the data.

Findings The preliminary results of the qualitative study shed light into the different nature of online behaviour of the members of official and unofficial brand pages on Facebook. Usually official brand pages are used to communicate with or provide feedback to the brand.

Enthusiast-run groups attract consumer-to-consumer interaction, where the participants exchange their opinions about the brand, or follow its news.



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