Abtract: This research examines online conversations between brands and consumers in the context of the rising use and importance of social media for marketing strategy. While there is a lot of research on the effects of social media in general, little is known about the actual interactions taking place between brands and consumers. Using Goffman’s ‘face-work’ as a theoretical lens, we conduct three experiments that find a causal relationship between brand interaction strategy and consumer attitude. Findings show that appreciative expressions have a positive effect, and call-to-action has a negative effect, on brand anthropomorphism. Moreover, we find that the positive effect of appreciative expressions is negatively moderated when consumers are attached to the brand, and the negative effect of call-to-action is positively moderated when the conversation topic is about the core product.
Keywords: Anthropomorphism, Brands, Conversation, Digital marketing, Face-work, Brand-consumer interaction, Social media