Consumer Retailer Preference and Facebook: Friends or Foes

The pervasive use and growth of digital media, particularly social media like Facebook, has generated massive amounts of discussion and controversy among marketers and academics. The growth in digital media should benefit retailers as the essential elements of integrated marketing communications (IMC) are intrinsic to digital media, yet we provide evidence that suggests otherwise. This exploratory research attempts to determine the impact of the rise of digital channels (e.g., Internet search, social media, mobile) on retailer brand preference. Contrary to the idea that digital media can help brand build relationships and increase loyalty, we find that consumer preference for a large number of retail brands has been in recent decline. A correlation analysis suggests a relationship between the rise of social media adoption and a decrease in brand preference. If this is so, major challenges for both retailers and brand manufacturers may lie ahead.

International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications
Schultz, Don E.; Block, Martin R.; Labrecque, Lauren I.
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