Proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on Research in Business, Management and Economics
The Impact of Social Brand Engagement on Customer-Based Brand Equity in Higher Education: An Empirical Study in Sri Lanka
Charitha Harshani Perera, Dr. Rajkishore Nayak, Dr. Long Thang Van Nguyen
The widespread of social media facilitates many changes in the higher education sector including the branding activities of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in emerging countries. This triggered a need for this research to deepen our understanding of students’ social engagement with HEI brands and its importance in developing customer-based brand equity (CBBE) for the HEIs. Drawing from social information processing theory, this paper examines the influence of Social Brand Engagement (SBE) on CBBE, and brand choice intention of HEIs taking into consideration the mediating effects of brand credibility, and electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) from the perspective of undergraduates. Employing a quantitative survey design, 384 undergraduates from Sri Lankan HEIs were selected for this study. While SBE positively influences CBBE, this relationship is significantly mediated by brand credibility and eWOM. The findings also indicated that CBBE encourages the students to increase their intention in selecting an HEI to pursue their higher studies. Further, this study provides insights into the potential role of SBE and CBBE in advancing the broader understanding of brand relationship management, brand engagement, and social media research. Our conceptualization of SBE suggests a need for managers to adopt creative strategies that will arouse customers’ interest and attention to participate in such interactions.
Keywords: social brand engagement, customer-based brand equity, higher education, emerging countries.