Blogs are currently powerful instrument and their proliferation has attracted substantial attention from marketing practitioners and academics. The aim of this study is to propose a model to understand and examine during the formation of sustainable social relationships and the continued usage of blogs in marketing contexts. Two exogenous constructs – customer experience and perceived value – have not only directly influenced satisfaction and intention to continue to use blogs, but also indirectly affected customers'/citizens' sustainable social relationship with blogs through the mediation of satisfaction and continuance intention. The analysis results herein demonstrate that sustainable social relationship is determined significantly by continuance intention and satisfaction toward blogs, while the influences of customer experience and perceived value on continuance intention are both respectively significant. However, the direct influence of customer experience on continuance intention is insignificant. In addition, this study examined and empirically confirmed the mediating role of continuance intention and satisfaction on blogs between customer experience and perceived value. Finally, the findings of this research propose the detailed theoretical and managerial implications for academicians, blog operators and government agencies.
Notwithstanding the fact that the sustainability of social relationships has been traditionally deemed in physical environments, extended investigations and empirical studies demonstrate that the sustainable social relationship (SSR) of individuals in social media on the Internet is analogous to face-to-face relationships in the physical world (Lin, 2010). Following O'Reilly's proposal (O'Reilly et al., 2005) of the concept of Web 2.0, scholars have increasingly emphasized interaction and sharing onWeb-based platforms, and the generation ofWeb content has shifted from enterprises to individual users/citizens, revolutionizing people's general impressions of customer– vendor relationships (O'Reilly et al., 2005). Subsequently, numerous application services associated with Web 2.0 have emerged, such as blogs, YouTube, Facebook, and Wikipedia (Cachia et al., 2007; Chen et al., 2012; Huang et al., 2015). Following the dissemination of software, hardware, and other technologies, Web 2.0 applications became economical, effective, and a means of instantaneous social interaction. In addition to the business applications of social media, many governments have found new ways of promoting their policies and guidelines using social media in the spirit of transparency, efficiency and openness. Therefore, the use of social media to achieve marketing goals is a topic that is worthy of further discussion.
The prevalence of blogs has changed the way in which messages are propagated on the Internet. At present, a considerable number of websites present their content in the form of blogs. Countless people are passionate about writing blogs, and both seasoned and novice bloggers offer articles for everyone to read. Furthermore, various forms of media and applications have been developed on the Internet over time.
These media and applications have not only changed conventional methods of social interaction, but also created the development of novel marketing methods. For example, the prevalence of blogs has altered the structure of websites. Enterprises and governments have begun to influence using blogs they establish as means of communication with customers and citizens, to identify the needs of customer and citizens, and to facilitate business-to-customer (B2C) and government-tocitizen (G2C) interactions. For instance, customers and citizens can post their personal opinions, experiences and comments, which can be used to improve products and services, and to government policies or guidelines (Hsu and Tsou, 2011; Yi et al., 2013). Owing to these numerous aforementioned advantages, blogs can directly connect firms and users, gather like-minded people, change perceptions and behaviors of users, and turn public attention in numerous industries (Pookulangara and Koesler, 2011). From a marketing perspective, blogs should not only emphasize commercial aspects, but also interactions among community members, to stimulate purchase intention and positive words-of-mouth (Algesheimer, 2005).
The prevailing experience-based economies have been exhibited in recent years (Tsaur et al., 2007). Customer experience(CE)refers to the sensory, emotional, and cognitive impacts generated by customers following participatory and observational experiences, which elevates their interest, motivations, and recognition, and subsequently adds value to the brand communities (von Wallpach and Kreuzer, 2013; Kim and Perdue, 2013). CE can be incorporated into customers' and citizens' lives to produce perspectives consistent with those of the customer and citizen, or create stunning modes of thinking, attracting the interest of customers and leaving a positive impression, thereby creating tangible revenue for the enterprises and intangible reputation for the governments (Bruhn et al., 2014).
Fierce commercial competition has forced firms to seek new and innovative methods of marketing. In this context, enterprises have sequentially expanded into virtual platforms (Shobeiri et al., 2013). With respect to E-government, a government can use blogs to promote policies and guidelines to ensure transparency and efficiency. However, conventional marketing methods tend to focus on the functions and benefits of products, competition among products, rational customers, and analytical, quantitative, and verbal marketing methods and tools. In contrast, CE establishes consumer contexts and creates perceived value (PV) by employing diversified and flexible marketing methods and tools. Focusing on CE can help to maintain competitive advantages. In recent years, numerous empirical studies have taken various perspectives to examine the acceptance of social media in various environments, such as information-seeking (Xiang and Gretzel, 2010), education (Mazman and Usluel, 2010), knowledge-sharing (Chou et al., 2010), leisure (Moore and McElroy, 2012), brand equity (Kim and Ko, 2012), and political and voting environments (Kushin and Yamamoto, 2010). A review often relevant literature reveals that empirical studies have taken a technological perspective to investigate Web 2.0 applications (Pookulangara and Koesler, 2011; Chang et al., 2015), and numerous studies have adopted the perspective of social capital and social influence (Chen et al., 2012; Algesheimer, 2005; Lin and Lu, 2011). However, with respect to the management of social networks, in addition the development of various applications to attract users, other marketing methods that are favorable to consumers/citizens should be identified to enhance the continuance intention (CI) toward blogs for SSR. This study establishes a conceptual model to characterize and predict consumers'/citizens' sustainable usage behaviors and factors that relate to blog usage, based on their perceptions of CE and different values. Besides, it is also an important issue to understand how the effect of blogs influences the SSR and CI among government agencies and social actors such as citizens. Therefore, this research is aimed to find out the sustainability of factors that affect social relationship and e-governance for understanding the web-blogging to propose an integrated model that is based on CE and PV.
2. Literature review
2.1. Customer experience (CE)
CE is defined as the cognitive acknowledgment or perception that follows from stimulated motivation of a customer who observes or participates in an event. Such acknowledgment or perception consequently enhances the value of products and services (Schmitt, 1999). Enterprises use intangible services and tangible products to create memorable events for users (Tsaur et al., 2007; Pine and Gilmore, 1998). CE is essential because experience is the psychological perception in the hearts of users, and substantially influences subsequent usage behaviors (Hsu and Tsou, 2011). Improving CE can help marketers to identify niche markets than does maintaining competitive prices or superior product functions and features (Kao et al., 2007).
Schmitt (1999) developed an integrated CE framework to help marketers to evaluate different types of experiences (i.e., strategic experiential modules). CE is a method that generates a link between the customer and the product and provides a memorable experience for the customer, thereby adding value to the product. Schmitt (1999) suggested that five types of CE as a basis for an overall experiential marketing analysis. These types are sensing, feeling, thinking, acting, and relating. The following section will explain the five types of experience.