The COBRA Approach to Branding

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Sarah Daghman
Lecturer, Russian Federation

The COBRA Approach to Branding

Interactive and social media websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter provide unlimited means for internet users to interact, express, share, and create content about anything, including brands. In order to keep pace with these connected, active, and highly empowered consumers, brand managers need a comprehensive and deep understanding of what motivates Consumers' Online Brand-Related Activities (COBRA) while trying to appreciate the appeal that brand engagement on social media has for consumers.

What is the COBRA Branding Model?
The concept COBRA concept is "a behavioral construct which provides a simple but comprehensive unifying framework to view consumers' engagement with brand-related content on social media platforms along a continuum of varying kinds and degrees of activity. The activities include many different things, like talking about your brand on Twitter and uploading pictures of their new sneakers they just bought to Facebook.

In the COBRA typology, consumers' online brand-related activities can be grouped into three dimensions, namely (from passive to active): Consuming, Contributing, and Creating:
- CONSUMING brand-related content: This covers all behaviors associated with minimum online brand-related activeness. Consuming refers to relatively passive activities that involve participating without actively contributing or creating brand-related content. For example: consulting product reviews; following threads, and reading discussions on online brand community forums; viewing brand-related videos and pictures.
- CONTRIBUTING to brand-related content: This covers all behaviors associated with the middle level of online brand-related activeness. Contributing covers both consumer-to-content and consumer-to-consumer interactions about brands. For example: joining a brand profile on a social network site; commenting on brand-related weblogs, videos, pictures; and rating products/brands.
- CREATING brand-related content: This covers all behaviors associated with the highest level of online brand-related activeness. This refers to to consumers who actively create and publish brand-related content that other consumers consume and contribute to. For example: creating and uploading user-generated advertisements; publishing a brand-related weblog; writing brand-related articles, and posting product reviews.

All these COBRA activities have significant consequences for firms. Therefore, in order to effectively manage these consequences, brand managers need to have a good understanding of consumers' motivations> to engage in the various brand-related social media uses. This understanding will enable them to effectively anticipate, inspire, and cultivate COBRAs, and evoke the subsequent effects.

D. G. Muntinga (2013. Managing Brands in the Age of DIY-Branding: The COBRA approach, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
M. Moorman, et al. (2011. Introducing COBRAs, International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 30(1), pp. 134.


Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

COBRA Approach for Branding and Internet Activities

Indeed in general we can group internet users into these 3 groups (the COBRA concept is just doing t... Sign up


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