Online brand communities (OBCs) have increasingly been regarded as key spaces for cultivating consumer loyalty, advocacy, and a sense of identification in the digital era. However, to this day, limited research has been performed on this topic with regards to the sports marketing domain, specifically Formula One (F1). This study aims to address this research gap by exploring the impact of different social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit) on online brand advocacy (OBA), brand community identification (BCI), and brand loyalty (BL) within F1 OBCs. Following a quantitative methodological approach, four surveys were administered across the aforementioned social media platforms. The study collected and analyzed 220 total responses, 55 per platform, from the respective F1 OBCs in order to test four hypotheses. The findings from this study suggest that the chosen type of social media platform has a significant positive effect on OBA, BCI, and BL in F1 OBCs. These results underscore the prominent role that the type of social media platform plays in fostering these dimensions of consumer-brand relationship engagement within online sports communities. Furthermore, this study found significant positive correlations between OBA and BL, OBA and BCI, and BL and BCI. Drawing on social exchange and social identity research, these results shine a light on the influence of brand advocacy in fostering private and public loyalty actions, and an increasing sense of community identification amongst fans. Moreover, they provide insights into how this enhanced sense of BCI can drive profound brand loyalty. Finally, this study found BCI to have a mediating role in the relationship between OBA and BL. This result provides insights into how the feeling of identification with a brand community plays a significant role in linking advocacy efforts by fans and the resulting brand loyalty that the brand can benefit from. To conclude, this study takes key steps in extending OBC research further into sports marketing, and for the first time into F1. It furthermore contributes to existing research with new insights into OBA, BCI, and BL dynamics across Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Reddit. As digital technologies continue to play an increasingly vital role in consumer-brand relationships, these findings offer guidance to sports marketers and media professionals on how to best harness digital engagement in their respective consumer-initiated OBCs, and extract positive private and public BL outcomes.

dr. Alexandra Sierra Rativa
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Ariana Valdelomar Barquero. (2023, August). Digital Grandstands: Understanding the Impact of Social Media Platforms in the Dynamics of Online Brand Communities of Formula One. Media & Business. Retrieved from