Brand Value Building in Online Social Lending Startups

Par Djamchid Assadi, Arvind Ashta
Connectivity in the information age, the attendant move to co-creating experiences with consumers, transaction cost economics associated with search costs in the wake of information overload, all suggest that brand value requires not only informing and dialogue, but also enabling discussion between consumers and with consumer communities. This research studies the Web 2.0 tools to find out how they can be used to build up brand equity through informing, dialoguing and enabling discussion. This research investigates ten cases in the field of online lending. We find that different websites are using many interaction tools for informing, dialogue and enabling discussion, including website presentations, blogs, buzz creation, co-branding, social networking and sharing media. We find different mix of these brand equity creation strategies on different websites. This descriptive article will be of interest to all social websites as well as all microfinance institutions, banks and financial service institutions who would like to use web 2.0 to foster new co-creation of value with their customers. The article is especially useful to understand community formation for building up brand value which could be useful for directing microfinance towards the financially excluded. This is the first paper to study brand equity creation strategies using web 2.0 tools. It is also the first paper to study brand valuation creation in online lending in particular.
JEL Codes: D23, G21, M31, O14, O33
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