Visual Modality of Engagement : conceptualization, typology of forms, and outcomes

Azer, Jaylan and Blasco-Arcas, Lorena and Alexander, Matthew (2024) Visual Modality of Engagement : conceptualization, typology of forms, and outcomes. Journal of Service Research, 27 (2). pp. 231-249. ISSN 1094-6705 (

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Customers proactively engage with firms’ offerings through behavioral manifestations such as brand-related social media posts, influencing other customers in online networks and, consequently, affecting brand value. With the growth of visually oriented social media platforms, interest has increased in understanding customer engagement behavior (CEB) using visual content. In this paper, we build on CEB, image acts, visual content, and communication theories to conceptualize the Visual Modality of Engagement (VME). Using both field and lab studies, we develop a typology of four distinct positive (experiential, evidential) and negative (mocking, dissuasive) forms of VME and offer empirical evidence revealing they induce different brand-related (purchase intentions, brand evaluation) and other customer-related (willingness to imitate, resharing intentions) outcomes. Additional results also reveal outcomes vary by the interplay of social and brand interactions with the various VME forms. The findings of this research offer guidance to content managers for the development of more effective engagement strategies in social media marketing.