GROUNDED THEORY MODELRosella Gambetti, Guendalna Graffina and Silvia Biraghi in 2012 decided to categorize all the available knowledge on consumer brand-engagement and come up with a conceptual framework that could be applied to marketing strategy. They developed a “Ground Theory” method, which is based on how those who actually try and implement CBE into their corporate strategies get any benefits from it. The results of the research showed that CBE for those organizations who do that is a dynamic and process-based idea developing in intensity on the premise of the brand ability of progressively capturing buyers’ wants and expectations utilizing all likely physical and virtual touchpoints amongst brand and shoppers. CBE shows up as an overall marketing concept embodying distinctive buyer basic leadership measurements, from mark inclination to mark buy. Moreover, CBE develops as a multidimensional build that is past conventional cognitive, emotional and behavioural dimensions and is by all accounts in view of emerging experiential and social dimensions that show up as its focal components26.Some very important observations were made during that research. First of all, the CBE is defined as a loyal customer buying experience path with all its stages: from realising that this peculiar brand is his favorite to the moment when he purchases the product/service and preferes one’s organization brand to all the other brands on each and single level of the decision-making process, hence buying experience.Secondly, the engagement with the brand means that the brand is able to stir the customers up. It not only does it push them to feel strong emotions, but also thrills them, shakes them up, inspires and motivates them.Thirdly, CBE is defined as the customer’s willingness to participate in the life of a brand, to “act it”, by manipulating and possessing it. Like that, the brand is going through a transformation and is no longer passive.Furthermore, the relationship between the customer and the brand must be such that it is an integral part of his life, the one that satisfies his needs over the time, despite its changing nature. Brand is transforming and evolving together with the customer, following him in future in time.Gambetti and Grafigna suggest that direct contact is a way-to-go method when it comes to CBE: there is no another as effective manner to be closer to the clients in its literal meaning. And being closer, in its turn, means proximity, which Gambetti and Grafigna consider an integral and very important part of brand engagement. They describe value-based proximity of a brand as consisting of 2 components: trust and commitment (see on the image below). If physical proximity of a brand can be easily achieved, value-based is much trickier than that. Commitment aspect of it includes the following: dialogue, interaction, dedication, affinity and complicity; whereas in order to achieve trust, intergenerational link, being “on-board”, memories, family bond and brand ambassadorship are some of the factors the company might want to look into. Communication ought to be increasingly customized each time, tailor-made everything is becoming a common thing for 21st century. Brands are pushing towards the social creation and management. The general public through the social media will impart brands; communicate them to others and themselves. Brand communication integration is an essential part of consumer brand engagement. Nowadays three generalized types of communication can be distinguished. The first one is classical advertising, where the main principles are visibility (to “get noticed” as the main objective), and broadcasting. The following one is unconventional offline communication, which is summarized by these principles: break through the clutter (focus on the important focal points instead of everything), surprise (do something creative and unexpected), directness (go straight to the point instead of fussing around), context-message integration, WOM (the most obvious one – word-of-mouth) and multi-sensoriality (brand should integrate each of customer’s senses into the experiencing of the brand). In the end, we have unconventional online communication, which can be done in the following manners: user-generated content, entertainment, socialisation, young people reach and virality.VIRALITYWhen something “goes viral”, it is like a storm and there is no turning back: it becomes worldwide popular in a matter of days, phenomena that became possible just a few years ago thanks to the tight integration of SM in our daily lives. It takes its name from virus – a viral disease that spreads incredibly fast.However, its span of longevity is not long either – it goes by and is misplaced by something new just as fast as it took it to become viral. Typical traits of something going “viral” is humongously large quantities of “shares” on social media platforms, everyone talking about it, copying it and publicly expressing their opinions on it. Good examples of “viral” pieces of content/campaigns are “what colour is the dress?”, gangnam style music video, “pokemon go” craze, ice bucket challenge 2014, mannequin challenge 2016, crazy frog music video27.The difficulty with virality is it is almost impossible to tell if something specific is going to go viral. However, The expression “viral marketing” was first advanced in 1995, after Hotmail began spreading their service promotional campaign “Get your free web-based email at Hotmail” Viral marketing is the marvel in which individuals eagerly evaluate media or content and choose to spread to others, for example, through word-of-mouth, reposting content when scrolling through social medias, or posting video on YouTube.Viral marketing has turned out to be imperative in the business field in building brand recognition, with organizations attempting to get their clients and different audiences associated with sharing their own content via their social medias both in intentional and involuntary ways. A great deal of brands embrace guerrilla marketing or buzz marketing to get noticed. Some marketing efforts and campaigns are targeting to engage in an audience to impose on and pass along the campaign message with them28.)If use both traditional and unconventional communication together in a persistent manner it is what leads to the consumer–brand enacting and it is slowly transferring from conservative traditional communication marketing to online social media brand applications. The role of traditional communication is to provide broadcasting and mass visibility. At the same time, when combined with unconventional communication, customers and brand meet directly without 3rd party (that is especially certain with young masses of consumers), the important aspect here is “to break through the clutter” and to deliver customized messages.(CONTINUATION OF GROUNDED THEORY)The next important to this model stage is consumer’s Protagonism. Judging solely from the header, we can guess that at this step, the client’s role and importance is granted attention. Consumer is the most important, essential and the only inevitable part in any company, so it cannot be hesitated that he is worth our attention. This paradigm consists of three parts: pragmatism, the consumer is most likely seeing in a certain brand a solution to a practical problem he has, so he is judging it by the collected information, by its price-quality ratio, by responsibility, expertise and various criticism. It is somewhat of a strict, business-like relationship, decent, distant and a just little cold. The next one is unpredictability, where it is showed that each client is dependant on the multimedia sources when it comes to the brand. Also, it includes elusiveness and inconsistency. The final one is hedonic fulfillment, which is about innovation, aesthetic pleasure, innovation, exclusivity and astonishment. It tells us that consumer is a weird creature. Sometimes he can buy loo rolls that are twice as pricey as normal ones just to have a “puppy pattern” on them. We need to have all of these in account to fully understand our customer.Having all these models in our mind, we can build yet another one, describing CBE development phases. The dependence we are showing here is between brand disclosure and brand-consumer interaction. There are three main “stages” that lead to “brand-embeddedness” a.k.a. the highest CBE possible. These would be, first of all, brand appearance, which can be other way called “friendship”, where the emotional affiliation and affective relationship between two parties is already very strong, however, in the initial stage. Furthermore, the next one, brand body, describes the step of intimacy, the consumer think of a brand as of an important part of their daily life, they also feel a certain degree of commitment to it. Finally, the following stage is “brand soul”, where he bond between the customer and the brand is very intense, there is usually a previous story behind them based on trust and commitment, the consumer himself becomes a part of brand’s self-identification as well as a source for planning the future. (see below the scheme of the dependence described above). Finally, Rosella Gambetti, Guendalna Graffina and Silvia Biraghi unite all 4 models in one: consumer’s protagonism, brand proximity and brand communication integration are layered onto the stages of brand-engagement. As a result we have a model as seen on the image below: The advantages of this model are that it gives a very precise definition of CBE in each its aspect, such as customer’s commitment, brand communication and its methods of integration and brand proximity. It focuses on the key drivers of CBE and how those are connected one to another, as well as the stages of the CBE if we look at it as a process. The disadvantages of this approach is that it is not easy to measure CBE in numbers based on the Grounded Theory. It is, however, pretty precisely described, so we can observe CBE of brands based on it and evaluate their efforts.