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Leveraging Co-Followership Patterns on Social Media to Identify Brand Alliance Opportunities

Leveraging Co-Followership Patterns on Social Media to Identify Brand Alliance Opportunities

Pankhuri Malhotra and Siddhartha Bhattacharyya

Teaching Insight:

This paper outlines a strategy to identify brand alliances by examining co-followership on Twitter. By examining the brands who share the same followers, it is possible to model the closeness of brands over time and across product categories.


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Related Marketing Courses:

Digital Marketing; Marketing Analytics; Social Media Marketing

Full Citation:

Malhotra, Pankhuri, and Siddhartha Bhattacharyya (2022), “Leveraging Co-Followership Patterns on Social Media to Identify Brand Alliance Opportunities,” Journal of Marketing,

Article Abstract:

The use of co-branding and brand extension strategies to access new markets has been a topic of significant interest. However, surprisingly few studies have examined cross-category connections of brands using publicly available digital footprints. In this study, the authors introduce a new, scalable automated approach for identifying potential co-branding and brand extension opportunities using brand networks derived from publicly available Twitter followership data. The digital user-brand relationship, established through followership activity, is regarded as an expression of interest towards the brand. Common followership patterns between brands are then extracted to capture co-interest between those brands’ audience. By utilizing the co-interest patterns, the approach seeks to derive cross-category brand–brand and brand–category connections, which can serve as important measures for assessing co-branding and extensions opportunities. This paper introduces a new construct, transcendence, which measures the extent to which a brand’s followers overlap with those of other brands in a new category. The analysis in this paper is conducted at different points in time to help managers track shifts in brand transcendence.

Special thanks to Holly Howe and Demi Oba, PhD candidates at Duke University.

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Pankhuri Malhotra is Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Oklahoma, USA.

Siddhartha Bhattacharyya is Professor, Information and Decision Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.