Relational Capital and Technology Brands Over Time


  • Scott Erickson Ithaca College
  • Helen Rothberg Marist College



relational capital, brand equity, smartphones, sentiment analysis, intellectual capital


Study examines alternative metrics for assessing relational capital.  Associated with intellectual capital, relational capital has to do with knowledge about external relationships.   It is chiefly knowledge about customers, but also includes knowledge concerning all external entities such as regulators, collaborators, and others.


Relational capital is not widely studied.  It’s not even included in some popular metrics such as VAIC but is increasingly important in a digital world dependent on customer information, customer interactions, and customer relationships.  The concept of brand equity is very similar though from another discipline and not often discussed with or related to the relational capital framework.  But by bringing similar disciplines closer together, we can learn things that allow a better understanding of both.  Brand equity is particular important to reference because a number of consultancies offer metrics for measuring it, particularly for firms with powerful brands.  As a consequence, any alternative metrics suggested will have some baseline for comparison once brand equity is included.


This study explores alternative metrics for relational capital, specifically using web-scraping sentiment analysis software to examine select brands.  In this case, the study replicates previous work on technology brands, looking at key indicators for the top worldwide smartphone brands.  The previous study examined them over a five-week period in early 2021, and this study continues the research with similar results from early 2022.  Key metrics include sentiment (positive/negative), influencers, platforms (social networks, blogs, forums), location, and volume.  Brands identified as more valuable by other metrics show more interest and more stability over time though all brands do show the potential for a change in value in response to circumstances.