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School of Business | Department of Management and International Business | International Business | 2013
Thesis number: 13283
Facilitating value co-creation in brand communities
Author: Wahlroos, Lauri
Title: Facilitating value co-creation in brand communities
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management and International Business
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; yhteisöt; communities; brandit; brands; arvoketju; value chain; kehitys; development
Pages: 92
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13283.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1366964)
Key terms: brändiyhteisö; brand community; arvon yhteiskehitys; value co-creation; palvelulogiikka; service dominant-logic; brändiyhteisökanava; brand community channel
The purpose of this research is to study the roles of brand communities and the value co-creation practices they involve in a business to consumer context. Existing literature on this topic discusses the outcome variables of brand community participation, but neglects the managerial intentions behind facilitating value co-creation in brand communities. Contrary to previous studies, the focus of this research is to better understand the roles played by companies in brand communities, and how the value co-creation practices facilitated in these communities are linked to other business operations of the firms. The amount of allocated resources, types of engaged value co-creation activities, and used community channels are also studied in this research.

The empirical part of this research was conducted by interviewing thirteen managers working with brand communities. In addition, four brand community specialists were interviewed to collect in-depth data from experts of this field. The data was gathered by using the method of semi-structured interviews and the data collected included a total of 17 transcribed interviews. The analysis was carried out using the method of grounded theory introduced by Glaser and Strauss (1967) to build a holistic picture of the phenomena in question.

The main findings of this study suggest most of the companies facilitating their brand communities according to one of three different approaches: media, customer-oriented and core business approaches. The bigger the strategic role of a community, the more benefits are also gained from the communities. At best, all decisions made in brand communities are originated from the original purpose and the selected business approach of the community. However, although brand communities are often treated as mere additional media channels, which prevent companies from seeing and benefiting the full potential of their communities, have the position of brand communities in companies been generally fostered during the past few years.
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