ArticlePDF Available

Abstract

A brand community from a customer-experiential perspective is a fabric of relationships in which the customer is situated. Crucial relationships include those between the customer and the brand, between the customer and the firm, between the customer and the product in use, and among fellow customers. This paper delves ethnographically into a brand community and tests key findings through quantitative methods. Conceptually the study reveals insights that differ from prior research in four important ways. First, it expands the definition of a brand community to entities and relationships neglected by previous research. Second, it treats vital characteristics of brand communities, such as geo-temporal concentrations and the richness of social context, as dynamic rather than static phenomena. Third, it demonstrates that marketers can strengthen brand communities by facilitating shared customer experiences in ways that alter those dynamic characteristics. Fourth, it yields a new and richer conceptualization of customer loyalty as integration in a brand community.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Building brand community
James H McAlexander; John W Schouten; Harold F Koening
Journal of Marketing; Jan 2002; 66, 1; ABI/INFORM Global
pg. 38
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
... Another perspective was brought by McAlexander et al. (2002), who considered brand communities to be complex customer-centred structures. Based on the ethnographic findings of Harley-Davidson and Jeep events and meetings, the authors argued that relationships are formed between consumers and the brand, consumers and the firm, consumers and the product, and among consumers themselves. ...
... The essence of the brand community is the creation and negotiation of meaning (McAlexander et al., 2002;Muñiz & Schau, 2005), which also involves interpersonal actions, such as consuming as play (communion and socialisation) and consuming as classification, which enhances the distinction from others (Holt, 1995). ...
... Therefore, the importance of brand communities is paramount for enhancing customer retention and loyalty (Algesheimer et al., 2005) and perpetuating the history and culture of the brand (Muñiz & O'Guinn, 2001). Communities also grow brand appreciation and affection (McAlexander & Schouten, 1998), revealing ideologies of consumption (Schouten & McAlexander, 1995), increasing repurchase (McAlexander et al., 2002), promoting synergies but co-existing with tensions (Kornum et al., 2017), or engaging in online collaborative activities (Essamri et al., 2019). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
This master’s thesis presents a new brand identity model for consumer goods called Brand Identity Canvas (BIC), with the objective of helping academics and practitioners build more relevant and stronger brands. Our work updates the current and most influential brand identity models theorised mainly in the 1990s, including components and discussing interactions not previously addressed by scholars. We adopted the Design Science Research methodology, which is adequate for building artefacts and theoretical frameworks. The framework development was based on a literature review and 11 in-depth interviews with practitioners (marketing managers and directors) and academics (marketing and branding professors). The new model has two parts: the first is managerial, with a description of the intrinsic characteristics of the brand and its influences; the second is expressive, with a mood board that explores the brand’s visual aspects. The BIC presents academics and practitioners with an updated framework for defining and developing a brand identity for consumer goods, with dimensions, components, and relations representing an advance on the existing models.
... However, they are mainly executed when unconstructive behavior is observed and the community has already been impacted, suggesting the need for proactive approaches. Untargeted proactive approaches exist such as offline community events like brandfests (McAlexander, Schouten, & Koenig, 2002) or reward-based systems (Antikainen, Mäkipää, & Ahonen, 2010). However, in this approach every member is treated equally, which could potentially have a negative consequence as a treatment theoretically could trigger a negative reaction. ...
... Community members can be reached through many contact channels, ranging from physical channels such as meetups (McAlexander et al., 2002) to virtual such as discussion forums or e-mail. However, email campaigns are widely used to encourage IC participation . ...
Thesis
Nowadays, companies increasingly recognize the benefits of innovation communities (ICs) to inject external consumer knowledge into innovation processes. Despite the advantages of ICs, guaranteeing the viability poses two important challenges. First, ICs are big data environments that can quickly overwhelm community managers as members communicate through posts, thereby creating substantial (volume), rapidly expanding (velocity), and unstructured data that might encompass combinations of linguistic, video, image, and audio cues (variety). Second, most online communities fail to generate successful outcomes as they are often unable to derive value from individual IC members owing to members’ inferior participation. This doctoral dissertation leverages customer relationship management strategies to tackle these challenges and adds value by introducing a proactive inferior member participation management framework for community managers to proactively reduce inferior member participation, while effectively dealing with the data-rich IC environment. It proves that inferior member participation can be identified proactively by analyzing community actors’ writing style. It shows that dependencies between members’ participation behaviour can be exploited to improve prediction performance. Using a field experiment, it demonstrates that a proactive targeted email campaign allows to effectively reduce inferior member participation.
... A fogyasztás által kifejezett kollektív identitásokra különböző elnevezések születtek: fogyasztási szubkultúrák(Kozinets 2001), fogyasztói törzsek(Cova 1997, Cova-Robert-Avi 2007, a márkaközösségek(McAlexander-Schouten-Koenig 2002, Schau-Muniz-Arnould 2009). ...
Article
Székelyföldön az etnikai termékek piacának keretében egyre több a régióhoz kapcsolódó kulturális vagy tárgyi természetű erőforrásokat, az etnikai folklór szimbólumait használó szolgáltató. A tanulmány a székelyföldi nemzeti szimbólumok kommodifikációjának példájaként az Igazi/Tiltott Csíki Sör Manufaktúra marketing-kommunikációs eszköztárából egy audiovizuális reklámanyag elemzésére vállalkozik. A fogyasztói kultúra elméletére alapozva igazolja, hogy a fogyasztást mítoszok és narratívák hozzák létre. Rálátást nyújt arra, ahogyan egy adott etnikai csoporthoz kapcsolt márka, mint a marketing-kommunikáció retorikai eszköze a gazdasági folyamatokban a profittermelés eszközévé konvertálható. Székelyföldi kontextusban azt bizonyítja, hogy az önmagát nemzetiként definiáló gyártó etnikai marketingje voltaképp egy modernista válasz a tőkeszerzésre és a kisebbségi lét megélésére.
... In one of the studies conducted twenty years back in a developed country to understand as to why consumers are willing to purchase products of National brands over Store brands even though the products of National brands were priced at least 20 percent higher than products of Store brands, it was found that the brand equity was the key variable which leads to this willingness [13]. In addition to basic five concepts suggested by 'Aaker' in the year 1991, which could impact the brand equity and image viz., i) Brand Awareness; ii) Brand Associations; iii) Perceived Quality; iv) Brand Loyalty; and v) Other Proprietary Brand Assets [10], huge number of research studies have been carried out to understand different factors which can impact brand equity, such as, co-branding or jointly branded products [14]; meaning transfer and celebrity endorsement [15]; perceived service quality [16]; advertising and marketing events [17]; perceived attractiveness [18]; effective communication, new product development, and distribution [19]; brand knowledge [20]; corporate brand image [21]; effective brand management [22]; family-based brand system [23]; represented group identity, reconciled self-image and targeted brand positioning [24 -25]; charity activities of brands [26]; consumers' experiences [27]; brand personality [28];brand heuristic [29]; brand magic [30]; brand attributes [31]; brand attitude [32]; brand description [33]; brand name awareness [34]; brand meaning [35]; brand trust [36]; brand name [37]; brand community [38]; brand attachment [39]; brand love [40]; brand experience [41]; product experiences [42]; shopping experiences [43]; service experiences [44]; consumption experiences [45]; brand credit [46]; the brand's country of origin [47]; brand authenticity [48]; long-run competitive advantage [49][50]; contribution of branding to the physical product [51]; brand extension [52]; and, consumer created visual content [53]. It is imperative to understand the existing literature, theories, models and frameworks on retailing across formats, as a significant proportion of lifestyle the brand's success in establishing itself as a true lifestyle brand in the consumers' mind is moderated by the brand's and consumers' choice of retailing format also. ...
Article
Full-text available
It is evident that among more than 5000 Indian lifestyle brands, only a few brands have created true lifestyle brand image in their employees, investors, competitors, and consumer’s minds, and the trueness level of a majority of Indian lifestyle brands is still in question. The majority of developing and developed Indian lifestyle brands assume that the success of a lifestyle brand is measured basis the revenue or profit they generate and are unaware of implicit long-term strategical benefits of creating a true lifestyle brand image in consumer’s minds. In India, the lifestyle category has also become one of the most sought-after categories for many start-up entrepreneurs. Just because there is an evident gap for a certain lifestyle product category in the market and just attempting to fill such a gap does not guarantee sustainable success. India indeed is one of the countries with consumers belonging to the widest range of Religions, Regions, Languages, Sub-Cultures and Economic backgrounds which makes it very difficultfor any lifestyle brand to own a true lifestyle brand image at National level and makes itfurthermore important for them to be more careful and efficient in ensuring adaptation of rightconsumer-level evaluation techniques and tools to regularly measure a brand’s the truepotential in attaining a sustainable profitable stage of its evolution. Both new and existinglifestyle brands in India inevitably require investors to fund their journey of attaining the finalstage of evolution which is known as a sustainable profitable stage. However, in the absenceof any inputs-driven consumer-level measurement instruments, investors are in a quandary togauge, estimate and forecast the true potential of lifestyle brands in India from the consumerpoint of view before they make any investment decisions and usually most of the investorsfollow traditional brand equity or valuation methods which are mostly skewed toward outputdriven measures and sometimes they are misleading. In this exhaustive empirical study, wehave studied a few select lifestyle brands, investors and investments to identify 68inputs-basedsub-elements across 4 key elements and 3 dimensions to design a simple consumer-levelinstrument named as CL-LBSi, which would measure the true potential of a lifestyle brand inIndia irrespective of the brand’s current age in the Indian retail market.
... Information interaction refers to the exchange of product information and personal experience by users and how to solve related problems in the use of products or services [14]. Information interaction meets the requirements of users to obtain information [54], and is also the most important aspect of business development [55]. For example, while obtaining information, according to the reciprocity principle of social exchange theory, customers will return to the community through civic behavior and promote the development of the community by understanding the products or services and getting corresponding help. ...
Article
Full-text available
Through social exchange theory, this study explores the relationship of virtual social interaction on customer citizenship behavior. By using a sample of 363 fitness enthusiasts from China, this study found that the three dimensions of virtual community interaction have a positive impact on customer citizenship behavior. Moreover, this study found that psychological empowerment partially mediated the relationship between the three dimensions of virtual community interaction and customer citizenship behavior. Secondly, this study also found that the effect of virtual community interaction on psychological empowerment was conditional on a sense of community. The results of this study suggested that managers should pay attention to the important role of user interaction in a virtual community and guide users to form high-quality interactions. Furthermore, managers should also pay attention to the importance of customer citizenship behavior to make users as employees participate in the interaction in a virtual community to enrich the integrity of the interaction. Lastly, managers need to pay attention to users’ sense of belonging and identity regarding the virtual community and encourage users to obtain incentives through the combination of online and offline activities to create the most benefits for the virtual community of fitness clubs.
Chapter
Niche brands target small segments of consumers whose needs differ from those of the general market in the product class (category). Compared with large brands in the market, niche brands tend to have small market share and enjoy higher levels of loyalty and lower levels of penetration than would be expected for their market share. Small firms are prone to adopt niche branding strategies; however, they can also be used by the giants. Scant analytical research has been conducted to help firms identify niche opportunities. Empowering and negotiating with brand communities has been found to be pivotal for building niche brands. Precautions are recommended when growing a niche brand beyond its original market.
Article
Full-text available
This article theorizes how a social enterprise builds, strengthens, and legitimizes community among marginalized people. Prior work investigated social enterprises and community-led social enterprises, or social enterprises rooted in community culture. Missing are perspectives on the roles of social enterprises in community creation and support among marginalized individuals. This qualitative interpretive study draws on ethnographic and netnographic data collection of the social enterprise Familyship; marginalized entrepreneurs developed a social enterprise to address a particular social problem, thus helping other marginalized people to address their constraints and collectively legitimizing a new meaning of what family is and does as a community. The study finds five overarching themes—namely, informing, protecting, connecting, supporting, and normalizing—that characterize Familyship’s process of building, supporting, and legitimizing a community among marginalized individuals. I discuss these findings with regard to contributions to theory on social enterprise and institutional voids, as well as social enterprise and online communities.
Article
Firms can leverage social media brand communities (SMBCs) to manage consumer relationships. This study investigated firm engagement tactics using a mixed-methods approach with qualitative (Study one) and quantitative (Study two) analyses. Building on uses and gratifications theory and the qualitative results, we identify brand-specific consumer education, reputation enhancement, incentives provision, interaction support, and entertainment support as firm engagement tactics. Next, we explore the moderating effect of firm engagement tactics on the SMBC identification/SMBC engagement and SMBC engagement/brand loyalty relationships using the partial least squares method. The results confirm that consumer engagement mediates the link between SMBC identification and brand loyalty. In addition, firm engagement tactics positively moderate the aforementioned relationships. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Article
Purpose The primary purpose of this study is to examine how fan attendance at team special events and player appearances impact fan consumption (as measured by merchandise sales). Insights obtained could shed light on opportunities for professional soccer teams to expand revenues through enhanced fan consumption of goods and services. Design/methodology/approach A sample of 499 season ticket holders were used to assess fan consumption by measuring merchandise sales. Ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions were run for merchandise sales as the dependent variable of fan consumption. The control variables were age, gender (male = 1, 0 otherwise), and whether an individual has children. Findings The key independent variables of attending special events and fan–player bonding were both found to have a statistically significant impact on merchandise sales. Results show that each additional special event attended generates up to $33.71 in merchandise sales for the club. Similarly, each fan–player bonding experience attended also has a direct impact, increasing merchandise consumption by $23.00. Social implications The results of this study provide insights that can help fan consumption grow within the professional United States soccer industry and better allow team managers to make decisions about the possible benefits of holding more special events and fan–player bonding experiences. The findings also confirm the impact personal relationships with fans can have on the bottom line of sport franchises. Originality/value Though this study adds to the body of literature by expanding previous work on fan consumption, there are limited studies on the social aspects of consumption which are examined and analyzed within this study, particularly of note is the study of merchandise sales as proxy for fan consumption.
Article
Marketing theory and practice have focused persistently on exchange between buyers and sellers. Unfortunately, most of the research and too many of the marketing strategies treat buyer-seller exchanges as discrete events, not as ongoing relationships. The authors describe a framework for developing buyer-seller relationships that affords a vantage point for formulating marketing strategy and for stimulating new research directions.
Article
Although a considerable amount of research in personality psychology has been done to conceptualize human personality, identify the “Big Five” dimensions, and explore the meaning of each dimension, no parallel research has been conducted in consumer behavior on brand personality. Consequently, an understanding of the symbolic use of brands has been limited in the consumer behavior literature. In this research, the author develops a theoretical framework of the brand personality construct by determining the number and nature of dimensions of brand personality (Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness). To measure the five brand personality dimensions, a reliable, valid, and generalizable measurement scale is created. Finally, theoretical and practical implications regarding the symbolic use of brands are discussed.
Article
The authors describe commercial friendships that develop between service providers and clients as one important type of marketing relationship. They report results of five studies that employ quantitative and qualitative data analysis. They develop a measure of commercial friendship, identify important correlates, and illustrate how friendships form. Context and tension between instrumental and expressive goals circumscribe commercial friendships, but friendships are associated with satisfaction, strong service loyalty, and positive word of mouth. Qualitative data illustrate varied temporal ordering among satisfaction, loyalty, and friendship for both service providers and clients. The authors identify implications of their findings for an array of industries in which commercial friendships may form.
Article
The authors outline an updated paradigm for scale development that incorporates confirmatory factor analysis for the assessment of unidimensionality. Under this paradigm, item-total correlations and exploratory factor analysis are used to provide preliminary scales. The unidimensionality of each scale then is assessed simultaneously with confirmatory factor analysis. After unidimensional measurement has been acceptably achieved, the reliability of each scale is assessed. Additional evidence for construct validity beyond the establishment of unidimensionality then can be provided by embedding the unidimensional sets of indicators within a nomological network defined by the complete structural model.
Article
Commitment is an essential part of successful long-term relationships. Whereas commitments by both parties in an exchange can provide the foundation for development of relational social norms, disproportionate commitments can lead to opportunism by the less committed partner. The authors study the effect of the credibility and proportionality of commitment inputs in an exchange upon the development of relational social norms, opportunism, and long-term commitment intentions. They also investigate longitudinal effects of the credibility of long-term commitment intentions, relational social norms, and opportunism in one time period on commitment inputs and long-term commitment intentions in later periods. Data gathered from a behavioral simulation suggest that (1) the credibility of commitment inputs in exchange is positively related to the development of relational social norms, (2) and is positively related to long-term commitment intentions in the same time period, (3) relational social norms may be undermined by opportunistic conduct, and (4) the presence of relational social norms in one time period is positively related to commitment inputs and long-term commitment intentions in later periods.
Article
New organization forms, including strategic partnerships and networks, are replacing simple market-based transactions and traditional bureaucratic hierarchical organizations. The historical marketing management function, based on the microeconomic maximization paradigm, must be critically examined for its relevance to marketing theory and practice in the 1990s. A new conception of marketing will focus on managing strategic partnerships and positioning the firm between vendors and customers in the value chain with the aim of delivering superior value to customers. Customer relationships will be seen as the key strategic resource of the business.
Article
Several theories of relationship marketing propose that customers vary in their relationships with a firm on a continuum from transactional to highly relational bonds. Few empirical studies have segmented the customer base of an organization into low and high relational groups to assess how evaluations vary for these groups. Using structural equation analysis, the authors analyze the relationships of satisfaction, trust, and commitment to component satisfaction attitudes and future intentions for the customers of a New York off-Broadway repertory theater company. For the low relational customers (individual ticket buyers and occasional subscribers), overall satisfaction is the primary mediating construct between the component attitudes and future intentions. For the high relational customers (consistent subscribers), trust and commitment, rather than satisfaction, are the mediators between component attitudes and future intentions.
Article
Consumer behavior depth interviews are grouped with other kinds of story telling—fairy tales, novels, psychological test responses, and myths—as imaginative statements that can be qualitatively interpreted for their functional and symbolic content. Drawing upon the Claude Lévi-Strauss approach to the analysis of myths, a structuralist interpretation illustrates application to the age, sex, and social status dimensions of food consumption.
Article
Recently, there has been a growing trend toward long-term relationships between manufacturers and their suppliers. Although much as been written about the benefits of this shift to manufacturers, little is known about the benefits to supplier firms. In this study, we empirically assess the impact of long-term relationships with specific customers on the performance of supplier firms using cross-sectional and longitudinal information available in the Compustat collection of data bases and the Compact Disclosure data base. Our results indicate that maintaining long-term relationships with select customers does not come at the expense of the rate of sales growth. Suppliers in long-term relationships are able to achieve the same level of growth as firms that employ a transactional approach to servicing their customers. These suppliers are able to reduce costs over time through better inventory utilization; however, this reduction in cost seems to be bargained away by their customers through lower prices over time. Finally, the supplier firms in long-term relationships achieve higher profitability by differentially reducing their discretionary expenses such as selling, general, and administrative overhead costs to a greater extent than their counterparts who use a transactional approach to servicing their customers.
Article
Identification is defined as the “perceived oneness with or belongingness to an organization” of which the person is a member. The authors propose that customers, in their role as members, identify with organizations. They use social identity theory to propose and test a model that relates members’ identification with the focal organization to (1) organizational and product characteristics, (2) members’ affiliation characteristics, and (3) members’ activity characteristics. Their empirical setting consists of the members of an art museum. Their survey findings show that members’ identification is positively related to perceived organizational prestige, donating activity, tenure of membership, visiting frequency, and confirmation of member expectations with the organization's services. However, members’ participation in similar organizations is negatively related to identification with the focal organization. The authors discuss how this study can be extended to other marketing contexts and how managers can use the notion of identification in implementing marketing strategies.