Brand-sponsored versus consumer-generated online brand communities : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Business Studies in Marketing at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
Open Access Location
This research focuses on online brand communities from a brand management perspective. The purpose of this study is to contribute to understanding of online brand communities by examining differences in brand-sponsored and consumer-generated online brand communities, and to extend research into online brand communities by examining online brand communities for a sports brand. The first phase of this study investigates how consumption practices differ in brand-sponsored and consumer-generated online brand communities. Online brand communities for the All Blacks brand were selected as a case study for this research. The All Blacks brand-sponsored and consumer-generated online brand communities were observed for eight weeks and afterwards discussions in both communities were analysed for two weeks to identify consumption practices. Ethical issues pertinent to this research design meant raw comments and discussions could not be collected and instead discussions were immediately analysed through a coding process. The second phase of this study investigates marketing industry expert views on brand-sponsored and consumer-generated online brand communities. Interviews with three representatives from service and sports organisations were held. The findings from this research contribute to literature on online brand communities by demonstrating brand-sponsored and consumer-generated online brand communities differ in consumption practices, language, self-expression, modes of interaction, and legitimacy. This study also extends research into online brand communities by investigating online brand communities for sports brands. Findings imply there are minimal differences between online brand communities for service or sports brands compared with online brand communities for goods. The outcomes from this research may also have a number of implications for marketers, hoping to capitalise on the growth of online brand communities.
Brand-sponsored online brand communities, Brand management, Consumer-generated online brand communities