Interplay Between Intended Brand Identity and Identities in a Nike Related Brand Community: Co-existing Synergies and Tensions in a Nested System

Niels Kornum, Richard Gyrd-Jones, Nadia Al Zagir, Kristina Anthoni Brandis

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While branding research traditionally views brand identity as an inside-out management controlled phenomenon, recent research emphasizes that a wide variety of stakeholders in the brand ecosystem enact and co-create brand identity. Following this theoretical perspective, management forms the intended brand identity in a deliberate process and articulates this identity, surfacing as values and artifacts. Stakeholders develop and articulate values and artifacts in their own manner, but enact the brand identity at the same time. On the basis of data from a participatory ethnographic study, this research compares individual and collective articulations of a Nike related brand community with articulations of the intended brand identity. While earlier findings solely emphasize inside-out brand management or outside-in brand community perspectives, the findings of this article reveal a nested system of identities in the interplay between brand identities and community identities. This interplay creates synergy and tensions. Tensions in the nested system are important drivers for synergy. Due to the widespread and visible presence of brand artifacts on the collective identity level, coping with the resulting tensions is more urgent on the collective as compared to the individual level of the community. The community copes with the incurred tension by letting the commercial brand artifacts become a verbally tacit communicative element of the collective “space” of community life.
TidsskriftJournal of Business Research
Sider (fra-til)432-440
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2017


  • Intended brand identity
  • Collective identity
  • Nested identities
  • Orthogonal identities
  • Synergy
  • Tension