Brand Co-creation: Innovation Opportunities and Ethical Challenges. Special Interest Group Proposal

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Nowadays, brands face a socioeconomic scenario that is characterized by online communities, decentralized organizations, fast and flexible new production facilities, and a rapid evolution of information technologies (Lindfelt & Törnroos, 2006). This evolution has led to an improved brand-stakeholder interconnectivity, which has provided brands with the opportunity of involving their key stakeholders in co-creation projects (Ind, Iglesias, & Markovic, 2017). This interconnectivity is not restricted to brand-led initiatives, but is continuous and multifarious (Jones, 2005; Hillebrand, Driessen, & Koll, 2015). Customers and other stakeholders are not passive receivers of brand innovations anymore, but they have the skills and expertise that permit them to undertake an active role in co-creation (e.g., Cova & Dalli, 2009). Accordingly, informed, networked, empowered, and active stakeholders participate ideally in every stage of the co-creation process, from idea generation to implementation (Payne, Strobacka, & Frow, 2008). This movement toward stakeholder involvement and a greater organizational openness has nurtured the recent development of open innovation, open business models and strategies, as well as stakeholder co-creation of brand meaning and identity (Gyrd-Jones & Kornum, 2013; von Wallpach, Hemetsberger, & Espersen, 2017). However, the current enhanced brand-stakeholder interconnectivity has also turned the environment into a more transparent one, giving rise to ethical concerns (Fan, 2005; Iglesias, Markovic, Singh, & Sierra, 2017; Markovic, Iglesias, Singh, & Sierra, 2015) that are not always well considered. For example, who owns intellectual property rights of the co-created outputs? Where does responsibility lie when things go wrong? What is the proper division of labour? Can we talk of “working consumers” or is this just free labour? What reward systems are equitable and relevant? Furthermore, what are the expectations on brands involved in co-creation— compared to brands not involved in co-creation? This special session has been convened to address these unanswered ethical questions. The four contributions approach the phenomenon of interest from different perspectives and provide us with a ground for critical reflection. In the contribution “Multi-stakeholder knowledge sharing and brand co-creation: Ethical considerations”, Markovic et al. conceptually explore brand co-creation as a social and dynamic process in which various stakeholders share knowledge in order to co-create relevant brand innovations. They discuss how stakeholders’ perception of ethicality influences actualized value for both the stakeholder and the brand. In “The gift of co-creation”, Ind argues that co-creation places new demands on organisations to respect the reciprocity that co-creation implies. Cocreation should be conceptually seen as a gift from the participating stakeholders. Koporcic et al. study the “Construction and destruction of a corporate reputation: Ethical challenges in international business markets” by empirically exploring how corporate reputation and network relations are impacted by the perceived ethicality of focal firm FDI. Finally, Vallaster empirically explores “Hybrid Corporate Brands”: “bifocal” brands that are committed to economic and social goals as a socio-cultural form that has the potential to unleash scaling-up innovations to achieve significant social impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the European Marketing Academy (EMAC) Conference 2018 : People Make Marketing
EditorsKathy Hamilton, Matthew Alexander, Spiros Gounaris, Maria Karampela, Ewelina Lacka
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBrussels
PublisherEuropean Marketing Academy. EMAC
Publication date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventThe 47th EMAC Annual Conference 2018: People Make Marketing - University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 May 20181 Jun 2018
Conference number: 47


ConferenceThe 47th EMAC Annual Conference 2018
LocationUniversity of Strathclyde
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the European Marketing Academy

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