The goal of this research is to explore the transformational power of a new consumption and production practice, the practice of blogging, to understand its impact on consumers' identity transformations beyond their self-concept as consumers and on the blogosphere as an organizational field. Through an exploratory study of over 12,000 blog posts from five fashion bloggers, complemented by in-depth interviews, we trace the transformation of consumer bloggers. We identify and describe three identity phases, the individual consumer, collective blogger and blogger identity phase, and two important turning points. Our findings show that through a continuous process of identity negotiation, adaptation, and re-interpretation with multiple stakeholders, these bloggers transform into human brands. In turn, these individual transformation processes reciprocally influence the emergence of blogging as a professional practice and of the blogosphere as a new organizational field. These findings contribute to a theoretical understanding of consumer transformation processes in a new field, where consumers can leave their role as consumers through continuously engaging in identity negotiation, adaptation and re-interpretation, creating alternative points of reference and validation in a new field that in turn continues to influence their brand identity. Furthermore, our findings contribute to an understanding of human brands from a brand-as-process perspective, and have implications for brands wishing to collaborate with these influential actors.
- Consumer identity
- Human brands