Brand Identities Behind Online Communities: Conceptualizations and Empirical Research

Ieva Utakyte

Student thesis: Master thesis


Due to dramatic global growth of social media, marketing practitioners view social media as a compulsory element of their marketing strategies to share content, connect with audiences and build Brand Identity. Almost every brand has already set up a profile on the mainstream Social Media platforms; currently, there are many brands that turn to more novel platforms like Instagram. However, the challenge most companies face is that although they recognize market trends and a need to be present on those Social Media platforms, they do not truly understand how to leverage such channels for building Brand Identity and what it ultimately means for their Brand Equity. Due to lack of scholarly interest and empirical support, the nature of online Brand Identity and its relation to online communities on Social Media platforms still remains quite vague as well its capability to enhance Corporate Brand Equity and Customer Relationships is still largely unclear and challenging. Therefore, the thesis contributes to a field of online communities by addressing the conceptual changes in Brand Identity formation processes within the context of online communities on Social Media platforms and confirms it through the empirical analysis on online Brand behaviour on Social Media. To assist Brand Managers, the thesis uses an empirical case study for monitoring brand efforts to leverage the Social Media platform Instagram. Lastly, the findings are presented, which most importantly suggest using Brand-as-Person approach for building strong Brand Identity on online Social Media platforms. Among the many possible outcomes on Brand Equity, the findings far and foremost demonstrate that self-expressive and emotional benefits of value proposition for the customers lead to the stronger consumer relationship. Finally, the study is concluded with several managerial insights for marketing practitioners.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages83