Managing brands through co-creation of value with consumers: Introducing the co-creation approach to brand management

Morten Hertz Larsen & Mads Ulrik Greenfort

Student thesis: Master thesis


The profound roles of consumers have changed, and so have the conditions under which companies can successfully build brands. Consumers has gone from being isolated to connected, from unaware to informed and from passive to active. As a result consumers are to a larger extent seeking engagement in active dialogue with manufacturers of products and services – they have a desire co-create. Consequently, current predominant approaches to branding become less effective in the process of building brands in the minds of consumers, as they are rooted in an obsolete logic of marketing, in which consumers are regarded as passive recipients of company offerings. Motivated by the lack of an appropriate approach to brand management, this thesis sets out to build an approach to building brands that more appropriately responds to the increased needs for consumers to co-create. As a result, this thesis presents the Co-creation Approach to Brand Management; an approach combining predominant theory respectively within co-creation and branding, to better cater to the needs of consumers of today to establish closer and deeper relationships between these and brands. Specifically the Co-Creation Approach to Brand Management suggests two important steps for companies to better understand how to approach such co-creation. Firstly, companies must gather market intelligence concerning what motivates consumers to co-create; in total five motivations are pertinent to establishing co-creation. Further, companies must uncover which touchpoints are mostly appropriate to initiate such co-creation processes, and to activate consumers’ motivations to co-create. Secondly, companies must initiate interaction with consumers, as interaction is in essence the locus of co-creation, and thus where the brand is built. This interaction occurs on two levels, individual and collective, and the more frequent interaction the brand has with consumers, on both levels, the larger the potential of co-creation to establish close relationships with consumers. Furthermore, this thesis conducts four empirical case studies based on the Co-creation Approach to Brand Management. The main conclusion from this study is that companies in general utilize three types of co-creation, upon which a Co-creation Typology is established. The three types of co-creation are co-creation of products, co-creation of marketing communication, and co-creation of social experiences, each entailing a different set of characteristics. These can be employed separately, however utilized in combination they will generate synergistic effects, creating closer relationships with consumers, resulting in a stronger brand.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages121