Break Through the Noise - Generation Z: Exploring Loyalty in Online Communities: A Netnographic Single Case Study on Soundboks

Cecilie Skjeldal Øverland & Kristina Selbekk Husby

Student thesis: Master thesis


Consumers within Generation Z are rapidly increasing in maturity and spending power. Shaped by growing up in the digital era – their behaviours and desires significantly differ from previous generations. Most of these consumers’ everyday life is tinted by social media presence and online interactions. Consumers in Generation Z are said to have a relatively short attention span, and they crave personalised messages and customized products over genericism. They want dialogue instead of one-way communication and would rather experience the brand story as opposed to having it told. Consequently, brands need to adapt and tailor their efforts to build competitive advantage through connections and fostering of true brand loyalty.
Thus, the purpose of this thesis is to explore how online brand communities can contribute in nurturing connections and potentially, build brand loyalty within consumers of Generation Z. We explore relevant constructs influencing brand loyalty in the online brand community setting. This includes the markers of online brand communities, engagement and co-created experiences. The nature and nuances of such co-created experiences are reflected upon in a profound manner. Though brand loyalty for Generation Z may be fostered through a number of marketing initiatives, this thesis is limited to the scope of the online brand community and the engagement within it.
To answer the research question, an exploratory single case study has been conducted. Following an abductive approach, we constructed a theoretical framework based on literature to guide the research. A qualitative method of netnographic observations was applied in analysing the online brand community of SOUNDBOKS. Additionally, the NPS was measured within the community, in order to gain perspective on their perceived loyalty. The results are therefore relevant in the scope of the SOUNDBOKS online community firstly. However, the insights provided can also be beneficial for marketing managers in fostering brand loyalty within Generation Z in online brand communities.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages178
SupervisorsLiana Razmerita