A game of association: Blogs & Co-branding

Mia Backhausen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The subject of this thesis is co-branding and international blogs. Co-branding is a relatively new topic within marketing research, as its early stages date back to 1999. Blogs is also a new research topic and is a fast growing, unexplored online platform for marketing. From a theoretical perspective, the combination of blogs and co-branding is very interesting, because both are relatively new subjects and provide possibility for investigating the mechanism of co-creation. The type of collaborations bloggers participate in have a symbolic character, which differentiate them from the traditional functional co-branding arrangements, bringing new insights to marketing research. Therefore, the thesis will examine how the process of symbolic co-branding evolves on international blogs and how it affects the involved international brands. The theoretical approach is testing the theoretical propositions and models within the symbolic co-branding research stream. The empirical data is based on qualitative data, obtained on blogs, collected via netnographic method, chosen with critical case perspective and analysed with discourse methodology. In order to identify how the process of symbolic co-branding evolved and affected the involved brands, theory was compared and contrasted, in order to the develop the framework, based on which the analysis was carried out and theoretical propositions were tested. The author found that the process of symbolic co-branding evolves on international blogs by means of stakeholders engaging in discourse creation, symbolic meaning appropriation and brand manifestation creation. The process affects the involved international brands by games of association. The stakeholders use discursive mechanisms to create their own stories, which affect the brands, and association games to develop the dominating discourses. All in all, the author thus found that symbolic co-branding affected the brands involved and presented opportunities for further research.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages422