Co-creation and innovation by community members within a firm-hosted online brand community: the effect on brand value: A case study on Starcraft II by Blizzard Entertainment

Jonathan Peyron & Fredrik Hultin

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Executive summary: The aim with this research has been to look at how consumers’ and other companystakeholders interactions to co-create and innovate within a firm-hosted online brand community affect the company’s brand value. Motivated by the intense passion people have in online brand communities that revolve around computer games, this research aims to study how Blizzard Entertainment is managing their firm-hosted online brand community in order to co-create brand value. An extensive literature on theoretical areas was made, leading to the construction of a theoretical framework. The theoretical framework has been used in order to analyze how all these theoretical concepts have an impact on the brand value on the case company Blizzard Entertainment. A netnographic research method (qualitative, interpretive research methodology where one study the online cultures and communities formed through computermediated communication) has further been used when collecting empirical findings. The conceptual framework, with its relevant theoretical sections, has been used as a tool for interpreting and analyzing the findings from the netnographic research. The analysis shows that members firm-hosted online brand communities can form a strong community through active participation and a great passion for the product on which the community revolve around. The participation and passion gives the community a sense of we-ness, shared rituals and traditions as well as a sense of moral responsibility. Further, our research show that the structure of a firm-hosted online brand community does have an impact on how the community members are able to engage in social interactions, innovation and co-creation processes. Co-creation between community members has in the research shown to be common in the firm-hosted online brand community. However, our analysis and results have shown that the case company doesn’t engage in the co-creation processes by being transparent and having continuous dialogues with the community members. Hence, the co-creation processes by itself do not contribute to the brand value. However, cocreation increases the strength of the community. And the strong online community that Blizzard has contributes positively to the brand value.

EducationsMSc Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages130