Does Co-creation Strengthen Brand Equity?

Marianne Jensby Larsen & Katrine Amdi Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Co-creation has previously been explored within the field of innovation; however, this thesis will investigate whether it can be related to the field of branding. Thus, the purpose of this thesis is to examine how the use of co-creation contributes to organizations’ brand equity, and how organizations can use co-creation to increase the value of their brand. This is done by studying the Danish company Aarstiderne and its use of co-creation as well as the consumers’ opinions about co-creation. Knowledge is constructed through interpretation of human actions and products of such actions; hence, Social Constructivism and Hermeneutics form the basis of the methodology in the thesis. The research is based on empirical data collected through two in-depth interviews with employees from Aarstiderne and an online survey to current and previous customers of Aarstiderne. The thesis starts out by analyzing how Aarstiderne co-creates with its customers and potential customers through Prahalad and Ramaswamy’s theory about co-creation. The findings imply that Aarstiderne cocreates by using a combination of the four building blocks: Dialogue, Access, Risk-assessment and Transparency. In addition, Keller’s Customer-based Brand Equity model is used to examine how Aarstiderne tries to build brand equity. This analysis shows that the company works with all four steps of the model and thereby achieve both brand identity, brand meaning, brand responses and brand relationships. Furthermore, the thesis investigates how consumers react to the possibility of co-creating and whether the effect of co-creation can be measured in a company’s brand equity. In order to investigate this, five hypotheses are formulated. The findings of the analysis suggest that all five hypotheses can be confirmed, as consumers’ perception of co-creation can be related to all four steps of the Customer-based Brand Equity model. Lastly, the thesis explores how co-creation can contribute to the alignments between Aarstiderne’s vision, culture and image, as - according to Hatch & Schultz - these relations are essential in order to create brand value. The analysis suggest that co-creation can help strengthen the mutual alignments and thus strengthen the brand value. The thesis concludes that co-creation contributes to organizations’ brand equity by creating and strengthening a brand’s identity, meaning, responses and relationships. Furthermore, organizations can use co-creation to strengthen the mutual alignments between their vision, culture and image, and thereby increase the value of the brand.

EducationsMSc in Economics and Marketing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages163