In line with the paradigm shift in branding literature in which the rise of the stakeholder-focus brand era, where various stakeholders co-create brand value, some researchers have emphasized the understanding of specific stakeholder groups; such as brand communities. However, whilst there are several studies on brand communities, collective and intended brand identities, brand image, and brand identity construction, both within a community and outside it, no research exists on whether the individual brand image of the brand in consumption, is affected depending on the type of association that consumers have with the brand-related community. Furthermore, this research utilizes a mixed-method approach, where a case study is used as the foundation; surveys have been conducted to gather primary data, both quantitative and qualitative. Descriptive and inferential analytical methods have been used in order to obtain relevant quantitative data from the surveys, while content analysis has been utilized in order to understand and present social phenomena from the qualitative data. Through the selection of the brand community (NBRO Running) and the brand (Nike), this research aims at addressing this gap in literature by analyzing how the disclosure of a brand community influences different consumer's brand images of the brand, depending on the type of association the consumers have with the brand community within the sports apparel industry. Therefore, through the single-case study into three different association groups, characterized dependent on the respondent's relationship with NBRO Running (Group A – Current/Previous member of NBRO Running, Group B – Know/Heard of NBRO Running and Group C – Do Not Know/Heard of NBRO Running), and the quantitative and qualitative analysis, the researchers believe that the results bring significant theoretical and managerial contributions. Brand community and its influence on different consumer groups gain validity as a construct that should be more considered by brand managers and researchers managing all brand communications. Conversely, the key dimension to focus on should be that of brand Image, as the exposure of the brand community impacts this construct's subdimensions. Finally, suggestions for future research that addresses the theoretical and methodological limitations of the study are presented.
|Educations||Cand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||174|