Modern marketing logic has advanced a view of the firm and the customer as separate and discrete. The customer is the passive recipient of the firm’s active value creation efforts. However, recent research has demonstrated that customers can cocreate value, cocreate competitive strategy, collaborate in the firm’s innovation process, and even become endogenous to the firm. Despite such advances, the mechanism by which value is collectively created has not been identified, nor has a clear typology of cocreated value been developed. This article addresses this shortcoming and reveals the common practices used by members of brand communities to create value. The authors examine extant research in light of data from nine brand communities to produce a list of 12 value-creating practices common to brand communities. The findings demonstrate that practices interact with one another, function like apprenticeships, endow participants with cultural capital, produce a repertoire for insider sharing, generate consumption opportunities, evince brand community vitality, and create value. Managerially, the findings demonstrate (1) that companies should foster a broad array of practices, moving beyond mere customization; (2) that managers can encourage a broad array of practices through seeding; (3) that a focus on practices provides guidance for new product development by facilitating the identification of high-fidelity, as well as low-fidelity, needs; and (4) that companies can encourage the interaction of practices to foster greater customer engagement with the brand.
Hope Jensen Schau is Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Arizona. Her research centers on the impact of technology on marketplace relationships and the importance of consumption as a means of creating and marking identity. Specifically, she examines how consumers realize value in use, strategically deploy consumption to communicate individual and collective identities, and participate in collective consumption to enhance value. Her research has been published in Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Advertising, and Journal of Macromarketing. Professor Schau earned her PhD from the University of California, Irvine.
Albert M. Muniz Jr. is Associate Professor of Marketing at DePaul University. His research interests are in the sociological aspects of consumer behavior and branding, including consumer-generated content and value creation in consumption communities. He has researched extensively in the area of consumer brand communities for more than a decade, and his work has been published in Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Advertising, Journal of Interactive Marketing, and Journal of Strategic Marketing. Professor Muniz received his BS, MS, and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Before coming to DePaul, Professor Muniz taught at the University of California at Berkeley.
Eric Arnould joined the University of Wyoming in 2007 as Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Sustainable Business Practices. He has also taught at the University of Arizona, the University of Nebraska, the University of Colorado–Denver, University of South Florida, California State University, Long Beach, Southern Denmark University, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Université Paris Dauphine, IAE-Sorbonne, EAP-ESCP, and Université Paris XII, France. He has consulted for TransFair USA, CVS, HJ Heinz, Vertical Communications, Colorado River Outfitters Association, JCPenney, USAID, United Nations Environmental Program, CARE, and several independent consulting firms. His research on qualitative data analysis, consumer culture theory, economic development in developing countries, and services marketing appears in many major social science and managerial periodicals and books. He is currently interested in the mundane consumption of electricity and water.Journal of Marketing, Volume 73, Number 5, September 2009
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