Brand Community Membership and the Construction of Meaning
Scandinavian Journal of Management 29 (2): 173-183. 2013
11 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 1, 2013
We investigate one way that consumers find meaning in their lives through the joint experience of a brand with friends in a brand community. Using the laddering technique, we disclose the sense-making related to the participation of 174 members of Ducati motorcycle communities. The emergent cognitive map reveals that the members’ sense-making is related to a strong personal involvement with the focal brand and its social relatedness and symbolic mean- ings. These variables and their interconnections allow customers to define their relationships through the community. We also explore how elicited explanations for joining a community are efficacious in decision-making processes, through their influence on variables included in the theory of planned behavior. The findings provide a clearer explanation of consumer membership in brand communities than extant approaches and how customers define their identities through the centrality of the brand in their lives.
Keywords: Social identity, Personal identity, Sense-making, Brand communities, Laddering, Means-ends chains
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