Brand research increasingly recognizes the active role of multiple stakeholders in co-creating brand meaning and the importance of new social media supporting stakeholders in their co-creation efforts. However, empirical insights into the social process of online multi-stakeholder brand meaning co-creation are so far missing. This study contributes to existing research by illuminating the social dynamics that characterize multi-stakeholder brand meaning co-creation in a virtual environment. The authors undertake an online discursive inquiry focusing on stakeholders’ textual interactions regarding the UK Gate Gourmet brand crisis. The empirical study aggregates online stakeholder texts to illustrate (a) relationships between salient stakeholders and (b) discursive strategies and resources stakeholders apply to co-create brand meaning. The article concludes that brand meaning results from simultaneous interactions between interdependent stakeholders in a network (termed multi-log). Successfully managing brands requires management's active engagement in this multi-log.
Journal of Business Research, 2013, Vol 66, Issue 9
Multi-stakeholder; Virtual discourse; Brand meaning co-creation