Offline Brand Communities - A future marketing tool for b2b companies?
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 80 credits / 120 HE creditsStudent thesis
The community phenomenon has been recognized in various sciences, including business studies, whereby the latter have been focused on studying brand communities from a customer perspective in the b2c market. Until recently, the brand community’s importance for companies within b2b industries has however been neglected, especially regarding its original real-life setting. This study thus aims to explore the existence of firm-hosted offline b2b brand communities by investigating their constitution, characteristics and their potential value for the hosting firm. In order to do so, this paper investigates a certain type of b2b customer events, creating a new perspective for offline community research. By applying a qualitative research method, combining inductive and deductive approach and conducting semi-structured interviews, this paper explores the offline b2b brand community through the lens of the multinational company Ericsson. This study develops a theoretical framework of offline b2b brand communities based on related community studies from the b2b and b2c industries. Findings indicate that even in today’s web-enhanced world, offline communities can be of value for the hosting firm, since they are likely to foster the development of trust by customers towards the company as well as information exchange and knowledge development. The study further argues that offline b2b brand communities provide subsequent benefits of long-term relationships and product/service improvement to the hosting firm in the long run.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 61 p.
community, brand community, offline b2b brand community, interaction, trust, relationship marketing
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-256251OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-256251DiVA: diva2:824861
Master Programme in Business and Management