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Publication type: Bachelor thesis
Title: The role of brand communities within the athletic footwear industry : an assessment of selected brand communities with a focus on the Swiss athletic footwear industry
Authors: Müller, Dana
Advisors / Reviewers: Rüeger, Brian
DOI: 10.21256/zhaw-1353
Extent: 80
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher / Ed. Institution: ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
Language: English
Subject (DDC): 658.8: Marketing management
Abstract: Adidas’s launch of the “Adidas Runners” community, Asics “FrontRunners” and Nike’s “Training Club” are only a few communities that have been established within past years. This evolution highlights the rise of so-called brand communities. The idea of customer communities arose with the internet in the beginning of the 21st century. This phenomenon brings customer engagement and relationship marketing to a new level. Brand communities – if well implied – allow companies to connect with their customers on a closer and more integrated level than ever before. They facilitate the establishment of a network that fosters conversation, engagement and loyalty. Online or offline brand communities can establish close bonds between people who share similar interests around a brand. Brands have moved away from purely selling a product. This bachelor thesis seeks to address brand communities by assessing the Swiss athletic footwear market on the topic and elaborates the implications. It further provides insights into the value, measurement and success factors of brand communities. The data for this analysis is gathered from secondary research including a literature review that explains existing concepts and theories on brand communities. Furthermore, semi-structured interviews with representatives of ASICS, ON and ADIDAS in Switzerland provided an overview of the implication of brand communities and revealed realistic practical insights. Brand communities have taken a key role and the increasing importance of selling experience and transformation guidance has enlarged the potential and the need from society for brand communities. Marketing experts agree upon the fact that brand communities will last and become even more powerful than they are today. The thesis has found that amongst the three assessed companies, all of them consider brand communities as a valuable vehicle to increase customer engagement, loyalty and word of mouth. All of them have online brand communities and perceive Facebook as the most valuable network. Two out of three companies have a physical brand community in order to establish a more tangible and local connection to their customers. All companies have experienced positive effects of implementing brand communities. Two of them link their increased market share and net sales to the success of brand communities. On the other hand, one of the main issues for marketers has been to measure brand communities. Although companies say that brand communities have positively impacted their business, it remains challenging to measure the performance of brand communities. As a result, marketers are still hesitant to allocate budgets to brand communities. The dynamic of brand communities requires further and ongoing research, this thesis is meant to disclose the first insight into the Swiss athletic footwear market and is a fundamental base work for further studies. Further study could focus on a quantitative research to support the findings regarding the measurement tool, additional success factor and global validity of the findings.
License (according to publishing contract): CC BY 4.0: Attribution 4.0 International
Departement: School of Management and Law
Appears in Collections:BSc International Management

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