The feeling of groundedness in online brand communities
1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
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Oulu : S. Katajamäki,
At the moment, marketing is going through a human centric era where brands are adopting human qualities, such as personability, morality and sociability. Consumers crave an attachment to the brand, and they want to have a connection between the source of the product and themselves. To understand the need for consumers to feel connected, the concept of groundedness was introduced to the marketing literature. Consumers have a need to feel connected through people, place and past which is then translated to the feeling of groundedness. In addition, increased popularity and digital proficiency of consumers has made way for the rise in popularity for online brand communities. As consumers crave a connection, online brand communities provide the outlet for it.
The purpose of this master’s thesis is to fill in the research gap in marketing literature on the concept of groundedness and furthermore to gain a coherent understanding on the feeling of groundedness in consumers in an online brand community context. As the feeling of groundedness is a new concept in the marketing discipline, little research has been done on the concept of groundedness in relation to brands even though, brands and brand communities have been widely researched in the marketing discipline. As there is an increased need for consumers to feel connected to a brand and online brand communities are gaining popularity, the topic of the feeling of groundedness in online brand communities is current and timely.
The study was conducted as a qualitative case study of the online brand community of the Finnish design house Marimekko. The data was collected using content analysis and the time period chosen was 1.6.2022–31.12.2022. Altogether 227 data sets were coded according to pre-set coding agendas. From the 227 data sets 220 data sets were found to hold aspects of groundedness when brand experience, brand attachment or brand co-creation was recognized.
Based on the content analysis, the conceptualisation of groundedness was modified to fit the online brand community context and, thus a new conceptualisation of groundedness was formed. Groundedness in an online brand community context is conceptualised as the function of the need by consumers to feel connected to people, place, past and values. The content analysis also provided a framework for the feeling of groundedness in consumers in an online brand community context. In addition, the coding agendas formed for the content analysis, can be seen as a methodological implication that can be used by other researchers to study the concept of groundedness and, thus be used for further research
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