Our study is focused on the case of a company-managed online brand community in the soda drink sector, which failed in facilitating value co-creation. The aim was to explore the meaning-making processes taking place inside the company, among brand decision-makers, to highlight the factors hindering value co-creation between company and consumers in the brand community context. The study followed a qualitative multi-method design based on three interlaced motivational, semiotic and narrative research phases. The results reveal how some key misalignments rooted in inner tensions in the meaning-making processes among brand decision-makers resonate in an ambiguous community identity, which is then reflected into a detached and opportunistic consumer experience of the community, to the detriment of its value co-creation potential. The study points at the theoretical relevance of analysing the meaning-making processes occurring among brand decision-makers, since their internal fine-tuning represents a precondition for value co-creation processes with consumers in the community context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-178
Number of pages24
JournalMarketing Theory
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • btoc online brand community
  • company-consumer fine tuning
  • consumer-brand bond
  • value co-creation


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