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 con-sumer 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.
- brand communities
- company-consumer fine tuning
- consumer-brand bond
- qualitative multi-method approach
- value co-creation