The brand personalities of brand communities: an analysis of online communication

Date13 November 2017
Publication Date13 November 2017
AuthorJeannette Paschen,Leyland Pitt,Jan Kietzmann,Amir Dabirian,Mana Farshid
SubjectLibrary & information science,Information behaviour & retrieval,Collection building & management,Bibliometrics,Databases,Information & knowledge management,Information & communications technology,Internet,Records management & preservation,Document management
The brand personalities of brand
communities: an analysis of
online communication
Jeannette Paschen
Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan, Stockholm, Sweden
Leyland Pitt
Department of Marketing, Faculty of Business Administration,
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada
Jan Kietzmann
Beedie School of Business,
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada
Amir Dabirian
Department of Marketing,
Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan, Stockholm, Sweden, and
Mana Farshid
Department of Marketing,
Lulea University of Technology, Lulea, Sweden
Purpose Online brand communities provide a wealth of insights about how consumers perceive and talk
about a brand, rather than what the firm communicates about the brand. The purpose of this paper is to
understand whether the brand personality of an online brand community, rather than of the brand itself, can
be deduced from the online communication within that brand community.
Design/methodology/approach The paper is empirical in nature. The authors use community-generated
content from eight online brand communities and perform content analysis using the text analysis software
Diction. The authors employ the five brand personality dictionaries (competence, excitement, ruggedness,
sincerity and sophistication) from the Pitt et al. (2007) dictionary source as the basis for the authorsanalysis.
Findings The paper offers two main contributions. First, it identifies two types of communities:
those focusing on solving functional problems that consumers might encounter with a firms offering and
those focusing on broader engagement with the brand. Second, the study serves as a blueprint that marketers
can adopt to analyze online brand communities using a computerized approach. Such a blueprint is beneficial
not only to analyze a firms own online brand community but also that of competitors, thus providing insights
into how their brand stacks up against competitor brands.
Originality/value This is the first paper examining the nature of online brand communities by means of
computerized content analysis. The authors outline a number of areas that marketing scholars could explore
further based on the authors analysis. The paper also highlights implications for marketers when
establishing, managing, monitoring and analyzing online brand communities.
Keywords Branding, Brand personality, Brand community, Content analysis,
Online communities, Diction
Paper type Research paper
Communities, brand communities and online brand communities
The word community comes from the Latin communitasor communis,referring to
things held in common.Urban sociologists and anthropologists have long been interested
with what makes a community,and have generally agreed that a community is a group of
three or more people who share, or have things in common. Typically, these shared facets
have included interests, practices, values, norms and also extend to symbols, rituals, as well
Online Information Review
Vol. 41 No. 7, 2017
pp. 1064-1075
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/OIR-08-2016-0235
Received 29 August 2016
Revised 28 February 2017
Accepted 17 May 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:

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