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The challenges of sharing: brands as club goods

Angela Tregear (University of Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh, UK)
Matthew Gorton (School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 29 May 2009




The purpose of this paper is to explore the managerial challenges of shared brands, defined as arrangements whereby a single brand name acts as the sole or principal identity for the products of two or more firms, and where brand management is governed by an entity independent from a single firm.


An exploratory, theory‐building approach is adopted. The paper draws from the brand equity and institutional economics literatures to develop a conceptualisation of club brands, of which shared brands represent one type. The managerial challenges for the latter are explored with reference to secondary evidence and two cases based in the food sector.


The analysis proposes that the exclusive and non‐rivalrous characteristics of club brands pose specific managerial challenges in the key decision‐making phases of brand identity creation, reputation building and reputation protection. Case exploration of shared brands illustrates these challenges, although some are attributed to the distinct governance structure of shared brands rather than their club characteristics.


Through a focus on shared brands, the paper offers an original exploration of a type of branding arrangement which has been overlooked in the literature, but whose use is growing amongst practitioners. It also offers a novel conceptualisation of brands that highlights the bias towards individualism in mainstream branding theory and its preoccupation with customer‐facing managerial tasks.



Tregear, A. and Gorton, M. (2009), "The challenges of sharing: brands as club goods", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 43 No. 5/6, pp. 826-842.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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