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Hold the Line! Exploring the Brand Community Coping Process

Consumer Culture Theory

ISBN: 978-1-78441-158-9, eISBN: 978-1-78441-157-2

Publication date: 22 November 2014



The purpose of this study is to investigate how brand communities collectively react towards brand transgressions, an area where previous research has been scant.


This study adopts a netnographic approach in studying the reactions of one particular brand community and its reactions to a marketer-initiated brand transgression.


Building on coping theory, we find evidence of brand community coping, a temporally bounded process in which the community seeks to come to terms with and even overturn the transgression. Overall, we define the brand community coping process as unfolding through three overlapping and temporally bounded stages of (1) making the problem communal, (2) exploring the problem’s meaning, and (3) co-creating responses.


Studies of consumer coping particularly in cases of brand transgressions have predominantly adopted an individualistic approach to coping, or have treated communities as coping resources for individual consumers. This study is the first study to truly look at brand communities’ collective coping endeavors. We also offer managerial implications by questioning the overtly positive tone of brand co-creation literature and underline potential threats to marketers when consumers decide to use their co-creative practices to punish the marketer.



Weijo, H. and Rintamäki, J. (2014), "Hold the Line! Exploring the Brand Community Coping Process", Consumer Culture Theory (Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 115-131.



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