Consumer Research

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Journal of Consumer Research Inc.

Brand Community Author(s): Albert M. Muniz, Jr. and Thomas C. O’Guinn Source: Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 27, No. 4 (March 2001), pp. 412-432 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 29/09/2011 15:11 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

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Brand Community
This article introduces the idea of brand community. A brand community is a specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand. Grounded in both classic and contemporary sociology and consumer behavior, this article uses ethnographic and computer mediated environment data to explore the characteristics, processes, and particularities of three brand communities (those centered on Ford Bronco, Macintosh, and Saab). These brand communities exhibit three traditional markers of community: shared consciousness, rituals and traditions, and a sense of moral responsibility. The commercial and mass-mediated ethos in which these communities are situated affects their character and structure and gives rise to their particularities. Implications for branding, sociological theories of community, and consumer behavior are offered.


ommunity is a core construct in social thought. Its intellectual history is lengthy and abundant. Community was a prominent concern of the great social theorists, scientists, and philosophers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (e.g., Dewey 1927; Durkheim [1893] 1933; Freud 1928; Kant [1781] 1996; Marx [1867] 1946; Nietzsche [1886] 1990; Park 1938; Royce 1969; Simmel [1903] 1964; Weber [1922] 1978; Wirth 1938), and has continued to be so among contemporary contributors (e.g., Bellah et al. 1985; Boorstin 1973; Etzioni 1993; Fischer 1975; Lasch 1991; Maffesoli 1996; Merritt 1966; Putnam 1995, 2000; Wellman 1979). In fact, for a century and a half it has been a staple of political, religious, scholarly, and popular discourse (Hummon 1990). This discourse is principally about community’s condition and fate in the wake of modernity, market capitalism, and consumer culture. Yet despite its

*Albert M. Muniz, Jr., is assistant professor of marketing, DePaul University, 7510 DePaul Center, 1 East Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, IL 606042287 ( Thomas C. O’Guinn is professor of advertising and business administration, and professor of sociology, University of Illinois, 119 Gregory Hall, Urbana, IL 61801 ( The authors would like to thank three reviewers, the associate editor, and the editor. In addition they would like to express their thanks to Claude Fischer, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley; Gillian Stevens and Gray Swicegood, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Linda Scott, Department of Advertising, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Stephanie O’Donohoe, Department of Marketing, University of Edinburgh; Jennifer Drolet, University of North Carolina; John Pracejus, University of Alberta; Mariam Catterall, Queen’s University of Belfast; Darach Turley and the marketing group at Dublin City University; Jim Bettman, John Lynch, and the marketing group at the Fuqua...
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