Increasing Value of a Tangible Product through Intangible Attributes: Value Co-Creation and Brand Building within Online Communities – Virtual Communities and Value

Increasing Value of a Tangible Product through Intangible Attributes: Value Co-Creation and Brand Building within Online Communities – Virtual Communities and Value

Raechel Johns (University of Canberra, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0010-0.ch008
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Abstract

As researchers seek to understand value co-creation in more detail, it is essential to explore both tangible and intangible products in more depth. This case study provides an understanding of the intangible value created with a tangible product. The Thermomix is a high-end multi-purpose cooking device and through social media, communities of users have increased the value of the device. This article argues that value can be created through the intangible offerings, even when a physical product exists.
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Value Co-Creation

To understand the way virtual communities are creating value, first an understanding of value in a marketing context must be established. Value aligns closely with the use of virtual communities and therefore is a useful consideration in the virtual community space. Co-creation of value is developed through interaction between the marketer and the customer (Ballantyne & Varey 2006; Ballantyne & Varey 2008), therefore it can be understood how product-related virtual communities can result in value creation. This is particularly pertinent because social forces influence service exchange and value co-creation (Edvardsson, Tronvoll & Gruber, 2011).

Customer value is created through experiences and relationships whereby firms do not market to customers but rather market or interact with customers (Aitken, Ballantyne, Osborne & Williams 2006). Co-creation of value alters the relationship between the marketer and the customer (Choi & Burnes, 2013) and customers engage more with the brand, the product and provide more positive word of mouth. Value is an individual thing, defined by each customer in terms of what they perceive as valuable to them and it is essential to understand the customer’s perception. Marketers must, therefore, have a strong understanding of their customers and collaborate with them to determine and provide this value.

The literature relating to Service-Dominant Logic (see Vargo & Lusch 2004; 2006; 2008) links to the concept of value by stating that value is co-created by the marketer and customer (Vargo & Lusch 2006) and leads to a mutual benefit. It is through interaction that value is created and relationships are enhanced (Vargo & Lusch 2006). Relationships are facilitated by the marketer but the customer works closely with the marketer to ensure a benefit for both parties. Collaborating with, and learning from, customers is essential because value becomes defined by, and co-created with, the customer shifting the focus from tangible goods to more intangible, interpersonal relationships (Vargo & Lusch 2004). Value is created in-exchange at the provider side and in-use at the customer level (Grönroos & Voima, 2013). Value is influenced by the dynamics in the social system (Edvardsson, Tronvoll & Gruber, 2011) and can be created in a virtual space (Johns, 2012).

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