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How brand communities emerge: The Beamish conversion experience

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Abstract:

This paper explores the processes contributing to the genesis of a brand community. This ethnographic study focuses on the Beamish brand community. The Beamish beer product is a niche brand only available consistently in the locality of Cork city, Ireland. Evidence from this study shows that a collective conversion experience is foundational to the emergence of this brand community. Following this initial conversion experience, the brand community attempts to maintain the transcendent experience through practices of sacralisation maintenance. Sacralisation is maintained through the playful rituals and virtual play the community members enact. The mutual willingness of the converted to participate in these various forms of playful rituals has been a key role in the reification of the Beamish brand community. Finally, suggestions are made as to how brand management should best approach the initial attempts at brand-community formation.

Keywords: brand community; conversion experience; sacred consumption

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2011.565684

Affiliations: University College Cork, Ireland

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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