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Corporations use of Online Communities in the Process of Retaining Consumers in Long-term Relationships

Master thesis 2010 Master of Arts in Corporate Communication Aarhus School of Business Student: Allan Pontoppidan Supervisor: Sara Alwan

Master of Arts in Corporate Communication Allan Pontoppidan Aarhus School of Business

Table of Contents
1. Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 6 1.1 Problem Statement ..................................................................................................................... 7 1.2 Theory of Science ...................................................................................................................... 8 1.2.1 Social Constructionism ....................................................................................................... 9 1.2.2 Part Conclusion ................................................................................................................. 11 1.3 Choice of Theory ..................................................................................................................... 11 1.3.1 Postmodernity ................................................................................................................... 12 1.3.2 Relationship Marketing ..................................................................................................... 12 1.3.3 Social Media and Online Communities ............................................................................ 13 1.4 Choice of Method and Structure .............................................................................................. 13 1.5 Delimitation ............................................................................................................................. 15 2. The Societal Worldview of Today A Definition of Postmodernity ............................................ 17 2.1 A Definition and the Historical Perspectives of Postmodernity .............................................. 17 2.2 The Postmodern Consumer ...................................................................................................... 19 2.3 Postmodern Marketing Communication Business as Unusual ............................................. 20 2.4 Part Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 23 3. Relationship Marketing .................................................................................................................. 25 3.1 Definition and Clarification of Relationship Marketing .......................................................... 25 3.2 Development and Current Form of Relationship Marketing ................................................... 28 3.3 Loyalty ..................................................................................................................................... 30 3.4 Part Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 34 4. Social Media and Online Communities ......................................................................................... 36 4.1 Theoretical Description and Definition of Social Media ......................................................... 36 4.2 The Implementation of Social Media in Corporate Communication ....................................... 38 4.3 Online Communities ................................................................................................................ 44 4.3.1 The Motivation for Members to be Active and Participate in an Online Community...... 49 4.3.2 The Importance of Active Members to an Online Community ........................................ 51 4.4 Netnography The Online Analysis ........................................................................................ 52 4.5 Part Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 56 5. Case Study Weber Klubben ........................................................................................................ 58 5.1 Weber Klubben The Official Weber Online Community ..................................................... 58 5.2 Weber Klubben and the Theoretical Framework ..................................................................... 61 5.2.1 Weber Klubben and the Netnographic Analysis ............................................................... 68

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5.3 Interview with Stig Pedersen Marketing Director at Weber .................................................... 74 5.4 Part Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 77 6. Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 78 Literature ............................................................................................................................................ 81 Appendix 1 Facebook: Company Timeline .................................................................................... 87 Appendix 2 - Postmodern Conditions and Their Main Themes ........................................................ 91 Appendix 3 Communication Flow in the Manufacturer-Driven Marketplace ................................ 93 Appendix 4 -Communication Flow in the Distribution-Driven Marketing System .......................... 94 Appendix 5- Communication Flow in the Interactive Marketplace .................................................. 95 Appendix 6 The Relationship Marketing Ladder of Customer Loyalty ......................................... 96 Appendix 7 Brsen TV ................................................................................................................... 97 Appendix 8 - Politikken ..................................................................................................................... 98 Appendix 9 - Weber Klubben The largest Grilling Community in Europe .................................. 104 Appendix 10 - Interview with Stig Pedersen, Marketing Director at Weber ................................... 107 Appendix 11 - What Does it Mean to be a Member ........................................................................ 112 Appendix 12 - Legal Notices For Weber-Stephen Nordic ............................................................... 116 Appendix 13 - Privacy and cookies ................................................................................................. 123 Appendix 14 - Closedown of Blog Post........................................................................................... 127 Appendix 15 VIP Membership ..................................................................................................... 136 Appendix 16 - FAQ.......................................................................................................................... 139 Appendix 17 Member Interviews ................................................................................................. 144 Appendix 18 - WSM ........................................................................................................................ 152 Appendix 19 Weber Q .................................................................................................................. 153 Appendix 20 Inspiration through Blog Post ................................................................................. 154 Appendix 21 Weber Camp 2010 ................................................................................................... 162 Appendix 22 - Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types ............................................. 166 Appendix 23 Rewards and Diplomas............................................................................................ 170 Appendix 24 - www.weberklubben.dk ............................................................................................ 177

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Abstract
The purpose of this thesis is to look into how a corporation can use an online community in the aim of retaining consumers in long term relationships. Based on a theoretical framework, where the thesis will look into the theoretical areas of postmodernity, relationship marketing and social media and especially online communities, it is the aim to give suggestive answers to the problem statement. The theoretical framework will be supported by a netnographic research of Weberklubben.dk, Webers official online community, in order to show concrete examples of how an organisation is using an online community regarding consumer relationship enhancing and retaining. The thesis defines the current society and the consumer of today as belonging to the postmodern era, meaning that the consumer is living a fragmented and ambiguous life searching for multiple identities. The postmodern communication is further defined as being largely based on two-way communication caused by changes in the society as an effect of the development within technology and globalisation. When looking into relationship marketing, the term is described as being a necessary part in a paradigm shift within marketing communication, caused by, among other things, the above mentioned postmodern condition. Relationship marketing is defined as the process whereas a corporation identifies, establishes, maintains and enhances a long-term relationship to the consumer which will be mutual beneficial for both parties. Finally, social media and online communities are defined as computer mediated communication where people with common interests and enthusiasm for a product or an area of interest are able to share knowledge and experiences with the aim of improving their overall experience of the product or brand. Relationships established through an online community can also be beneficial to a corporation, if the corporation is able to derive advantages from the information available through the interactions between the users of the online community. It is how an organisation can benefit from and make use of such knowledge that this thesis wants to illuminate and through the netnographic research stress the theoretical framework.

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Through the examination of the theoretical framework and the netnographic research this thesis concludes that relationship marketing has evolved into its current form as a necessity in response to the societal developments. One of these developments has made social media a highly appropriate communication tool when reaching the postmodern consumer as the postmodern consumer spends incredible amounts of time in the online communities, and it is therefore an obvious communication channel to use. A corporation can derive large advantages through an engagement with an online community. A corporation is able to create and strengthen bonds to it consumers based on influx and firsthand knowledge through the online community. Further, this knowledge will enable the corporation in the process of developing and improving new and existing products in order to strengthen the corporations own position in the market. These advantages will additionally help the corporation to sustain the consumer in a long term relationship, because gained knowledge will help the corporation to know and understand its consumers better.

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1. Introduction
Since the beginning of the 1990s where the Internet really came to existence the influence of the World Wide Web has been inevitable to recognise. In todays society it is difficult to imagine a corporation doing any kind of business without any influence of the Internet. An area where the Internet has had a great impact is in relation to globalisation. The influence that the Internet has had has made it possible for corporations to collaborate, compete and interact in real time in all corners of the world. Globalisation has qua the influence of the Internet levelled the differences in the market, and the technological development has erased the limits that previously gave large western multinational corporations an unfair advantage to dominate the market (Friedman, 2006, pp. 6-11). According to Friedman (2005) globalisation is to be seen as a positive trend which through its influence has reshaped the economy, the culture and the political landscape worldwide (Friedman, 2005, p. 43) in a way that has given more power to the consumer in the marketplace (Friedman, 2006, p. 10). Additionally, the Internet does also play a larger and larger part in the everyday life of the individual. Besides the increasing power that the consumer gains, the Internet has provided tools that enable the consumer to pursue an extension of the real life. This pursuing of several different identities is one of the main characteristics of the postmodern era, where the consumer is perceived to live a fragmented and chaotic life because of the need for multiple identities (Firat and Venkatesh, 1995, pp. 253-254). Through social media it is possible to strengthen the bond to the people of the offline network and further participate in additional networks which may not be available elsewhere (Wierenga et al., 2009, pp. 185 and 200). An example of the influence that social media has had on todays society is found in Times Magazine, where Person of the Year in 2006 was appointed as YOU. The reason hereof was to be found in the huge engagement that individuals were placing in various social media with an impressive influence as the result1. The increasing use of social media is a strong indicator of this development through which the consumer is able to connect and interact with an unlimited number of likeminded (Appendix 1 Facebook: Company Timeline)2. The gathering of groups with common interests through social media and online communities has further strengthened the power that the consumer has gained in
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http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1569514,00.html Essential to this thesis is the raise in active users where the number is 150 million in January 2009 and has reached more than 500 million active users in July 2010.

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the market. As a gathered unit the consumers are able to influence the corporation and the consumers favourite brand or product. Even though the consumer has gained power, it is still to the advantage for the corporation. Online communities have made knowledge sharing possible and all knowledge is easily available worldwide. If a corporation is able to derive advantage from the interaction between online community members, the corporation has access to an inevitable source of firsthand information (Fournier and Lee, 2009, p. 111). This information can for example be used to increase and strengthen the relationship between the corporation and its consumers. Through a strong consumer relationship the corporation stands strong in the increasing global competition (Friedman, 2006, p. 7). But consumer relationships are not achieved that easily. Consumers have increased their demands towards the products that are purchased and product differentiation is no longer the single factor to fulfil these demands (Berry, 1991, p. 138). Therefore a corporation needs to offer its consumers something extraordinary besides the physical product or service. This could for example be an online community where the consumer is able to interact with other consumers and through the sharing of knowledge and experiences improve the overall impression of the brand or product and hereby increase the loyalty towards the corporation.

1.1 Problem Statement


The above introduction constitutes the main thoughts for the point of departure of this thesis. It is with the introduction in mind that the thesis wants to gain an insight into how a corporation can use social media and especially online communities in the aim of enhancing consumer relationships. Based on a theoretical examination and empirical research and analysis, it is the objective of the thesis to reach suggestive answers to the problem statement below guided by the hypothesis and the guiding questions. Hypothesis: The postmodern condition of the 21st century has affected the process of marketing communication. This has increased the use of online communities when corporations are to retain consumers in long-term relationships in the consumer-centric orientation that corporations employ today. But is this the truth? And how can it be proven? With the hypothesis in mind this thesis will take its point of departure in the following research question.

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Research question: To which degree do corporations use online communities to retain the postmodern consumer of the 21st century in a long-term relationship? Guiding questions: 1) How has relationship marketing evolved into its current position? 2) To which degree is social media an appropriate strategic communication channel when reaching the postmodern consumer of the 21st century? 3) How can a corporation use an online community in the process of retaining long-term consumer relationships?

The problem statement is constructed as a hypothesis with one overall research question and three additional guiding questions which will serve as guidance for the reader throughout the thesis. It is the aim to address each of the guiding questions throughout the thesis, and at the end the theoretical and empirical findings will function as the foundation in the final conclusion bringing forth suggestive answers to the research question.

1.2 Theory of Science


In order to make sure that the writer and reader of this thesis have the same point of departure within the scientific point of view, an introduction to the field of social constructionism, on which this thesis is based, will here be carried out. It is not the aim of this thesis to discus different positions or arguments within the field of social constructionism, but simply to give a short account of the topic as a basic foundation on which the following theoretical and empirical research will be based. This paragraph is based on the theories of Guba (1990) presented in his book The Paradigm Dialog, Gergen (1985) because of his work with social constructionism in the book The Social Constructionist Movement in Modern Psychology, and Berger and Luckman (1991) for their contribution in the book The Social Construction of Reality - A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge.

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1.2.1 Social Constructionism Social constructionism holds no single definition but can in short be described as a discourse where the world is viewed as an artifact of communal interchange (Gergen, K. J., 1985, p. 266). In addition, Gergen (1985) gives a more thorough explanation of what social constructionism is through four characteristics that shortly can be categorised as: 1) A critical stance towards taken-for-granted knowledge 2) Historical and cultural specific 3) Knowledge as sustained by social processes 4) Knowledge and social action going together (As interpreted by Burr, 2001, pp. 3-5) This means that social interactions between individuals take part in the constant process of developing and enhancing new knowledge. As well as there is no clear definition of social constructionism it is also difficult to determine from what source social constructionism originate. However, one of the major contributors to the social constructionist viewpoint is the book The Social Construction of Reality by Berger and Luckmann (1966). In their book Berger and Luckmann account for three fundamental processes which determine the social constructionist. These are 1) externalisation which sees the social world as a product of the activities and routines people have carried out, 2) objectivation seeing the social world as being objective with constant influence on peoples life which requires constant learning about it, and 3) internalisation where people are socialised in the life and world of others and hereby are affected by their identities (Berger & Luckmann, 1966, pp. 78-79). Through these three accounts it comes clear that the world can be interpreted as social constructed by the interactions that people have with each other (Berger & Luckmann, 1966, pp. 13). Social constructionism stands in opposition to positivism, which holds the assumption that what exists is what is perceived to exist (Guba, 1990, p. 9). The social constructionists view holds the position that the world is understood as social artifacts and that forces of nature do not drive the process of understanding, but hence is a result of the interactions and relationships in which people engage (Gergen, K. J., 1985, p. 267).

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The social scientist Egon G. Guba (1990) stress the social constructionists standpoint concerning the rejection of positivism, as well as Gergen (1985) and Berger and Luckmann (1966), through his belief in how the social construction paradigm of ontology, epistemology and methodology are to be perceived. Ontology: Relativist realities exist in the form of multiple mental constructions, socially and experientially based, local and specific, dependent for their form and content on persons who hold them Epistemology: Subjectivist inquirer and inquired into are fused into a single (monistic) entity. Findings are literally the creation of the process of interaction between the two Methodology: Hermeneutic, dialectic individual constructions are elicited and refined hermeneutically, and compared and contrasted dialectically, with the aim of generating one (or a few) constructions on which there is substantial consensus (Guba, 1990, p. 27) Common features for the characteristics by Gergen (1985), the accounts by Berger and Luckmann (1966) and the paradigm by Guba (1990) are that people construct their own versions of reality through constant interactions and social practise, and through the viewpoints it comes clear that social constructionism invites one to challenge and be ever suspicious towards conventional knowledge. Through these common features it comes clear that social constructionism sees knowledge and meaning creation as results of peoples doings together and constant interactions. Further, this means that knowledge is constantly undergoing a process of development and expansion where things are ever changing because people constantly share for example knowledge and opinions. When a researcher is using social constructionism as a scientific method the scientific field is entered with a number of assumptions that have been created through years of interactions with other people and have hereby generated knowledge and formed meanings towards the world that is lived in.

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It needs to be stated that social constructionism is not to be confused with the term social constructivism which is often used in relation with Piagetian theory3 (Gergen, K. J., 1985, p. 266).

1.2.2 Part Conclusion In relation to this thesis social constructionism has been chosen because of its appropriate match with postmodernity, c.f. 2. The Societal Worldview of Today A Definition of Postmodernity. Further, the stance within social science has been chosen as it is an aim for the thesis to be critical towards the theoretical as well as the empirical findings. It is believed that through the thoughts of social constructionism this thesis will be able to bring forth findings which are trustworthy and useful within the theoretical fields that are to be illuminated through the thesis. In addition, the use of hypothesis in the problem statement does also call for the social constructionists approach to a research, where a scientific field is entered with a number of assumptions. Finally, social constructionism and postmodernity have a suitable match which comes clear through the increasing interaction taking place through for example online communities, c.f. 4.3 Online Communities, where the sharing and creation of new knowledge together with the need for a sense of belonging make the three areas correspond.

1.3 Choice of Theory


This thesis will be based on a theoretical framework where more than one theorist has been used within each of the specific areas. This is done in order to reach the best possible result based on an overall understanding of the specific area where knowledge is not based on one single theorists work, but is a gathering of more theorists in order to stress the choice. The theorists have been chosen as they are perceived to be the most suitable for this specific thesis and because there is a general match between the theories. Further, the chosen theorists have been selected because they either are among the most cited or used theorists within their specific area or because they have been able to formulate complex theory into an easy understandable context. Below, a short
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Although the term constructivism is also used in referring to the same movement (cf. Watzlawick, 1984), this term is also used in reference to Piagetian theory, to a form of perceptual theory, and to a significant movement in 20th century art. The term constructionism avoids these various confusions and enables a linkage to be retained to Berger and Luckmann's (1966) seminal volume, The Social Construction of Reality. Gergen, K.J., 1985, p. 266.

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examination of each of the three main theories of this thesis will be illuminated and reasons for the chosen theorists will be stressed.

1.3.1 Postmodernity In relation to the theorists chosen to illuminate postmodernity Firat and Venkatesh are among the primary contributors in this thesis. Firat and Venkatesh4 have been chosen for their extensive work of mapping the postmodern society and the postmodern consumer. Lyotard is inevitable to mention in relation with postmodernity. Lyotard is well-known for his pioneering work and embracement of postmodernism from the early 1970s and until his death in 1998 5. In relation to postmodern communication Lauterborn6 and Schultz and Kitchen provide the primary theories. Lauterborn for his notion of the 4 Cs and Schultz and Kitchen are applied because of their work with the changes within global communication in their highly praised book Communicating Globally (2000).

1.3.2 Relationship Marketing Within the field of relationship marketing it is mainly the work of the Swedish theorist Christian Grnroos that will be used. Grnroos is one of the pioneers within the field of relationship marketing and it is because of his many years of study and his important influence within relationship marketing that he will be used in this thesis. Another pioneer within relationship marketing is Leonard L. Berry. Berry will together with among others McAlexander et al. be used to stress the findings and arguments that will be presented by Grnroos. Common for all the theorists chosen is their long engagement within the field of relationship marketing and for their ground-breaking work within the field. Further, some of the theorists have been chosen for their specific directions which correspond with for example social media and online communities. The theories within loyalty have been chosen in preparation for giving an account for the term and the impact of loyalty on consumer behaviour. It is especially the work of Christopher et al. (1991)

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http://www.jrconsumers.com/authors/a._fuat_firat http://www.egs.edu/faculty/jean-francois-lyotard/biography/ 6 http://rlauterborn.com

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and Payne (1994) in relation with their categorisation of loyalty, Olivers (1997) definition of the concept and the essential factors for loyalty presented by Pitta et al. (2006) that will be used.

1.3.3 Social Media and Online Communities The theories within social media and online communities are few because of the concepts relatively young age. However, the choice of primary theorists will be Safko and Brake (2009) and their extensive work with social media in The Social Media Bible. Kannan et al. (2000), Muniz and OGuinn (2001), McAlexander et al. (2002), Hennig-Thurau et al. (2004), Fournier and Lee (2009), Spaulding (2009) and Wierenga et al. (2009) have been chosen for their contribution within the field of online communities and their focus on the importance of and motivation for members to engage in an online community. Finally, Robert Kozinets (2002) has been chosen to cover the field of netnography as he is perceived to be one of the leading researchers utilising netnography in the fields of marketing and consumer behaviour. Common for all areas of theory is that besides the primary theorists a number of other theorists have been applied because their work stresses and support the primary theorists.

1.4 Choice of Method and Structure


In order to simplify the reading process of this thesis an examination of the different paragraphs will here illuminate the structure of the thesis. In order to illustrate the structure of the thesis the following model has been constructed to create a picture of the thesis.

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Problem Statement

Postmodernism

Relationship Marketing

Social Media

Case Study

Conslusion

Model 1: Thesis Structure In relation to the structure of each paragraph they will start out with a definition and a historical perspective of the given theory, it will be followed by an examination of the main outlines of the theory and each paragraph will be summarised with a part conclusion which will consists of a summary of the examined theory to be used in the final conclusion, and additional perspectives and comments on the used theories in relation to the stance of the thesis. The first paragraph will illuminate the societal worldview of today, which in this thesis is perceived as postmodern. The paragraph will further examine the postmodern consumers behaviour and the development within communication in the postmodern society. The next paragraph will clarify the field of relationship marketing as one of the main areas of this thesis. The paragraph will accentuate the development within marketing towards its current position, where especially the change from the transaction to the relationship approach will be in focus, and further look into loyalty as one of relationship marketings focus areas. The third paragraph will cover another main area of this thesis, namely the field of social media and especially online communities. The paragraph will besides the theoretical examination of the field also cover the process of implementing social media into a

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corporations communication strategy, an illumination of the benefits that a corporation can gain from an engagement with an online community and the importance of the members in an online community. The paragraph will be completed by an examination of netnography as an online research approach. The final paragraph, before the main conclusion, will be a case study based on the thesis theoretical framework illuminating the practical execution and implementation of an online community. The online community chosen is the official Danish online community for Weber-Stephen Nordic (Weber) called Weber Klubben7. Weber Klubben has been chosen as it is perceived that the online community contains and present some interesting features that will compliment and support this thesis. The online community could just as well have been in English, if such one had been found available. The very last paragraph will be a conclusion summing up the findings from throughout the thesis with the aim of answering the problem statement and giving the thesis view on how corporations can and should use and benefit from an engagement with social media and an online community. It is not the aim of this thesis to produce a critical dissertation choosing one theory or one theorists view over another, but instead it is the intention to illuminate different fields of theories, with the aim of creating an overview of the theories and hereby get an insight into how an organisations engagement with an online community will correspond with the theoretical framework presented in the thesis.

1.5 Delimitation
Because of the scope of this thesis it has been necessary to make some delimitations regarding the used theory and the dimensions hereof. The delimitations have been made with respect for the thesis so excluded parts, areas or theories are not perceived missing. First of all the thesis holds no geographical restrictions as it is believed that the Internet has erased the boarders and everything can be accessed from all over the world (Friedman, 2006, pp. 10-11 and p. 178). Even the choice of a Danish online community does not change this perception as it just as well could have been in English. The point of departure for the thesis is within the B2C market, since it is between consumers that the largest online interaction is taking place, and it is
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http://www.weberklubben.dk

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perceived that B2B is a totally different matter in relation to the use of social media and online communities. Regarding the theories on relationship marketing there will not be made any further distinction between the Nordic School as it is presented by Grnroos and the American School presented by Berry. This is the case as they are perceived to have the same focus within relationship marketing, which comes clear through their definitions as they are presented in this thesis. Instead an overall view of the concept will be applied, which also stress the choice of not setting any geographical restrictions for the thesis. This thesis is aware that there are differences between the various products that consumers buy, and what is assert when purchasing toilet paper is not assert for purchasing a car. This thesis will not discuss these differences, but mainly take a point of departure in the product category where grills must be considered to be found. Further, there has not been found space in this thesis for any consideration regarding the market situation within grill producers. A view into who is the market leader and how the market situation is could however have been interesting in relation to making a comparison of different producers engagement with social media and online communities. Finally, in relation to the case study there will be no discursive analyses of any graphical or other visual elements found on Weberklubben.dk. The thesis will only focus on the communicative aspects and social relations that the online community provides in relation to the interaction between members and Weber and the members. Additionally, the limited time available for this thesis has influenced the monitoring and research of Weber Klubben. In order to achieve an optimum result the research should have been carried out over a long period of time and would hereby have given a more thorough insight of the online community and its assets.

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2. The Societal Worldview of Today A Definition of Postmodernity


As well as paragraph 1.2 Theory of Science is used to state the scientific stance of this thesis, the following paragraph on postmodernity will make sure that the reader and the writer of the thesis have the same point of departure when it comes to looking at the society and the discourse it holds in the 21st century.

2.1 A Definition and the Historical Perspectives of Postmodernity


Looking at the origin and the historical perspectives of postmodernity one is facing a difficult challenge. Many commentators and theorists have given their viewpoints on postmodernity. For example Lyotard (1984, p. 11) stress that the postmodern era commenced in the 1950s and was at first applied to describe changing characteristics within art and culture and postmodernity is referred to as the time period overlapping modernity8. The changing characteristics fostered a critique of the then present discourse, namely modernity, but postmodernism did also emerge in its own rights within philosophy and cultural movements and exposed the limitations of modernism (Firat and Venkatesh, 1995, p. 239). Looking deeper into a definition of the postmodern condition there are several characteristics which can be set up in the aim of creating a picture and an understanding of postmodernism. Essential to postmodernism is the ideas of culture, language, aesthetics, narratives, symbolic modes and literary expressions and meanings which are often seen as chaotic, instable, plural, constant changing, fluid and paradox. Even though the latter can be perceived as negative associations the postmodern thinkers see the chaotic and ambiguous characteristics as strong features which describe a time period where peoples opportunities grow and grow in a world which virtually becomes smaller and smaller (Firat and Venkatesh, 1995, p. 243).

Modernity is used to describe the time period, for the social discourse of modernism, from the late 16 th century or early 17th century and up to present. The modernist view at that time signifiers the following conditions: (1) the rule of reason and the establishment of rational order; (2) the emergence of the cognitive subject; (3) the rise of science and an emphasis on material progress through the application of scientific technologies; (4) realism, representation, and the unity of purpose in art and architecture; (5) the emergence of industrial capitalism; and (6) the separation of the sphere of production, which is institutionally controlled and public, from the sphere of consumption, which is domestic and private. (Firat and Venkatesh, 1995, p. 240)

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According to Firat and Venkatesh (1995) postmodernism can be said to have five conditions and main themes (Appendix 2 Postmodern Conditions and Their Main Themes). These are hyperreality, fragmentation, reversal of production and consumption, decentred subject and juxtaposition of opposites. The five conditions will be illuminated further below. Hyperreality is considered as the most dominant of the five postmodern conditions and is characterised as a simulation of reality and often referred to as being more real than reality itself (Baudrillard, 1983, p. 147). Hyperreality can, indeed, be superior to the real worlds activities, as many of the unpleasant sides of the authentic experience are not present, for example when visiting the artificial Eifel Tower in Las Vegas extreme queuing is avoided. Through the hyperreal conditions it has become possible to experience the atmosphere of the bazaars of the Middle East without visiting Turkey or experience all the wild animals on an African safari without even going to Kenya. This has been a result of the consumers increasing search for experiences, the corporations search to meet consumer demands, and has become possible because of the increasing opportunities within technology. In order for these simulations of reality to become real it takes willingness among people to accept, create and live with and within the simulations, and that is not achieved until the simulations have captured the imagination of the specific community (Firat and Venkatesh, 1995, pp. 252-253). Fragmentation is additionally a result of the developments within society which have legitimised the needs and searching for several different identities. Men and women are for example parents, career minded, sports enthusiasts and DIY dabblers. All different lifestyles which require different identities that have become possible to obtain in todays fragmented society where different roles not necessarily need to fit into a coherent whole (Firat and Venkatesh, 1995, pp. 253-254). Reversal of production and consumption stands in opposition to the modernist way of thinking. From a postmodern perspective there cannot be made distinctions between production and consumption as the consumer in the postmodern era is an active participant of creating and producing images and symbols and does not consider consumption as the end but as a continuous process, which is also one of the main characteristics of social constructionism, c.f. 1.2.1 Social Constructionism. This makes the consumer unpredictable because what is acceptable today may not be acceptable tomorrow (Firat and Venkatesh, 1995, p. 254).

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Decentred subjects are yet another postmodern theme opposite to modernism. The condition is closely related to the above mentioned conditions of fragmentation and hyperreality, and is characterised through the ambiguity of the postmodern consumer who do not need to be, have or seek a centre, but find multiple identities satisfying and attractive (Firat and Venkatesh, 1995, p. 254). Juxtaposition of the opposites is the fifth and final of the postmodern conditions. This theme is characterised through its aim of comparing and combining opposites in order to create a sum larger than the parts. It is seen when opened, ill-defined and imprecise approaches are adopted and thereby leave room for consumers to be imaginary and self-constructive. An example hereof is ironic advertising where the message and/or product can be unclear and it is up to the consumer to construct and create the meaning (Firat and Venkatesh, 1995, pp. 254-255). Within the postmodern era the structure in the marketplace did also change. Whereas the focus in the modern era was on production, the postmodern era has its focus on consumption and has obtained a market oriented perspective with the long-term relationship and consumer as crucial elements for the corporation (Kotler, 1992, p. 1)

2.2 The Postmodern Consumer


With the above clarification of the postmodern condition the following part of this paragraph will take a closer look at the postmodern consumer. Just as art, music and philosophy have changed over years from the modern to the postmodern era, consumption and consumer behaviour have changed and developed as well. As it comes clear through the above examination of the postmodern condition, consumption has changed and moved towards a consumption of image. The postmodern consumer is not just looking for value for money in a purchase but has moved towards value for time and are seeking meaningful and valuable associations from the products and services bought, meaning that the consumer through purchases actively participate in the construction of self-image but also in the overall image and symbolic value of the product or brand. Besides the exertion for image, the postmodern consumer is also searching for the experiences within the products and services bought. These experiences can link

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the consumer with likeminded consumers and knowledge and opinions can be shared in communities where a consumer can also search for knowledge before making a purchase, c.f. 4.3 Online Communities, (Parsons and Maclaran, 2009, pp. 45-46). This is stressed by Cova who states that some postmodern consumers have a tendency to rather buy the image than the actual product itself and through consumption are actively taking part in meaning creation (Cova, 1996, pp. 496498). Further, the postmodern consumer has so many different and varying opportunities that several different roles and identities can be chosen by the same consumer and then used at different occasions, c.f. 2.1 A Definition and the Historical Perspectives of Postmodernity, (Firat and Shultz, 1997, p. 193). All in all, this leaves an image of the postmodern consumer as being fragmented and individual in the process of representing different selves in different settings and do not restrict oneself to a single identity. In spite of the individualistic lifestyle, the postmodern consumer is still in search for experiences and knowledge to be shared with likeminded, c.f. 4.3 Online Communities. This enhances the demands to a corporation when it is communicating with its consumers. The postmodern consumer has raised its limits for what is accepted regarding communication because of the increasing exposure of marketing related messages, and therefore a corporation needs to be even more precise and sharp in its marketing.

2.3 Postmodern Marketing Communication Business as Unusual


As a final part of this paragraph on postmodernity the following will shortly illuminate the area of postmodern marketing communication with the above definitions and clarifications of postmodernity and the postmodern consumer in mind. As well as everything else marketing communication has also been affected by the changes in society and the postmodern era has made its impact on marketing communication. For many years marketing have had a market-centric approach where the market was in focus. However, the influence of postmodernism has changed things, and in order to fit the fragmented consumer of the postmodern era, c.f. 2.2 The Postmodern Consumer, marketing today needs to change the focus from a market-centric orientation towards becoming consumer-centric (Iacobucci and Calder 2003,

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p. 1).This means that the well-known 4 Ps of the marketing mix9, which saw marketing from the perspective of a corporation, where the advertiser developed a product, priced it to make a profit, placed it on the retail shelf and promoted it to a pliant, even eager consumer (Lauterborn, 1990, p. 26), is no longer holding the right focus within several areas and a new approach is therefore necessary. The change in focus is for example caused by the technological development, which has provided the consumer with new tools in the search for products. However, the 4 Ps are still relevant in relation to for example fast moving consumer goods. Marketing needs to be seen from the view of the consumer and Lauterborn (1990) has provided a formula named the 4 Cs which takes the view from the consumers perspective. First, corporations need to change focus from production to the consumers wants and needs. Corporations can no longer sell everything but only sell what the consumer specifically wants to buy. Second, price is no longer that important to the consumer. Instead corporations need to understand the consumer's cost to satisfy the wants or needs. Price is almost irrelevant for the postmodern consumer of today and instead it is the cost of time that matters to the consumer (Parsons and Maclaran, 2009, pp. 45-46). Though, the financial crisis that has affected the world economy the past years does of course has some influence on this, but as mentioned in the delimitation, this thesis will not take this in to consideration. Third, corporations need to think convenience to buy. The notion of place has changed, because the entrance of the World Wide Web has made shopping available 247. This means that the consumer does not have to go various places anymore to complete shopping (Brown, 2006, p. 213). Instead, corporations need to know how each consumer group prefers to buy, and then be ubiquitous. Fourth and last, communication is the essence. Marketing today needs to create dialogue and the approach of marketing has changed from manipulation to involvement (Cova, 1996, p. 498). This contrast is one of the breaking differences between the four P's and the four Cs (Lauterborn, 1990, p. 26).

Product, promotion, price and place (Kotler and Keller, 2006, p. 19)

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Product Price Place Promotion Model 2: The change from the 4 Ps to the 4 Cs Kotler et al., 2002, p. 97-98

Customer needs and wants Cost to the customer Convenience Communication

Generally, the communication process has changed dramatically since the days of the ancient souks and up till the present. From the earliest forms of commerce the marketplace and communication were controlled by the manufacturer and producer of goods and services. The consumer came to the marketplace to buy what was offered, and had no other alternatives for fulfilling its needs. This resulted in a one-way communication from the producer to the consumer (Appendix 3 Communication Flow in the Manufacturer-Driven Marketplace) (Schultz and Kitchen, 2000, pp. 710). Around the 1970s the communication flow changed along with the structure of the marketplace. Distribution channels had become the centre of the marketplace and worked as the link between the producer and the consumer. This also resulted in a communication flow that now was controlled by the distribution channels or in some occasions still by the producer, but still the communication was one way (Appendix 4 - Communication Flow in the Distribution-Driven Marketing System) (Schultz and Kitchen, 2000, pp. 10-14). Within the current marketplace communication has changed dramatically compared to the previous ones. The interactive marketplace of today has emerged from the beginning of the early 1990s and within the marketplace the communication flow is highly affected by the Internet and E-commerce. Today communication flows in every direction, which means that it is no longer the producer who controls the marketplace and communication flow, because the consumer can get access to nearly all information about the producer and products, for example through online communities, c.f. 4.3 Online Communities, and the consumer is therefore no longer dependent on the communication and information from the producer. It is the technological development that has turned the marketplace and communication upside-down and also expanded the marketplace and made it worldwide

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(Friedman, 2006, pp.6-7). This means that in many situations the consumer can fulfil its needs and wants at the consumers own convenience and under the consumers own conditions. Changes within communication have made their impact so the flow is no longer a one-way process but has become two-way communication where corporations need to listen and respond to consumer inquiries and cannot be content with just producing messages. The process of producing such specialised messages might be more expensive and time demanding in the short run, but it must also be considered as being more effective and rewarding in the long perspectives for the corporation with precise messages that are noticed and accepted by the consumer, also in order not to saturate the market with unnecessary messages (Sheth and Sisodia, 2006, p. 4). Even though the fragmented postmodern consumers can be considered to belong to several different identities, c.f. 2.2 The Postmodern Consumer, they do still have the common reference to the specific product or brand and must therefore be considered to respond to somewhat similar messages. This exempts the corporation to make all individual messages, but can instead target the messages towards different segments, c.f. 3.3 Loyalty, within the consumer portfolio. Further, the technological development has also made it necessary for corporations not just to cut through the clutter of competitive messages but also create messages that will gain behavioural responses from the consumer (Appendix 5 - Communication Flow in the Interactive Marketplace) (Schultz and Kitchen, 2000, pp. 14-17).

2.4 Part Conclusion


As a part conclusion to the above paragraph on the postmodern condition and the consumer and communication within postmodernity this thesis concluded that the society and the consumer of today are to be seen as fragmented, chaotic and ambiguous, but not as negative characteristics but as strong features. Postmodernity is to be seen upon as a critique and an expansion of modernity, where hyperreality and fragmentation are central issues. The postmodern consumer has evolved into a consumer of image and identities, where the image of the product has become just as important as the products physical functions and several different identities are used by one person depending on the situation the consumer is in. Besides the increasing focus on image the postmodern consumer is also searching for experiences within the purchases made in order to get a greater outcome of the purchased, experiences that can be shared with likeminded consumers as a process of gaining

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knowledge and share opinions. This is important because the consumer will be stimulated when being able to for example through gained knowledge to help others with an identical product. Additionally, postmodern communication has developed into a two-way communication process where feedback and dialogue are of high importance for corporations because it provides them with invaluable knowledge regarding the consumer and gives the corporation the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with the consumer. Because of the changes with the postmodern consumer, changes within traditional communication models have also occurred, especially the change in focus regarding the 4 Ps stress that corporations and marketers in general need to adapt new methods. Finally, several theorists (for example Bauman, 1992; Bouchet, 1994) do not share the above mentioned theorists positive view on postmodernity. Bouchet (1994) describes the postmodern consumer as being indifferent, frivolous and noncommittal (Bouchet, 1994, p. 411) and does hereby distinguish himself from the point of view presented by Firat and Venkatesh (1995), and which is supported in this thesis, where fragmentation and chaos are perceived as being positive features of the postmodern condition. Postmodernism might has a large focus on the self, but it does also has an increased focus on sharing and being part of a community, which because of social media now can be withheld in a larger scale and this thesis believe that the postmodern consumer is aware of this increasing audience, and does therefore not agree to the above mentioned critique.

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3. Relationship Marketing
In the following paragraph the concept of relationship marketing will be illuminated as one of the main theories of the thesis. The paragraph will be divided into four parts, starting with a definition and clarification of relationship marketing. The second part will look into how relationship marketing has developed and why it has evolved into its current form. The third part will illuminate the connection between relationship marketing and consumer loyalty and how loyalty is obtained with relationship marketing. Finally, the paragraph will be summarised by a part conclusion which will sum up the findings from the paragraph and later be used in the final conclusion, and additional comments and perspective regarding the thesiss point of view in relation to the examined theories.

3.1 Definition and Clarification of Relationship Marketing


The origin of the current recognition of relationship marketing can be dated back to the late 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s where among others Christian Grnroos and Leonard L. Berry wrote a number of articles and books about service marketing and relationship marketing. Despite its current recognition and the increased research within, relationship marketing is no new phenomenon. According to Sheth and Parvatiyar (1995) relationship marketing was evident already in the pre-industrial era where buyer and seller developed emotional and structural bonds in their economic market behaviours, leaving the current recognition of relationship marketing as a revival of the marketing practices that was used back in the pre-industrial era (Sheth and Parvatiyar, 1995, pp. 403-405) In his 1978 article Grnroos argues that the traditional marketing theory of that time, the one which is still very much in use today centred around the 4 Ps, did only have focus on physical goods and lacked recognition of the service industry (Grnroos, 1978a, pp. 23-24). Services are based on relations, and a marketing approach based on service provides a better foundation for a current marketing theory opposite to the traditional good based marketing (Grnroos, 2007, p. VII). In the early 1980s Grnroos introduced the concept of service marketing as a research approach which was found more appropriate to the current market. The approach takes its point of departure in

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service marketing and relationship marketing where among other things interactions and relationships rather than exchange are at focus, and further, the function of marketing is to be integrated throughout the corporation with a consumer-centric approach (Grnroos, 2007, p. 6) According to Grnroos (1997) the new approach sees marketing from the angle of relationships and defines it as: the process of identifying and establishing, maintaining, enhancing, and when necessary terminating relationships with customers and other stakeholders, at a profit, so that the objectives of all parties involved are met, where this is done by a mutual giving and fulfilment of promises. (Grnroos, 1997, p. 407)

Looking deeper into the definition it comes clear that relationship marketing is more extensive than the conventional transaction process which is the aim in traditional marketing10. Relationship marketing is about gaining, keeping and improving mutual beneficial relations with the consumer. Further, traditional marketing makes use of mass media reaching out for a large target audience and is based on an average behaviour of consumers as the basic for marketing (Grnroos, 1978b, p. 2). On the other hand, relationship marketing has a higher use of qualitative information, because of the constant dialogue with the consumers, which provides a corporation with more detailed information and knowledge about each individual consumer. According to Grnroos (1990) there are three phases of developing a relationship with a consumer from the perspective of the corporation. Firstly the establishment of the relationship is based on making a promise, secondly maintaining the relationship requires that the corporation fulfil the promise, and finally the relationship is enhanced by giving new promises that have fulfilment of earlier promises as a prerequisite (Grnroos, 1990, p. 6). Relationships that are entered into from both sellers and buyers perspective are based on promises that are mutually kept. Such promises and the keeping of them set the ground for a long-term relationship where new promises are made and kept in order to maintain and develop the
10

Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives (AMA Board Approves New Marketing Definition, Marketing News, 1985, Vol. 19, No. 5, p. 1)

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relationship (Grnroos, 1989, p. 57). Such promises are fundamental in order to establish a longterm relationship and thereby gain profitable advantages (Grnroos, 1990, p. 5). Especially because relationships are reciprocal where both parties give and take (McAlexander et al., 2002, p. 51). In order for the promises to finally develop into a genuine relationship two characteristics must be present in relation with the exchange situation. First, it is necessary that both parties, the buyer and the seller, accept and perceive the relationships existence. Second, the relationship needs to build on some sort of special status, meaning that both parts will benefit from a transaction besides the exchange of money and the goods. Such status could be the image of the purchased product that the consumer perceives just as important as the physical good itself, c.f. 2.2 The Postmodern Consumer, where for example the image of a product can be used by the consumer to obtain or strengthen a specific personal identity (Barnes and Howlett, 1998, p. 16). Another major contributor to the field of relationship marketing is Leonard L. Berry. In 1983 Berry presented his definition on relationship marketing and must together with Grnroos be considered as the main contributors to the field of relationship marketing. Berry (1983) states that relationship marketing is attracting, maintaining and... enhancing customer relationships (Berry, 1983, p. 25). According to Berry (1991, p. 138) successful relationship marketing is dependent on differentiated services and products which are meaningful to the consumer and at the same time difficult for competitors to copy, further, within relationship marketing it is, according to Berry (1983, p. 25), just as important to servicing existing consumers as it is to gain new in order to make long-term relations and marketing successes. . Even though the two definition by Berry (1983) and Grnroos (1997) are different they still hold the same focus regarding gaining, keeping and improving the relation with the consumer. Where Grnroos represent The Nordic School, Berry represents the American counterpart within the research of service and relationship marketing. But, as it comes clear through the definitions the focus of the two traditions are similar, and this thesis will not distinguish between the two, c.f. 1.5 Delimitation. Many other writers and theorists have provided their view on relationship marketing and even though they vary in emphasis they all hold a similar meaning which centres on on-going, interactive, long-term and mutual beneficial relations (Sheth and Parvatiyar 1995, pp. 411-412).

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3.2 Development and Current Form of Relationship Marketing


The main difference between traditional goods based marketing and relationship marketing is the area of focus. The traditional marketing takes its point of departure within the product and in how to persuade the consumer to buy the product (Cova, 1996, p. 498). On the other hand relationship marketing takes a consumer centric approach, c.f. 2. The Societal Worldview of Today A Definition of Postmodernity. When looking into the historical development within relationship marketing the concept origins in its current form around the early 1980s, c.f. 3.1 Definition and Clarification of Relationship Marketing. Research within relationship marketing was conducted as a result of general changes within the society, where changes within the industry as well as in the society influenced for example the way people lived their life, c.f. 2. The Societal Worldview of Today A Definition of Postmodernity. Until the late 1970s and the early 1980s it was the 4 Ps that functioned as the marketing paradigm, where the 4 Ps today can be considered as being less conspicuous. The changes within society made theorists such as Grnroos (1978), Berry (1983) and Lauterborn (1990) suggest that the traditional way of addressing marketing via the 4 Ps was no longer suitable. The 4 Ps was simply considered to narrow in its approach (Christopher et al. 1991, pp. 10-11) and lacked recognition of especially consumer contact and service (Grnroos, 1990, p. 4). As it has been mentioned above traditional marketing takes a product orientation where relationship marketing has the consumer and a general attention to the market as main focuses (Grnroos, 1994a, p. 350). The consumer orientation that relationship marketing holds is another feature that makes the concept more appropriate for the postmodern consumer, c.f. 2.2 The Postmodern Consumer, who places just as much emphasis on the intangible features of a purchase as the physical good itself (Cova, 1996, pp. 496-498). Another feature that makes relationship marketing more appropriate when looking at its relation with the postmodern consumer, compared with traditional marketing, is that relationship marketing is about doing with the consumer, which stress the postmodern consumers need to engage with for example a favourite product or brand, c.f. 2.2 The Postmodern Consumer, where traditional marketing is more concerned with doing to the consumer (Grnroos, 2007, p. 17). Finally, it is inevitable to mention that the postmodern society of today and the changes that has happened in the market situation (Grnroos, 1999, p. 327) cannot rely on a 1960s paradigm such as the 4Ps (Grnroos, 1994a, p. 356)

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Due to the changes mentioned above relationship marketing has emerged into the dominant paradigm within marketing theory (Grnroos, 1994a, p. 350), and supplanted the 4 Ps and the marketing mix which since the 1960s were considered as the paradigm of marketing communication (Grnroos, 1993, pp. 5-6). The paradigm shift has been inevitable for corporations in order to meet the multi-faceted consumer (Grnroos, 2007, p. 15) whose demands and needs are constantly changing and developing due to the changes in society, c.f. 2.2 The Postmodern Consumer. The change from product orientation towards market orientation and a change from transaction-orientation towards long-term relationship-building are crucial for corporations to survive in the global market (Kotler, 1992, p. 1) The consumer of the 21st century has taken control within the marketplace, and the producer is forced to change the long time employed product focus into a consumer centric approach. A way the consumer has gained control within the marketplace is through the introduction and development within the Internet (Friedman, 2006, p. 10). It is now possible for the consumer to search for information and gain knowledge about a product and the producer before making a purchase, and thereby be able to choose where to buy, instead of having only a limited number of suppliers the consumer of today can make purchases worldwide (Friedman, 2006, p. 7 and pp. 1011). These increases in opportunities have also influenced the demands that the consumer has to the corporations offerings. The postmodern consumer demands a holistic offering (Grnroos, 2004, p. 101), which has increased the demands to the communication provided by the corporation. The postmodern consumer has an increasing interest in sharing knowledge and showing commitment towards preferred brands, c.f. 2.2 The Postmodern Consumer, which have made it necessary for the corporation to place more focus outside the traditional product development and look deeper into the intangible assets of the product. Sufficient product development is no longer enough, but still very important, in the increasing competition (McAlexander et al., 2002, p. 51) so corporations need to look into additional consumer needs to fulfil and add elements that can offer the consumer value satisfaction. Such elements need to be exclusive to the corporations products and be difficult to imitate for competitors (Berry, 1991, p. 138). Additionally, the approach of relationship marketing is an appropriate choice in relation to the globalised world of today (Grnroos, 1994b, p. 4), where relationship marketing can be seen as taking part in the process of knowledge generation based on shared knowledge between the corporation and the consumer (Egan, 2008, pp. 50-51).

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Through mutual kept promises relationships are established and fostered. But relationships do not come easy handed. In order to establish a long-term relationship with a consumer trust and loyalty needs to be present. Therefore the following paragraph will look deeper into the importance of loyalty in relations to the establishing of long-term relationships.

3.3 Loyalty
In the process of establishing a consumer-brand or consumer-product relationship it is necessary to incorporate several tools and features. One of the essential and leading issues is to establish the consumers loyalty towards a brand or product. As mentioned above, corporations are facing an increasing challenge in relation to research and development because of the easiness that other corporations have for copying a product (Fournier and Yao, 1997, p. 451). Therefore corporations need to establish such thing as loyalty through extraordinary service and offerings, which for example can be an online community. The following paragraph will illuminate the concept of loyalty. According to Oliver (1997) consumer loyalty can be defined as: a deeply held commitment to rebuy or repatronise a preferred product or service consistently in the future, despite situational influences and marketing efforts having the potential to cause switching behaviour (Oliver, 1997, p. 392).

The loyalty that Oliver (1997) describes in his definition is a consumers fervently desire for a specific product, and a situation where the consumer will settle for no other product than the one that holds the consumers loyalty. The commitment that the consumer holds is established because of the corporations ability to provide a service which has fostered a favourable attitude that is higher then what is managed by competitors (Dick and Basu, 1994, p. 100). Further, the definition stress that influences such as competitive marketing does not have the same effect on a loyal consumer, meaning that a loyal consumer for example is more likely to buy at full price to get a specific product or brand than a non-loyal consumer, because the price has a lower importance to the loyal consumer, and is therefore not as easy to affect by for example advertising. (Gaurav, 2008, p.9).

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According to Fournier and Yao (1997) the importance of loyalty and consumer-brand bonds are becoming more and more vital as the competition in the marketplace is increasing and has shown to be unpredictable and ways of product differentiation is being diminished (Fournier and Yao, 1997, p. 451). Because product differentiation does no longer hold the same competitive advantages as it did earlier and uniqueness for products is harder to obtain, loyalty must be based on other factors than the product itself. Here, long-term relationships based on loyalty can provide the corporation with a competitive advantage and strategic recourses (Muniz and OGuinn, 2001, p. 427) According to Pitta et al. (2006) loyalty is firstly based on trust from the customer towards the vendor and/or a product. Secondly, the perceived positive value that the transaction and/or relationship have must be greater than what can be provided by competitors and it must be based on the consumers consideration. Finally, with the first two factors successfully incorporated the point of departure to generate a positive customer emotional attachment is established, exemplified by commitment towards a certain brand, and then a relationship is ready to take form (Pitta et al. 2006, p. 422). Of these three factors trust must be considered as the most important for loyalty to be fostered. Trust needs to be present early in a relationship and must be nurtured as long as the relationship exists. Trust in a relationship can grow through successful interactions but it can also be diminished if the expectations of the consumer are not met (Pitta et al., 2006, p. 422). Loyalty does not come out of nowhere and first of all corporations need to attract the prospect and turn them into customers, (Christopher et al., 1991, p. 22) which will be illuminated below. However, new consumers are not all and corporations need to nurse their existing consumers, as loyal consumers are more profitable than not-loyal consumers in the long-term (Gaurav, 2008, p. 7). Looking deeper into how the levels of a relationship can develop and finally end with a loyal consumer can be illuminated with The Relationship marketing Ladder of Customer Loyalty (Christopher et al., 1991, p. 22) (Appendix 6 The Relationship Marketing Ladder of Customer Loyalty). The model illustrates the process of changing a prospect into a customer and via the ladder finally develops the consumer into an active and vocal advocate of the corporation and its products. Prospects are the lowest level of the ladder and can be characterised as someone with no or relatively little knowledge about the corporation and its products but someone whom is believed to

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be able to attract as future consumer. Second is customer who can be characterised as someone who has made few or at least one purchase of the corporations product. Third in the loyalty ladder is client who is someone with whom the corporation has made repeat business with but has a neutral or at worse a negative attitude towards the corporation. In the top of the ladder is supporter at the fourth level and can be characterised as someone who has made repeat purchases of the corporations products and holds a positive attitude but is passive in the support. Finally and fifth is advocate who is the loyal consumer who through repeat purchases over years has build strong bonds to the corporation and is actively recommending the corporation and its products to others, for example by being active in an online community (Payne, 1994, pp. 29-30). The first step from prospect to consumer is also known from traditional marketing where the focus is on gaining consumers in order to gain sale (Christopher et al., 1991, p. 9). From the next step and forth, the process of converting the consumer into a client is what distinguishes relationship marketing from traditional marketing, and it is here that the emphasis on consumer relations comes into play (Christopher et al., 1991, p. 22). As part of the process of moving consumers towards being advocates the corporation needs to understand the immediate needs of the consumer but also have an understanding of the future that the consumer is proceeding for (Jackson, 1985, p. 120), and further, the corporation must provided products and solutions which will exceed the expectations of the consumer in order to differentiate the offer from other alternatives (Christopher et al., 1991, pp. 22-23). Such services could for example be the access to an online community where consumption experiences can be shared with other consumers and knowledge sharing can take place (Oliver, 1999, p. 41). The purpose of gaining as large a number of advocates as possible is to improve financial and market performances (Christopher et al., 1991, p. VIII) and at the same time increase the number of loyal spokespersons who are willing to spread positive word-of-mouth (WOM) 11 to others and hereby attract new consumers. A loyal consumer spends more money, is willing to pay premium price and spread positive WOM which generate higher profitability (Berry and Parasuraman, 1991, p. 133). The loyalty ladder presented by Christopher et al. (1991) and the three essential factors presented by Pitta et al. (2006), as mentioned above, supports each other and both stress the importance of
11

Word-of-mouth (WOM) communication: the informal transmission of ideas, comments, opinions, and information between two or more individuals, neither one of which is a marketer. Blackwell, Roger D., Miniard, Paul W. and Engel, James F., 2001, p. 404.

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establishing loyalty and relationships from the ground and build loyalty and relationships continuously step by step without forcing the process, but let it develop in the speed of the consumer. Once the bond between a product and the consumer is established and loyalty is a reality the point of departure for a successful relationship is set. Loyalty is not to be compared or mistaken with the concept of satisfaction. Satisfaction has for many years been the driver for many corporations, but due to the changes in business worldwide, satisfaction is not enough, and a paradigm shift has taken place, like it has from the transactional to the relational approach within marketing, and the main driver for corporations has become loyalty. The difference between the two terms is that where satisfaction stems from one-time consumption that has fulfilled the consumers expectations, loyalty is, at it is stated in Olivers (1997) definition, a commitment to rebuy meaning that several purchases has been made in the past (Oliver, 1999, p. 41). However, this does not mean that satisfied consumers are not important, but satisfied is not alone enough (Oliver, 1999, pp. 33-34). Loyalty has become a competitive advantages and it demands the focus of CEOs worldwide (Gurav, 2006, p. 8). But, this does not mean that loyal consumers cannot use other suppliers. For example, within fast moving consumer goods (Oliver, 1999, p. 41) and the restaurants business the switching costs are low and even loyal consumers can chose another product or visit another restaurant just for a change (Hill et al., 2007, p. 215). In addition, this does not mean that loyalty is always the strategic objective for a corporation or that loyalty will automatically lead to success, but loyalty and loyal consumers must be considered as being essential in order to create a successful business. One of the advantages with loyal consumers is the positive WOM that they are willing to spread, which is based on the value that the consumer gains by consuming the corporations product. Further, interactions and dialogue with the consumer will not only provide the corporation with knowledge about the consumer but it will also increase the perceived value that the consumer holds toward the corporation and hereby strengthen the relationship (Grnroos, 2004, p.103). Positive WOM is one of the beneficial outcomes of the establishment of loyalty and relationship with a consumer, and positive WOM can through social media develops and become even more beneficial to the corporation.

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When a loyal consumer spread the word about a favourite product or brand it helps to strengthen the consumers attitude towards the product or brand, but it does also helps to create an attitude among the listeners, who so far might only have been a prospect, and thereby helps to foster a positive attitude towards the product or brand. The positive attitude that is automatically fostered, for example through positive WOM, is to be preferred over a deliberately retrieved attitude, which is fostered through advertising and therefore holds a lower acceptance (Dick and Basu, 1994, p. 103). In their function as valuable communicators of positive WOM, the loyal consumer helps to attract new consumers by establishing and gaining trust among prospects, which are essential aspects when developing a relationship (Ndubisi, 2007, pp. 103-104). The process of sharing consumption values and experiences does not only strengthen the consumers bond to the product or brand, but does also help the consumer establish a sense of belonging to something (Oliver, 1999, p. 40), which, despites the fragmented and individualistic lifestyle, is important to the postmodern consumer, c.f. 2.2 The Postmodern Consumer. A place that the consumer can feel a connection to and where the consumers need of belonging can be fulfilled could be an online community. In the next paragraphs the concepts of social media and especially online communities will be illuminated.

3.4 Part Conclusion


The development within marketing and the shift in marketing paradigm coursed by changes in the society has made relationship marketing a highly suitable approach in order to reach the postmodern consumer. Relationship marketing is focusing on establishing and maintaining long-term relationships, through which both the corporation and the consumer can mutually benefit from. Relationship marketing as a marketing paradigm is better suited for the current consumer-centric market, where it is the consumer that corporations have in focus, as opposite to the market as it is the case with for example the traditional 4 Ps. The demands regarding what corporations offer its consumers have increased because of the sharpened competition in the global market. In this matter a loyal and beneficial relationship is a way to offer something extraordinary to a corporations consumers. Such a relationship will ensure that the consumer retains its preferences towards the corporations product or brand.

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Regarding loyalty the higher up the loyalty ladder a consumer is positioned the more likely the consumer is to spread positive WOM about the corporation and hereby function as a valuable spokesperson and messenger for the corporations brand or product. From the point of view of this thesis it stands clear that relationship marketing is the appropriate approach when the scientific field is entered as a social constructionist and especially when the society and the consumer is perceived as being postmodern. The demands and inquiries that the postmodern consumer has are able to be met through a relationship marketing approach, where it is not only the product alone that is of importance, but also additional and more intangible features such as status and image play an important role to the consumer. To the corporation the long-term relationship with the consumer is of high strategic importance. The consumers who are engaged in long-term relationships are both more profitable for the corporation, but do also play a significant role when it comes to communication, where loyal consumers act as strong advocates and messengers of WOM for the corporation and hereby take part in the corporations strategic communication. As a main feature within relationship marketing, loyalty is inevitable. Loyalty is one of the main fundaments when bonds between corporations and consumers are to be established and maintained. Further, loyalty among consumers does also benefit the corporation in relation with communicative aspects. This goes for the spreading of WOM, but also when looking at for example online communities. In this relation it is loyal consumers who to a large extend are the reason why an online community can become a success because of their participation in the online community. Even though this paragraph argues that the traditional 4 Ps are too restrictive in the approach, there are of course some areas, such as fast-moving consumer goods, where the 4 Ps do still fulfil the job as a marketing approach. But when it comes to other areas and products, for example larger or more luxurious products, this thesis argues that relationship marketing, because of its connection to service, has a better and more suitable match.

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4. Social Media and Online Communities


As mentioned earlier in the thesis, there has been an incredible development within technology through the last decades. Especially within IT the development has been huge and changed many things forever (Egan, 2008, pp. 227-228). The impact that the Internet has on the society today is of such importance that no one would be able to imagine how it would be without. The development has especially influenced the way that communication has evolved. One of the results of this development is the increasing interaction and use of computer mediated communication through social media, which is a logical consequence of the development where engagement and social interaction is becoming more and more popular and important (Alyssa, 2008. p. 7). With this in mind the following paragraph will illuminate the concept of social media and look into what this relatively new phenomenon covers and how it can be defined. First the paragraph will bring forth a definition and description in order to clarify the concept of social media, second the paragraph will illuminate what corporations need to be aware of regarding implementation of social media, third the paragraph will look into online communities and which contributions they can give the corporations, and finally a part conclusion and additional perspective and comments to the used theory will sum up the findings from the paragraph.

4.1 Theoretical Description and Definition of Social Media


Even though social media is a relatively new concept it is conceptually old, meaning that people have socialised, conversed, shared information, knowledge and opinions for thousands of years, the only thing which has changed is that it is no longer necessary to leave the sofa to hear what friends and colleagues have to say. Today, thanks to the technological development and the number of social networks, it is possible to communicate and stay in contact with family and friends all over the world whenever needed or wanted (Safko and Brake, 2009, pp. 3-4). When searching for a definition of social media it is difficult to find one clear and common definition. Because social media covers so many different areas and functions, it is also difficult to define. In order to create a better understanding of what social media is, this thesis uses the following definition to define social media as:

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...activities, practices and behaviours among communities of people who gather online to share information, knowledge and opinions using conversational media (Safko & Brake, 2009, p. 6)

Shortly said, this means that social media is about online conversation and interaction. In addition, social media can be characterised as several different media which are integrated, for example photo, text and video, into a service (Appendix 7 Brsen TV). Social media is used to describe online tools and utilities that allow users to communicate information online and allow users to participate and collaborate. A social medium can for example be a blog, a social network or an online community, wikis or pod- and videocasting, which consists of an user-generated content that can be shared freely (Newson, 2008, pp. 49-50). Common examples hereof are MySpace12, Facebook13 and YouTube14 which are networks where members can share music, keep in contact with friends and relatives, and share videos. The mentioned examples do all rely on members engagement, and especially for a corporate online community it is important that the online community is able to engage with members through communication, collaboration, education and entertainment (Safko and Brake, 2009, pp. 7-8) Users of social media have different reasons to use the specific social media and the time spend on different social networks varies a lot (Fournier and Lee, 2009, p. 106), but most commonly people use social media to stay in contact with anyone ever met and share knowledge and opinions with a lot who they have never met but with whom their share a common interest. The latter is one of the forces of online social networks and something that can provide a corporation with valuable knowledge and information. Users of social media often have a sympathetic understanding for each other and often show more trust to other members of a social network than to a corporation (McEleny, 2009, p. 34). Therefore corporations need to see the advantages in social media and with a social media strategy in hand corporations can benefit through engagement with social media (Safko and Barke, 2009, p. 5).

12 13

http://www.myspace.com http://www.facebook.com 14 http://www.youtube.com

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Through for example an online community it has become easier for people with common interests to gather and comprise groups. Once again, there is nothing new in people gathering around something in which they share a common interest, Harley Davidson users have been doing that for several years (Muniz and OGuinn, 2001, p. 414), what makes an online community special is that users worldwide easily can stay connected 24-7 and share opinions about a specific brand, product or area of interest. If a corporation can get an overview of such an online community, with interest for the corporation, many valuable lessons can be learned. User opinions and product critique are essential elements for a corporation to develop and stay fit in the increasing competition (McEleny, 2009, p. 34). For a corporation social media serves as an important strategic tool in providing two-way communication and dialogue, which is of high importance when a corporation is to communicate with the postmodern consumer, c.f. 2.3 Postmodern Marketing Communication Business as Unusual. Through an online community it is easy to generate both symmetric and asymmetric communication between the corporation and its consumers and hereby achieve improved consumer relationships. If the corporation just provides the platform, in form of an online community, for the consumers, the corporation does not need to create much content, as the members will do that themselves (Newson, 2008, p. xii).

4.2 The Implementation of Social Media in Corporate Communication


Before incorporating social media as part of a corporations communication strategy there are several issues that need to be considered. First of all, there needs to be a clear definition of the purpose and aim for incorporating social media into a communication strategy. Social media is extremely popular right now and will undoubtedly be an important strategic communication channel in the future, but just because almost everybody else is doing it, it does not mean that social media is suited for everybody (McEleny, 2009, p. 34). Therefore, it is necessary that the engagement with social media is based on a clear purpose and with defined guidelines for the aim and the wanted outcome of the involvement in social media. A goal must be to create a beneficial online community with a stabile and growing audience where the corporation as well as the members can mutually benefit from the relationship

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and where, in the end, the corporations can learn more from its consumers in order to become a better supplier of goods and services (Safko and Brake, 2009, p. 78). In addition, engagement is a key issue when it comes to social media. Social media is a way of communicating with, not a way of communicating to consumers (Carter, 2009, p. 19), meaning that two-way communication and dialogue needs to find place and the online community is not just to be used as yet another channel for overloading the consumer with advertising. Therefore it is important that activities in an online community are followed. This will ensure that the members keep up the use and stay active, and hereby ensure an even greater outcome through use of social media. Further, when showing engagement the corporation will also show that the use of social media is not just a buzz, but is to be taken serious. When the members of an online community can see that the corporation is serious with its social media activities, there is an increase in the chances of fulfilling a success (Grnroos, 2004, p. 107). This means that the corporation needs to decide whether or not the corporation is willing to invest the resources and time in the use of social media that it takes to make it a success (McEleny, 2009, p. 34). Social media is not an expensive investment, compared to other mass media as TV, but it takes human resources to be fully engaged and active in an online community, which is needed if it is to be a success. Therefore, a corporation simply cannot start an online community and expect it to evolve and survive by itself (Carter, 2009, p. 19). Without its own online community a corporation can still benefit from the activities online. This demands, however, that used-generated online communities are monitored. As the situation is at the moment corporations cannot afford to close their eyes to what is going on in online communities and just expect everything to be fine. Corporations need to listen to what consumers say online and take it serious and that is only done if online communities of interest are monitored (Read, 2010, p. 13). When it comes to being active online it is of high importance that corporations are aware of how to behave in a given online community. It is not just a matter of saying the right things, it is also important that it is said the right way. Therefore, it is important that what is being said when using social media is said in a tone of voice that fit the online community so the members do not feel talked down to. It is important that the members feel that they are on the same level as the ones speaking with them. Therefore, it is of highest importance that the corporation develops a tone of

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voice used for the transmission, so the receiver can easily relate to the message and the sender just as if it was a friend or a colleague (Safko, L. and Brake, 2009, pp. 76-77). When looking further at the incorporation of social media into a corporations corporate communication several issues occur. As it is the case with any new media, usual way of doing things and communicating simply cannot be copied into the process. There are so many different ways of doing things online, so when it comes to using social media new and different methods and skills are needed compared to the traditional channels. One of the areas where social media is different from other mass media is within the tone of voice. As mentioned above, social media calls for a much higher need of differentiation in each conversation and message published, as each message has its specific topic and new audience. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a separate communication strategy for the use of social media (Cridge, 2009, p. 5). In order to create just the tone of voice fitted for the corporations target audience, it is important to find out what type of members who are using the online community, c.f. 4.4 Netnography The Online Analysis. Once the members of the online community have been identified, through for example the loyalty ladder c.f. 3.3 Loyalty, the corporation needs to find archetypes or personas that will fit the audience, and thereby insure a successful use of social media by creating profitable consumer relationships (Safko and Brake, 2009, p. 77). With the right tone of voice defined and a clear purpose for the online community, the foundation is set for a successful entrance with social media. However, this does not mean that success is obtained that simple. As mentioned above, engagement is the key to success when it comes to social media and it is of vital importance that the members can see the presence of the corporation through the online community. The difficult part of making an online community a success is not the part of getting people to visit the online community, the difficult part is to make the visitors come back, sign up as members and have the members engaged in the online community so they take an active part in making the online community work and ensure a constant and growing traffic. Constant traffic is only maintained through interesting content and this is not a matter of writing long and thorough texts (Comm, 2009, pp. xviii-xix). When it comes to social media short and precise messages is the right solution, as users only spend few seconds when they skim content on the Internet (Safko and Brake, 2009, p. 104), and therefore the content of what is being written is of highest importance (Comm, 2009, p. xviii). If members find the topic interesting the loyal ones will

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ensure that a constant activity is taking place and via constant activity new topics will occur and hereby the corporations have been able to engage members in the running of the online community (Newson, 2008, pp. xi-xii). When social media is incorporated by a corporation there is added an additional and maybe even more important aspect. When it comes to a corporations use of social media it is all about engagement. When a corporation gets involved in an online community it needs to stay engaged in order to build and maintain the relationship with the members (Carter, 2009, p. 22). As it is stated by Grnross (2004) [users] should see that the firm appreciates feedback and makes use of it (Grnroos, 2004, p. 107), and hereby a corporation can benefit from its engagement with social networks (Egan, 2008, p. 242). As mentioned above, the creation of an online community can be the starting point for a very successful and valuable entrance into the use of social media. A corporation can either create an online community itself focusing on a product or brand, or the corporation can benefit from a usergenerated community, c.f. 4.3 Online Communities. Through an online community the corporation has the opportunity to follow the communication going on between members of a given product and enjoy valuable information about user opinions and critique. Even if a corporation decides to create its own online community, it does not mean that the corporation takes any position of control about what will be written or what is to happen in the online community. The corporation will only be able to influence the content of the online community by showing its presence and be active (Safko and Brake, 2009, p. 5). One of the first lessons and a key issue when a corporation is to start its adventure into the world of social media is first listen, then participate (McEleny, 2009, p. 34). When it comes to social media a corporation cannot just start by speaking out loud. As mentioned above, the online community needs to be fitted to its audience and this is best achieved by listening before speaking. Especially when a corporation joins in on a user-generated online community, it is an absolute necessity to listen before joining the conversations in order to know the tone of voice used in the online community (Cridge, 2009, p. 5). In addition, a corporations success with an online community depends on the corporations ability to work and communicate with the members and

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understand the implicit as well as explicit rules and agreements there are in an online community (Spaulding, 2010, p. 39). In relation to a corporations other marketing and communicative activities there need to be a link to the engagement of social media. Despite the entry and increasing use of social media, the social networks cannot replace the traditional communication channels but only function as an effective supplement which can provide highly beneficial features. As mentioned elsewhere, the use of social media provides a corporation with the opportunity to engage in two-way communication with the consumers and through dialogue strengthen the relationship. Further, a corporation can use the social media to participate and get insight into the consumers complains about the corporations products or brands. Social media gives the consumers the opportunity to bring forth their complains about a certain product or brand, but at the same time a corporation has the opportunity to reply to the complain and give their view to the situation and through dialogue with the consumer reach a solution that can benefit both parts (Appendix 8 - Politiken). Additionally, even though the use of social media is very popular at the moment there still needs to be a strategic match between the product or brand and the purpose and engagement with social media. Managers need to make sure that there is a match between the corporations needs and how an online community will fit and influence the corporation. The match needs to be considered both in relation to the product or brand, but also in relation to the consumers of the product or brand. For example, not all consumer groups will have the needed technical skills or interest to participate or make use of an online community (Spaulding, 2010, p. 46). This stresses the fact that a corporation needs to have a clear strategy for the engagement with online communities. When taking a closer look at the advantages of social media its wide spread reach and speed is an obvious benefit, compared to other traditional media which often are restricted by geographical barriers. Through use of social media and the Internet in general it is possible for a corporation to get in contact with an unlimited audience worldwide. Through an online community it is possible to spread a message fast and effective through users and members of the online community. A message send through a blog or a forum can be read and commented on by numerous of other users and a continuous dialogue can take form contributing with additional information and knowledge. Further, users will pass on the information or story to their friends if they find it interesting, and

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hereby a corporation can get its message spread with a limited effort. Forwarded messages from friends or relatives have a larger impact on the receiver and the corporation will gain a greater benefit hereof, as people who normally would not have heard of a corporation will be aware of its existence through friends, and the foundation for a successful consumer relationship can be established (Comm, 2009, pp. xv-xix). The model below illustrates how the communication process in an online community could look like.

Sender

Message

Media

1st Receiver

2nd Receiver

Model 3: The Communication Process in an Online Community By Allan Pontoppidan (2010). Adjusted model of The Communication Process Model by Pickton and Broderick (2005, p. 7)

The sender could for example be the corporation behind the online community or a member. The message could be some information relating to the area of interest covered by the online community if the sender is the corporation or blog post if the sender is a member. The media is of course the online community and it could more specifically be a news site or a members personal blog. The 1st receiver can be the corporation if the message for example is a question, or it could be a member reading news or another members blog. The 1st receiver can then reply to the message and give it renewed life by commenting on the post and hereby stimulate the message and give room for a 2nd receiver to make additionally comments, which can start a dialogue, offline as well as online, to continue on and on with further receivers to the benefit of both the corporation and the members. A corporation can influence and affect the activity in an online community, but in the end it is the members thoughts and opinions that will determine the content. Studies show that 34% of consumers decide not to make a purchase of a specific product after reading comments and opinions from other consumers (Gray, 2006, p. 38). Negative comments are impossible to control, and they Page 43 of 179

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can form a large threat for a corporations reputation as the chances of getting rid of such comments are very difficult. Hate sites have been known for some time, but with social media it has become as easy as ever for unsatisfied consumers to express their negative opinions about a corporation and large groups are easily gathered online (Helm, 2000, pp. 159-161). But, even though a corporation cannot control such negative WOM, the social networks are also the solution on how to deal with the challenges. Through an online community the corporation does also have the opportunity to take part in the discussions and try to solve the conflict with the consumers, and here it is important that the corporation is not afraid of facing the unsatisfied consumers but dare take up the challenge of solving the problem before it escalades (Carter, 2009, p. 19). Just as rewarding an asset positive WOM can be to a corporation, just as badly and damaging can negative WOM be to a corporation. This is the case for negative WOM, just as it is the case with positive WOM, because consumers share their experiences and more than one-third of WOM is negative (Blackwell et al., 2006, p. 543). Negative WOM rarely goes away by itself and therefore it is important that the corporation handles the problem straight away. The best strategy for a corporation is to immediately acknowledge the problem and hereby avoid it to escalate into a major issue (Blackwell et al., 2006, p. 544).

4.3 Online Communities


The following paragraph will look deeper into one of the more popular forms of social media, namely online communities. An increasing number of consumers use online communities to express and disseminate their knowledge, experiences and opinions about a given product or brand (Kozinets, 2002, p. 61). An inevitable advantage of online communities is that communication can be transmitted instantly all over the world with nearly no limits concerning speed and scope and at a minimum cost. Further, through online communities it is possible for members to connect with others who they in their ordinary real life community would never have met, because of diverging backgrounds and differences in for example social status (Wierenga et al., 2009, pp. 185 and 200).

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According to Muniz and OGuinn (2001) a brand community can be defined as: a specialised, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand (Muniz and OGuinn, 2001, p. 412)

The definition characterises a brand community as specialised because it is centred on one specific product or brand. Further, it builds on a common interest and admiration towards the product or brand and it builds on rituals and traditions (Muniz and OGuinn, 2001, p. 412). Kozinets (1999) contributes with a definition on online communities which he sees as: affiliative groups whose online interactions are based upon shared enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, a specific consumption activity or related group of activities (Kozinets, 1999, p. 254)

Kozinets definition supports the definition by Muniz and OGuinn (2001) and stresses that the online community is build around a common interest, a brand or a product, of which the members have a special enthusiasm and knowledge. However, neither of the two definitions does explicitly take into consideration the aspect of knowledge sharing, which must be considered as one of the main assets of an online community (McAlexander et al., 2002, p. 38). Further, Muniz and OGuinn do in their article from 2001 mention the importance of sharing knowledge in relation to online communities (Muniz and OGuinn, 2001, p. 423), and this thesis do therefore consider it a lack that both of the definitions are absence in mentioning the essential aspect of knowledge sharing. This thesis does therefore provide its own definition of an online community. An online community is a computer mediated community where people who have a common enthusiasm for a brand, product or an area of interest through interactions can share knowledge and experiences in order to improve and elaborate their overall perception of the given area. (Allan Pontoppidan, 2010)

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The definition can be considered somewhat similar to the ones presented above. However, it is believed that it distinguishes itself by adding the notion of knowledge sharing, which by several theorists is perceived as being the essential factor for an online community, and is therefore considered to be a truism in a definition of an online community. An online community can overall be categorised as being either a sanctioned community or an unsanctioned community. The sanctioned community is sponsored or managed by a corporation. This ensures the corporation with a closer relation to the community and a direct access to the activities online. However, it does not ensure the corporation with an absolute control, which will be stressed later. The unsanctioned community, or user-generated community, is an independent online community which is managed and controlled by users with no official relation to the corporation (Paterson, 2009, p. 45). Within the categorisation of online communities there can be made a further division into different types of online communities. According to Kannan et al. (2000) online communities can be divided into four different types each with their specific focus and orientation. Table 1: Types of Community 1) Transaction oriented Bring seller and buyer together. Depends on a high level of trust to complete transaction, but do not assign any attention to the members social needs. For example eBay.com Gather users around a common interest. Depends on a high level of trust concerning sincerity of information and is highly depend on members social interaction. For example Deviantart.com Focus on real-life relations. Links friends, family and business relations For example Facebook.com Gather users around online games and role-plays. Trust is not that vital For example Secondlife.com

2) Interest oriented

3) Relationship oriented

4) Fantasy oriented

(Kannan et al. (2000) pp. 416-417)

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In relation to this thesis it is the interest oriented community which will be given attention, as the online community that will be used in the case study of this thesis is an interest oriented community. The characteristics of the interest oriented community are that it gathers its members around a specific topic or interest, and the online community is often based around blogs and forums where members have the opportunity for interactions with one another. According to Spaulding (2010) the interest oriented community is highly dependent on the interactions of members and their motivation and participation for sharing knowledge and information (Spaulding, 2010, pp. 40-41). It is possible that for example an interest oriented community can evolve and foster relationships because of the interaction between members over time. This will in the end strengthen both the online community but also the loyalty towards the corporation, as the corporation will be credited for establishing the relationship through the online community (Spaulding, 2010, p. 41). Within online communities there is a huge potential for corporations to exploit. First of all, a corporation can through a strong and successful online community build and foster relationships with their current and potential consumers. A corporation will through an online community be able to increase the loyalty to its consumers because of the shared interest, information and knowledge between members will be credited to the corporation and hereby strengthen the consumer-brand bond (Wierenga, 2009, p. 187). Further, a strong online community will help the consumer to authenticate brand meaning which will also make the consumer-brand relationship stronger (Fournier and Lee, 2009, p. 111). Besides improving the relationships with the consumers, online communities will also be valuable in the process of increasing the corporations consumer knowledge (Paterson, 2009, p. 46) which is invaluable in the process of product development in the sense that the consumers ideas, needs and wants regarding a specific product can be monitored in the online community and the corporation will be provided with an influx of firsthand ideas that can be used for product development and growth in business (Fournier and Lee, 2009, p. 111). It is the development within the communication flow, c.f. 2.3 Postmodern Marketing Communication Business as Unusual, where two-way communication and an increasing focus on dialogue with the consumer has enabled corporations to strengthen both the bonds to their consumers but also increased their knowledge about them at the same time. Knowledge sharing in online communities does also stress the choice of social constructionism as scientific method, where knowledge and the

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reality is considered as constantly evolving through interaction between people, c.f. 1.2.1 Social Constructionism. But the above mentioned potentials do not emerge on its own accord. It is important that the corporation has a strategy and some clarified goals before an engagement with an online community. This will ensure that the corporation has an overview of which resources are needed in order to make the online community a success (Spaulding, 2009, pp. 38-39). In addition, if insufficient resources are dedicated to an online community it will shine through and the members will recognise it immediately, which can lead to members exodus and in the worst case scenario it can end up with members spreading negative word-of-mouth about the corporation (Spaulding, 2009, p. 42). As it is stated above, even though the online community should be a sanctioned community the corporation does not hold any form of control of what is going on online. When it comes to online communities control is an illusion (Fournier and Lee, 2009, p. 110). Members should be able to use the online community as a free forum for stating what they want, as long as it is related to the corporation, brand or product, and it is of no affront or insult character towards the corporation or other members. This means that in the online community the corporation should only be guiding and encouraging to debate but at no point take control. All in all, the online community is for the members (Fournier and Lee, 2009, p. 106). Even though members of the online community have freedom of speech the corporation should not be afraid of possible conflicts and criticism from consumers. First of all, some of the criticism can be turned into advantages for a corporation if members are listened to. This is possible because a situation can be handled and stopped before it escalade and are being unmanageable for the corporation. Further, conflicts will often only escalate if not handled by the corporation and leave the impression that the corporation do not take the opinions from the consumers seriously (Fournier and Lee, 2009, pp. 108-109). Another important factor regarding enough resources assigned to the online community is the ability to provide the online community with sufficiently new and interesting material. If the corporation is able to frequently deliver new posts and other material to the online community it will have a positive effect on the member activity and at the end generate member posts which will lead to member activity and so on and so forth (Paterson, 2009, p. 48). Finally, it is important for a

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corporation to notice that even though the online community gathers large numbers of current consumers and prospects, the online community is not to be used as a mass distribution channel for advertising. As mentioned above, the online community is for the members and it is their place to interact with other members and should therefore not be interrupted and disturbed by marketing messages (Spaulding, 2010, p. 46).

4.3.1 The Motivation for Members to be Active and Participate in an Online Community As it is mentioned above, it is important that members of an online community do not feel betrayed for example regarding lack of frequently new posted material. In general the corporations need to show their presence in the online community, so the members know that when they have something that is to be considered of interest to the corporation, the corporation will also read it and take it into consideration, c.f. 4.2 The Implementation of Social Media in Corporate Communication. These things, among others, are factors that have an influence on the motivation for members to participate and contribute in the online community. First of all, compared to a real life community, an online community is considered to have lower entry and exit barriers, which makes it easier for a member to leave the online community if the member does not find the online community interesting and renewing, or if the member does not agree with rules and norms and then find a new online community which have a more suitable match (Wierenga et al., 2009, p. 187). When looking further into the motivational factors regarding contributions in the online community, there is a high level of credibility and trustworthiness towards other members. First of all, it is another member who is the source of the given information who has gained the knowledge through own-experience and further the source is free of personal gain, so it is not a vendor who has some kind of hidden agenda (Wierenga et al., 2009, p. 187). In addition, the members who choose to spend time sharing their knowledge and experiences regarding a product or brand, being negative as well as positive experiences, does it in a desire to help other members in order to make better decisions regarding a purchase of a new product or in order to help with a better experience in relation with use of a given product (Wierenga et al., 2009, p. 189). This is stressed by Hennig-Thurau et al. (2004) who in a research of online communities have identified eight different motivation factors for online community members to engage in

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WOM in an online community. Among these motivation factors the concern for other consumers, self-enhancement and advice seeking are listed as drivers for members to be motivated and engaged in online communities (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2004 pp. 42-44). The eight motivation factors by Hennig-Thurau et al. (2004) are further supported by Muniz and OGuinn (2001) who stress that there are three core components concerning members connection to an online community. First, there is consciousness of kind which is an intrinsic connection that members have with each other and which helps the members to differentiate themselves from others who are not a member of the online community, it further stress the common sense of belonging by a shared way of thinking which exceed attitudes and perceived similarities. Second, the presence of shared rituals and traditions stress the above but do also help perpetuating the history and culture of the online community. Rituals and traditions do also give the online community its distinctive character and confirm the online communitys norms and values. Finally, Muniz and OGuinn (2004) mentioned a sense of moral responsibility which is to be seen as a members sense of duty or obligation towards the other members of the online community but also towards the online community as a whole and its existence (Muniz and OGuinn, 2001, p. 413). Muniz and OGuinn (2001) do also mention the matter of status and user defined hierarchy among members in an online community. Extraordinary knowledge and skills within the focus of the online community will help the member to secure status among the other members. A member who has such a status can also be of benefit to the corporation in relation to distribution of for example WOM and influence prospects towards achieving loyalty to a brand or product and in the long term engage in a relationship with the corporation (Muniz and OGuinn, 2001, pp. 422-423). An increasing number of consumers who are making choices about products or brands do to a larger extend use computer-mediated communication for example online communities as a way of getting needed information about a product (Gray, 2006, p. 38). For this purpose the online community is ideal where the members can share ideas and knowledge, build relationships and contact likeminded who are considered as being more objective information sources (Kozinets, 2002, p. 61). This further stresses the argument about consumption as being an ongoing process, c.f. 1.2.1 Social Constructionism, as the consumption process does not stop when the transaction has happened between the vendor and the consumer, but continues along with the use of the product and is extended through knowledge sharing in for example an online community.

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Other theorists who contribute to the understanding of online community members motivation for participating and contributing in online communities are McAlexander et al. (2002). In the article it is stated that relationships between more and less experienced members are mutual beneficial in the way that less experienced members can gain information and knowledge from members who have long-term experiences and expertise within a given subject and hereby the experienced member can help the less experienced member to have a better experience with the product or brand, which is also stated by Wierenga et al. above. The experienced members do also benefit through their help to less experienced in the way that their status within the online community is strengthen. When members can see that one specific member is often active in the process of helping others, it helps to strengthen the assumed leadership role the member receives from other members within the online community (McAlexander et al., 2002, p. 42). The reciprocal exchange of knowledge do also benefit the online community as a whole as the exchange helps to cement the relationship between the members (McAlexander et al., 2002, p. 42), which support the argument by Muniz and OGuinn (2001) about the sense of moral responsibility which is also mentioned above. Finally, Paterson (2009) stress that the primary motivation for members regarding participation in an online community is knowledge sharing. The latter argument regarding member motivation and the other arguments mentioned above stress the fact that the two definitions on online communities provided by Muniz and OGuinn (2001) and Wierenga et al. (2009) in the beginning of this paragraph do lack a notion of knowledge sharing, and further stress the definition provided by this thesis, c.f. 4.3 Online Communities.

4.3.2 The Importance of Active Members to an Online Community To the online community and especially the corporation it is of high importance to have motivated members as mentioned above. First of all, the online community is build around the members, their activities and the relationship between the members, and the sharing of knowledge, information and experiences work as cement for the existence of the online community (McAlexander et al. 2002, p. 38 and 42). In addition, active members, for example insiders c.f. Table 2: Member Types of an Online Community, are important to a corporation. Qua the insiders commitment, conscientiousness and passion towards the product or brand (Muniz and OGuinn, 2001, p. 427)

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insiders are the perfect messengers for a corporation, because of their large credibility inside the online community members are more likely to listen to and accept what an insider has to say (Wierenga et al. 2009, p. 196), and can therefore be incorporated by the corporation as valuable participants in the communication strategy. A natural consequence in relation to credibility is a strengthened relationship between the members. As mentioned elsewhere in the thesis, a positive overall experience within the online community helps the member to increase the loyalty towards the corporations product or brand (McAlexander, 2002, p. 44). Not only do members contribute to the existence of the online community through their activity and participation and further function as important providers of information for one another (Muniz and OGuinn, 2001, p. 426), loyal online community members do also spread their knowledge elsewhere than in the online community. Loyal members are willing to recommend a product or brand and share their own experiences or newly gained knowledge with friends, colleagues and family who may not be a member of the same online community. Further, loyal members are a valuable source for the corporation as provider of feedback and the loyal members have a general interest in the corporations overall success (McAlexander et al., 2002, p. 51). This also stress the argument about consumers who are gaining the power in the market (Muniz and OGuinn, 2001, p. 426) through the participation and activities in an online community, which correspond with the postmodern marketing which is moving towards a consumer centric approach, c.f. 2.3 Postmodern Marketing Communication Business as Unusual.

4.4 Netnography The Online Analysis


Due to the development within the Internet and the increasing number of online communities, marketing and consumer researchers developed netnography in the late 1990s, an extended research technique of the traditional ethnographic research method that could provide researchers with consumer insight based on the activities taking place in the online communities (Kozinets, 2002, p. 61). Ethnography, the point of departure for netnography, is a market oriented research technique that focuses on the behaviour of consumers in relation to products or services. Ethnography is a timeconsuming research method, where for example face-to-face interviews or focus groups demand a

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lot of resources and man hours (Sandlin, 2007, p. 289). Besides being costly, ethnography suffers under the condition of being carried out in fabricated situations, for example the gathering of a number of persons in a meeting room participating in a focus group (Kozinets, 2002, p. 61). However, ethnographic researchers have the advantage that they are able to observe the behaviour and body language of the participants in a focus group or a face-to-face interview, where netnographic researchers only can rely on their textual observations (Kozinets, 2002, p. 64). Kozinets, one of the leading researchers within the field or netnography, or internet-based ethnography (Sandlin, 2007, pp. 289-290), defines netnography as a: new qualitative research methodology that adapts ethnographic research techniques to study the cultures and communities that are emerging through computer-mediated communications (Kozinets, 2002, p. 62)

As mentioned above, netnography arose in response to the development within the Internet and computer-mediated communication taking place in for example online communities and the relatively new research methodology has provided researchers with methods that allow them to gain access to consumer discussions by observing and/or participating in communications on publicly available online forums (Nelson and Otnes, 2005, p. 90). This means that the research carried out in online communities can be done more unobtrusive and the researchers observations are, opposite to ethnography observations, done into naturally occurring behaviours (Kozinets. 2002, p. 62), which secure a high trustworthiness in the research results. The qualitative results that a netnographic research provides can be used to identify and understand desires and decisions that are made in a consumption situation (Kozinets. 2002, p. 62). The results provide the corporations with valuable information which can create a picture of changes that consumers would like to see in future products and corporations can then use the results in for example their product development (Appendix 7 Brsen TV). When it comes to the execution of any netnographic research there is a lot of precautions and preliminary work to be made. This implies, if the online community is an unsanctioned community,

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a basic knowledge about the online community and a set of research questions that the researcher needs to find answers to (Kozinets, 2002, p. 63). If the online community is a sanctioned community it must be considered that a regular research or monitoring is being executed. The research will disclose what kind of members who are using the online community. Kozinets (1999) has identified two factors on which the relationships depend and which will help classify the member types of an online community. 1) The consumers relationship to the consumption activity, meaning that the closer consumption of the given product is to the self-image of the consumer the more likely the consumer will be to appreciate the membership of the online community. 2) The social relationship the consumer has to other members, meaning that a member of an online community will build stronger bonds to other members of an online community with a common interest, if for example the member does not have any or only few people in a real life face-to-face community with a common interest (Kozinets, 1999, p. 254). Based on these two non-independent factors Kozinets (1999) has identified four types of members in an online community. Table 2: Member Types of an Online Community 1) Tourists Lack social ties and deep interest in the consumption activities 2) Minglers Strong social ties but lack interest in the consumption activities 3) Devotees Strong consumption interest but few attachments to the online community 4) Insiders Strong ties to the online community and the consumption activities. Long standing and frequently referenced members (Kozinets, 1999, pp.254-255)

Tourists and devotees generally hold no interest in building social bonds or participate in relationships with other online community members, but do only use the online community as a place to search for information and gain knowledge from other members. Tourists can also be classified as lurkers, members who read the posts of others without making a contribution themselves (Wierenga et al., 2009, p. 192) which leaves them as the least contributing member type and the ones who must be considered as the most peripheral to a corporation. However, devotees do, together with insiders, represent the most important data sources for researchers (Kozinets, 2002, p. 64). Minglers, do together with insiders, place a high appreciation on the social

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bonds they achieve through their membership of the online community. To minglers the social bonds are the most important aspects for being a member of the online community, whereas the insiders have an equally high preference to the social bonds gained through the online community and the accomplishment of for example sharing information and knowledge about the given brand or product. Devotees and insiders are valuable assets for a corporation in relation to activity in an online community. Besides being active posters and contributors in the online community, devotees and insiders do also spread a lot of positive word-of-mouth which is invaluable as a supplement to the corporations marketing communication (Kozinets, 1999, p. 255).

Insiders Devotees Minglers Tourists

Illustration 1: Member Types of an Online Community. Allan Pontoppidan (2010) based on the work of Kozinets (1999) The four types of online community members that Kozinets (1999) has characterised can be compared to the classifications that Christopher et al. (1991) presents in the loyalty ladder, c.f. 3.3 Loyalty, where prospects belong to the lower part of the ladder and can be compared with tourists, and advocates belong to the top of the ladder and can be compared to insiders. Common for both comparisons is that prospects and tourists both hold potential to develop into higher levels. Such a development depends on advocates and insiders who through their commitment and enthusiasm have the ability to influence prospects and tourists and hereby contribute to the process of upgrading the prospects and tourists to higher levels (Kozinets, 2002, p. 64). It must however be noted that such a comparison only can provide a relative picture because the characterisations of Page 55 of 179

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Kozinets (1999) are made for an online community and the loyalty ladder presented by Christopher et al. (1991) is for the physical market. In relation to this thesis the above paragraph has contributed with an illumination of social media and online communities. The thesis support the work by the theorists used, and the thesis has with its contribution of the definition of an online community strengthened the theoretical outcome of the paragraph. Even though the thesis finds it necessary to contribute with a new definition of online communities, the thesis fully supports the definitions by Muniz and OGuinn (2001) and Kozinets (1999). Further, the thesis does also provide its view on how the communication flow is within an online community, where a corporation is largely dependent on the members activity. This is done in order to better visualise how the flow of communication is within an online community, where multiple participants are involved, compared to the traditional communication model. Finally, in relation to the use of the netnographic research method provided by Kozinets (2002) this thesis finds it an inevitable analysis tool when it comes to research of online communities. However, it is perceived that because a netnographic research is carried out online it can cause some complications and extend a research process, for example because it will take longer time in situations with misunderstood questions or the lack of being able to get an answer elaborated, unless the research is done in real time, which then again weakens the advantages of being more unobtrusive and done in an uninfluenced setting.

4.5 Part Conclusion


The increasing prevalence and use of social media by consumers makes the Internet a very important communication channel for corporations. Online communities and social media are used for communication and interaction with other consumers who share a common interest or passion for a product or brand. The non-geographic networks supply corporations with new opportunities and call for new strategies of how to communicate with consumers and prospects. Because of the online communities corporations are able to be in constant contact with its consumers and through instant feedback and two-way communication be able to strengthen their business, through consumer knowledge and feedback to be used within product development. The use of online communities and social media calls for a well defined purpose and communication strategy in order

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to make use of the full potential that social media possess. Corporations can with advantage use an online community to handle and respond to criticism before issues escalade and through engagement and presence build and strengthen relationships to its consumers. Whether the online community is a sanctioned or an unsanctioned community it is always contend that it is for the members, and the online community is not to be used as yet another mass-distribution channel for advertising. Further, it is important that the corporation ensures that there is a match between the product or brand and the intended audience of the online community. If there is no match between the two, the online community is more likely to fail and will therefore not be of any use for the corporation. Besides strengthening the relationship to its consumers, an online community can help the corporation to create a network among its consumers where members of the online community can search for information and gain new knowledge. Members of an online community are motivated for different reasons than the corporation and are therefore considered as being more trustworthy as an information source. Another motivation to join an online community is to fulfil the need of belonging, which match with the postmodern consumer, c.f. 2.2 The Postmodern Consumer. Further, the corporation and the online community is dependent on active members in order to make the online community a success and in the end it is the corporation who will be credited for the outcome and the benefits that members gain through their membership of the online community, as it is the corporation that delivers the platform for the online community. But social media is not all good. As it is mentioned above, everybody can say whatever they want online, and stories and rumours will spread rapidly. Social media has given corporations even more to think about and be aware of in the already hectic global market, and a corporation needs to act in relation to such stories and rumours. Not all stories are true and it might unnecessarily harm the corporation, but a corporation still needs to take care of such issues or else it can evolve into critical matters.

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5. Case Study Weber Klubben


As the theoretical framework for the thesis now has been constituted through the above paragraphs, the following paragraph will use the findings, definitions and clarifications to investigate and research the online community Weber Klubben. It is an aim for this paragraph to apply the findings from the latter paragraphs to illuminate to what degree Weber is using the online community in the process of retaining and enhancing long-term relationships with the consumers, and how Webers engagement can be linked to the theoretical framework that has been accounted for above. The research will firstly look into what is available through weberklubben.dk regarding the aim and purpose of the online community. Secondly, Weber Klubben and the theoretical framework that have been presented in the thesis will be juxtaposed in order to see to what degree Webers engagement with the online community is corresponding with the presented theories. Thirdly, a netnographic research will be carried out based on a number of member interviews and a monitoring of selected members of Weber Klubben. Fourthly, an interview with the Marketing Director of Weber will give an insight into the thoughts and ideas Weber has had with the online community. Finally, the findings in the case study will function as further argumentation for the conclusion. Further, the result of the netnographic research will be used in the final conclusion as argumentation of whether or not Weber has managed the online community in relation to what has been defined in this thesis. The relationship that Weber has with the consumers and members of Weber Klubben can be characterised as a bilateral relationship, where both buyer and seller are motivated to invest in the relationship because both parties benefit mutually from the relationship (Egan, 2008, pp. 51-52). In this case the members of Weber Klubben can share and extend their knowledge about grilling, and Weber has the opportunity to get to know the end user of its products and further Weber will through this knowledge be able to improve the product development and sharpen the communication for the future.

5.1 Weber Klubben The Official Weber Online Community


In October 2007 Weber launched its online community called Weber Klubben. Weber Klubben is an online community house where enthusiasts of grilling can gather and through the online

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community inspire each other and share knowledge in order to become better grillers (Appendix 9 Weber Klubben The Largest Grilling Community in Europe). Weber Klubben is a sanctioned community which is managed and owned by Weber, and it can further be characterised as an interest oriented community because of its focus on grilling and Weber grills, c.f. 4.3 Online Communities. When the website is first entered, one is met by a well-arranged front-page (Appendix 24 www.weberklubben.dk). The simplicity of the page gives new as well as established members an easy and quick overview of what is available on the website and what new have happened since last. Because of the easy created overview of the website members and new visitors are more likely to stay on the site and further investigate the online communitys content, c.f. 4.3 Online Community. Further, and interesting and often updated front-page does also indicate to the visitors that the online community is something that the corporation takes seriously, are engaged in and spend resources on, c.f. 4.2 The Implementation of Social Media in Corporate Communication. What further makes the front-page interesting to visitors of the online community is that the frontpage is not covered in advertising, as the online community is a non-commercial commercial venture (Appendix 10 Interview With Stig Pedersen Marketing Director at Weber) where marketing elements are not to disturb the members, which is also pointed out by Spaulding (2010) in paragraph 4.3 Online Community. It is the individual member who holds the right for the material posted in the online community, but Weber holds the right to use any material for promotion of Weber Klubben (Appendix 11 - What Does it Mean to be a Member?). Even though Weber has created and maintains the website they do not hold any liability for the content posted by members of the online community. If content of any kind should be found insulting or not suitable for the Weber brand and Weber Klubben, consequences will be taken which for example can lead to exclusion from the online community (Appendix 12 - Legal Notices Weber-Stephen Nordic). This corresponds with the findings of paragraph 4.3 Online Community stating that even tough members of an online community have freedom of speech, posted material should still be withheld in a decent tone and of course within a related topic. Besides monitoring the online community for inappropriate contents and protect its members hereof, Weber does also have the responsibility to protect the rights and data of its

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members. This is for example done by not selling any personal data to third parties (Appendix 13 Privacy and Cookies), and further not allowing any form of sales promotion by other brands or similar posted in the forum or blogs. An example hereof is seen in a post in the debate forum where a member asks where to find cheap accessories for the Weber grill, members start to recommend different vendors, but the posts are stopped by an editor, referring to the ethical codex of not debating vendor prices (Appendix 12 - Legal Notices Weber-Stephen Nordic), but keep the forum as a place to seek help and share experiences and knowledge (Appendix 14 Closedown of Blog Post). As it is further stated in 4.3 Online Community a corporation can through an online community gain valuable firsthand knowledge and know-how from the consumer and users of its products. Weber does also use this opportunity of firsthand knowledge in its R&D when it comes to using the online communitys members ideas, know-how and experiences relating to the Weber grills and their use hereof in order to develop better products and features for the future (Appendix 12 - Legal Notices Weber-Stephen Nordic). Looking further into the use of the features in the online community, Weber Klubben offers a variety of opportunities. As mentioned above, it is possible to ask experts for help regarding technical difficulties or seek for advice for a recipe. In order to make posts in the forum and answer or comment on blog posts it is required to be a member of Weber Klubben. Non-members can only read and see posts, but not comment on them. Further, as a member it is possible to create ones own blog. This makes it easier for the member to keep an overview of ones own posts and other members can more easily follow a favourite blogger. The creation of ones own blog is definitely a strong feature which helps strengthen the bond between the member, the online community and Weber. When the member has a personal blog, there is also a larger sense of commitment towards the online community and especially the specific blog in relation to posting new material. The members who have a blog on Weber Klubben are most likely loyal members who have a strong commitment towards the online community and Weber as a brand. These are what Christopher et al. (1991) refers to as advocates and Kozinets (1999) as insiders, c.f. 4.4 Netnography The Online Analysis. For those members with a strong loyalty towards Weber and Weber Klubben the online

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community offers a special VIP membership15 which gives access to a VIP-area that among other things provides a video library with grill videos, special events and the magazine Grillerier only available for VIP members (Appendix 15 VIP Membership). Such a VIP membership gives further indications of the loyalty that the member has towards Weber and it helps strengthening the bond and committing the members additionally to Weber Klubben and hereby strengthening the relationship. Regarding loyal and active members, the front-page presents five lists, each respectively show the last 20 members who have signed on, the ten most active members of Weber Klubben, the five most active members participating in debates, the members with the most recipes, and the five most active bloggers. In order to make the competition among the members fair regarding the top-lists they are based on the last 14 days of activity. This will ensure that members have a more even chance of getting on the list (Appendix 16 FAQ).

5.2 Weber Klubben and the Theoretical Framework


The following part will juxtapose the theoretical findings and the online community Weber Klubben in order to see to what degree Weber acts in relation to the theoretical framework. Starting off by looking at the choice of theory of science, the match between social constructionism and an online community comes clear in various places. First of all the three fundamental processes as defined by Berger and Luckmann (1996) correspond with the activities going on in Weber Klubben, where different social activities and routines have an impact on how the world is perceived by the members. Further, socialising and the influences that come from others demand that members are constantly learning in order to understand the world, and in this case get the full outcome of the online community. Shortly said, the world is constantly constructed by each individual and is thereby perceived differently depending of the experiences and knowledge the individual has c.f. 1.2.1 Social Constructionism.

15

A VIP membership costs between 200 and 600 Dkr. and the member receives a welcome-packet when signing up. The packet contains different Weber accessories and merchandise and a membership card to be used for example when using some of the special offers from Weber Klubbens partners. (Appendix 15 VIP Membership)

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In relation to postmodernism, the postmodern consumer and postmodern communication, the match seems less abstract. The postmodern approach sees the world as being chaotic, plural and constantly changing, just to mention some characteristics. First of all postmodernism matches social constructionism, but further the match between postmodernism and an online community comes clear because the postmodern consumer through an online community as Weber Klubben is able to chase and fulfil the need of having different identities matching different interests in life which by Firat and Venkatesh (1995) is characterised as fragmentation where different identities are applied by the postmodern consumer depending of the specific situation, c.f. 2.2 The Postmodern Consumer. In this case it is the passion towards grilling and especially the use of Weber products that the postmodern consumer, represented through the member of Weber Klubben, is able to fulfil. Further, there is a match between postmodernity and an online community when the term is looked upon in relation to Reversal of production and consumption, c.f. 2.1 A Definition and the Historical Perspectives of Postmodernity, where consumption is not considered to stop after the purchase is made but continuous along with the use of the product and is further elaborated if the consumer is engaged in an online community expressing oneself about the product. Looking at the postmodern communication it comes clear that social media and online communities are closely linked. According to Schultz and Kitchen (2000) the communication flow in todays market, which they characterise as the interactive marketplace, c.f. 2.3 Postmodern Marketing Communication Business as Unusual, are interactive and communication takes a form of being two-way communication where the consumer has just as much to say as the corporation. An online community can function as the consumers mouthpiece to the corporation, through which both parties will mutually benefit. In relation to Weber Klubben it shows in the different blogs and forums where members can post questions in relation to Weber products and other members or Weber is able to answer. Finally, in relation to the postmodern communication, the change in the marketing paradigm where the 4 Ps in many relations are found to be too narrow as a marketing approach, areas such as customer needs and wants and communication do justice in relation to an online community where first of all the corporation are able to get an insight to the wants and needs of the consumer and further the corporation are able to communicate with the consumer and not just overload them with unimportant advertising messages, c.f. 2.3 Postmodern Marketing Communication Business as Unusual.

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Next, Webers doing regarding relationship marketing will be illuminated. According to Grnroos (1997) relationship marketing is about identifying and establishing, maintaining, enhancing relationships with the consumer through which both the corporation and the consumer will mutually benefit (Grnroos, 1997, p. 407). Through Weber Klubben, Weber is able to inspire and attract prospects because of the high activity that the existing members contribute with. Further, prospects are able to see how much Weber is doing for the members and the consumers and that Weber is really interested in establishing and maintaining a relationship to the benefit of both parties. In relation to the development of a relationship Weber makes and fulfil its promise about an online community for the members and enhances it by following up on questions and topics, and through the volunteers ensure that Weber Klubben always is interesting and inspiring to visit. Further, Weber Klubben is able to add additional dimensions to the purchase of w Weber grill, as the online community can provide the consumer with additional inspiration for the use of the grill (Appendix 17 Members Interviews: Thomas). Weber does also have an advantage in being the only provider of an online community of its kind and have hereby been able to distinguish from its competitors, which according to Berry (1991) is a key element in order to establish a relationship, c.f. 3.1 Definition and Clarification of Relationship Marketing. Further, when the members of Weber Klubben feel that Weber does offer them something unique and is able to fulfil a stated promise it helps the members to strengthen their loyalty towards Weber Klubben and especially the Weber brand and products. When looking at the activities in Weber Klubben it comes clear that many members have a strong loyalty towards Weber, c.f. 5.2.1 Weber Klubben and the Netnographic Analysis. The members loyalty towards Weber has different origins but common for all is that the members feel a commitment and preference towards the brand, c.f. 3.3 Loyalty. Below, The Relationship marketing Ladder of Customer Loyalty (Appendix 6 The Relationship Marketing Ladder of Customer Loyalty) as presented by Christopher et al. (1991) will be applied to the members of Weber Klubben in order to create a picture of the different kinds of relationships and stages of loyalty the members of Weber Klubben have, it will at the same time be juxtaposed with the different member types that an online community can have as characterised by Kozinets (1999). Several theorists (Pitta et al. 2006; Muniz and OGuinn, 2001 and Fournier and Yao, 1997) state that loyalty and long-term relationships to consumers are vital to a corporation because of the increasing competition, and it is the corporation that is able to provide the best and

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most unique service that in the end will win the consumer. If a corporation has won the loyalty of a consumer the corporation has also gained a valuable messenger as loyal consumers are more likely to spread positive WOM and recommend a favourite product to friends and family. This is exemplified in the interviews with the members of Weber Klubben where both Thomas, Rasmus and Allan (Appendix 17 Member Interviews: Thomas; Rasmus; Allan) mention their family as the main reason for their loyalty to the Weber grills. Looking at Weber and its use of social media and especially the online community Weber Klubben it stands clear that there is a match between the brand of Weber and the online community. Grilling is a social event that is used by many to gather friends and family in a cosy atmosphere, and it would doubtless be less fun if it is done alone. The same goes for online communities. Weber Klubben would be nothing without its members because it also relies on the interactions between members and their sense of having something together (Spaulding, 2010) c.f. 4. 2 The Implementation of Social Media in Corporate Communication. Besides being a good match Weber Klubben is also dependent on a clearly defined purpose and strategy in order to become a success, and as it comes clear in 5.3. Interview with Stig Pedersen Marketing Director at Weber Weber knows exactly what is intended with Weber Klubben and that it takes engagement and the right amount of resources to make Weber Klubben a success. A strategic and economic wise choice is that Weber has chosen to involve members as being responsible in different theme areas16 (Appendix 10 Interview with Stig Pedersen Marketing Director at Weber) so that first of all, the workload is placed outside of Weber and even with an unpaid workforce. Second, as it is members who are responsible and function as senders of the content in the theme areas it is perceived as being more trustworthy by other members because of the sympathetic understanding there is between members, c.f. 4.1 Theoretical Description and Definition of Social Media, further there is no hidden financial agenda behind the post, as it could have been considered if it was Weber who has made the post, c.f. 4.3.1 The Motivation for Members to be Active and Participate in an Online Community. The post is made solely because the volunteers responsible have an interest within the theme area and wants to help other members of the online community. This ensures that Weber Klubben always appears with new and inspiring content which makes sure that the visitors of Weber Klubben, being members or non-members, find the online community interesting and keep
16

Weberklubben.dk has five special theme areas each dedicated to each of its type of grill, being for example WSM or Weber Q. Appendix 18 WSM. Appendix 19 Weber Q

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coming back, c.f. 4.2 The Implementation of Social Media in Corporate Communication. Even though it is not Weber who is the sender of the different post in the theme areas, it is still Weber who will be credited for the benefit and help, which members will get through the posts. Weber makes use of and benefit from the two-way communication and dialogues that Weber Klubben is able to provide. The dialogue that Weber has with the members of Weber Klubben is held in an informal tone of voice where everybody can participate. The tone of voice chosen is important to Weber Klubben as it needs to have the right match with the members of the online community and the consumers of the Weber products. The tone of voice does also ensure that Weber Klubben appears as an online community that visitors want to return to and is open to everybody, c.f. 4.2 The Implementation of Social Media in Corporate Communication. If members of Weber Klubben do not like the tone of voice chosen or if they do not find their needs are fulfilled the exit barriers are so low that the membership is easily rescinded (Wierenga, 2009), c.f. 4.3.1 The Motivation for Members to be Active and Participate in an Online Community. An example hereof comes from Pia (Appendix 17 Members Interviews: Pia) who left another online community because of bad mood and mismanagement caused by an inappropriate tone of voice and found the tone of voice and the atmosphere of Weber Klubben better. Because of the two-way communication that Weber Klubben enables Weber is able to establish and maintain long-term relationships with the end-users of the Weber products with whom Weber normally does not has contact with. The consumer relationships and the consequently dialogue with the members of Weber Klubben gives Weber a strategic advantage and a knowledge to be used in the process of developing and improving the Weber products. Finally, Weber is able to handle unsatisfied members and consumer criticism. A situation can be stopped and dealt with before it escalades and will damage the reputation of Weber. In addition, Weber is because of the success with Weber Klubben also better suited in a process of handling online negative WOM because of the experience gained through the engagement with Weber Klubben, c.f. 4.2 The Implementation of Social Media in Corporate Communication. As it is mentioned above, Weber Klubben is to be characterised as a sanctioned, interest oriented community where the members are gathered around their common interest of grilling and especially their high preference for Weber grills. Weber Klubben has a high level of trust concerning sincerity of information because the communication in Weber Klubben mainly is between members (Kannan

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et al., 2000), c.f. 4.3 Online Communities. Weber Klubben is highly dependent on the activity of its members and it is only through the enthusiasm and loyalty of the members that Weber Klubben appears as the success it is. It is members who can be characterised as insiders (Muniz and OGuinn, 2001) that have the largest impact on the online community. The insiders are the members who spend the most time online and contribute with most participation in blogs and forums. Examples hereof will be elaborated further below regarding the netnographic research of Weber Klubben, c.f. 5.2.1 Weber Klubben and the Netnographic Analysis. The success of Weber Klubben does also have a positive impact on the loyalty that the members have towards the Weber products. Through Weber Klubben grillers from all over Denmark are able to meet and through an event like Weber Camp 201017 bonds between members and between Weber and the end users are strengthened and the members loyalty towards Weber is improved. An event like Weber Camp 2010 is what Muniz and OGuinn (2004), in relation to the members connection to Weber Klubben, characterise as shared rituals and traditions, which helps strengthening the bond between the members but also helps perpetuating the loyalty towards Weber, c.f. 4.3.1 The Motivation for Members to be Active and Participate in an Online Community. Such an event is of high importance to an online community like Weber Klubben and an advantage for Weber to get to know the end users of the Weber grills even better. Normally members of an online community only have contact with each other online, but through an event like Weber Camp the members can create new bonds to other members and improve already existing bonds to other members who they might only have met online. Examples of the impact of for example the Weber Camp are found in the interviews with some of the members (Appendix 17 Member Interviews: Pia; Birthe; Allan) who mention Webers events as having an influence on their loyalty to the Weber products. In addition, the sharing of knowledge and experiences that are taking place in Weber Klubben between members do both benefit the members and Weber. First of all, the members of Weber Klubben are able to increase the use of their grill through inspiration from other members (Appendix 20 Inspiration through Blog Post). This ensures that the members will have better and more experiences with their Weber grills and strengthen their loyalty towards Weber because of the good experience with the online community. Examples hereof are found in all the interviews with the members of Weber Klubben, who all state that inspiration and knowledge sharing with and from
17

Weber Camp is an annual event held by Weber where members of Weber Klubben gather for a weekend and have a cosy time around the grill. (Appendix 21 Weber Camp 2010)

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other members have improved their experiences around their Weber grill. Some of the motivation factors for members to be active in an online community are according to Hennig-Thurau et al. (2004) a concern for others and a search for advise, c.f. 4.3.1 The Motivation for Members to be Active and Participate in an Online Community, which is also the case in Weber Klubben, where all the interviewed members state that they in some way use Weber Klubben to find inspiration, but they also find pleasure in being able to help others (Appendix 17 Member Interviews: Allan). Regarding the benefits that Weber is able to achieve through the knowledge sharing between members is, as it is also stated above, an increasing knowledge about the end-users of the Weber grills and firsthand user feedback on the use of the Weber grills, all to be used in the process of developing and improving feature products. Finally, members of Weber Klubben are also motivated by the opportunity of getting on one of the top-lists which can have an influence on the status that a member is able to achieve within Weber Klubben. The higher a position and the more often a member is listed on one of the top-lists, the higher status it is possible to achieve and hereby strengthen the members position in the implicit hierarchy that undoubtedly is to be found in an online community, c.f. 3.3 Loyalty. An improvement of the status among the other members of Weber Klubben can be gained through superior skills and knowledge and the opportunity of selfenhancement is to some members also a motivation to participate and contribute in Weber Klubben. Further, members with a high status within Weber Klubben are most likely insiders or advocates and can through this position be of benefit to Weber in relation to for example WOM and the acquiring of new members and consumers, c.f. 3.3 Loyalty. Examples of members who are likely to have a high status among the other members of Weber Klubben could be SFJ and PIA (Appendix 22 - Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types: SFJ; PIA) who besides being characterised as insiders, c.f. 5.2.1 Weber Klubben and the Netnographic Analysis, both have a high number of posts and also have achieved respectively 8 and 4 rewards 18 because of their skills and engagement with Weber grills and in Weber Klubben. However, high positions on the top-lists, large number of posts or many rewards do not ensure a member a high status unless other members perceive the member as being worthy of the status, c.f. 4.3 Online Communities.

18

Members of Weber Klubben can receive different rewards and diplomas if they have participated in courses or because they are active within one of the theme areas (Appendix 23 Rewards and Diplomas)

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5.2.1 Weber Klubben and the Netnographic Analysis In order to create a better understanding of the members of Weber Klubben and their motives to be a member of Weber Klubben, a netnographic analysis has been carried out. As part of the research made in relation to this thesis 24 random members of Weber Klubben were chosen and their activities were monitored for 40 days (Appendix 22 - Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types). Further, 5 of the members replied on a number of emailed questions about their use of Weber Klubben and their loyalty towards Weber (Appendix 17 Member Interviews). The findings in the netnographic research will among other things be based on the number of times each member has been online doing the time of monitoring, the number of posts and comments each member has made in the different forums and blogs during the period and the members specification of loyalty towards Weber. None of the interviewed or monitored members are among the voluntary editors of the theme areas. This is the case as the volunteers would have an extremely high activity compared to a normal member qua their engagement in the different theme areas, and would therefore create an uneven picture of a members activity and bond to Weber Klubben. As it is mentioned in 1.5 Delimitation an optimum research would have been carried out over several months and would have included more members in order to create a more precise picture and come up with a more valid result, but because of the limited time scope it has not been possible for this thesis. Further, a longer period of monitoring would also have strengthened the validity of the research. The findings from the research will be used in a netnographic analysis of the members of Weber Klubben in order to create a picture of the effect of Weber Klubben for the members as well as for Weber. The interviews from the netnographic research that have been carried out in relation to this thesis will in the following paragraph be presented in order to get an insight into the incentives that the members of Weber Klubben have to join the online community and the outcome the members achieve by being a member of Weber Klubben, c.f. 4.4 Netnography The Online Analysis. The interviews have included 10 qualitative questions which have been created in order to get a deeper insight into the motivation of being a member of Weber Klubben. First of all, when looking at how the relationship between Weber and the consumers has evolved, an introduction to Webers grills must be considered as being the essential. In the research for this thesis it is a long time use of Weber grills within the family of the members that have triggered the relationship. 3 of the interviewed members mention that their loyalty and recognition to Weber has

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been established because other family members have introduced them to the Weber grills (Appendix 17 Member Interviews: Thomas; Rasmus; Allan). Further, the high quality of the Weber grills is also mentioned together with the good experiences that the members have had by using Weber grills. These factors set high expectations to Weber and its products, and only by fulfilling these expectations a relationship between Weber and the members are possible to be established, c.f. 3.1.Definition and Clarification of Relationship Marketing. In order for the relationship to be enhanced further, kept promises and fulfilled expectations are necessary. An example hereof comes from Thomas who in his interview tells that it gives him even greater experiences with his Weber grill that Weber continuously desires that he as a consumer gets the most out of his Weber grill, which is accomplished through his membership of Weber Klubben (Appendix 17 Member Interviews: Thomas). With the relationship established it is important that it is maintained and that the bond between the corporation and the consumer is strengthened. Fournier and Yao (1997) states that product differentiation is being diminished and therefore loyalty must be based on additional factors, c.f. 3.3 Loyalty. Regarding the interviewed members of Weber Klubben it is through good experiences that the loyalty is kept and enhanced. The knowledge sharing within the online community has for several of the interviewed members helped strengthening their loyalty towards Weber (Appendix 17 Member Interviews: Allan; Hanne; Pia; Birthe). Even though the knowledge sharing is between the members, the credit is still assigned Weber because of the official status of the online community, c.f. 4.3 Online Communities. The perceived value of the product that the consumer has must also be higher than what can be achieved through other products, c.f. 4.3 Online Communities. Through the interviews it did also come clear that the Weber grills are perceived to have a higher quality and value than other similar products. Rasmus states that his loyalty to Weber is based on the use-friendliness of Webers grills compared to other suppliers, and Rasmus statement is supported by Hanne who states that Weber simply is a sovereign product (Appendix 17 Member Interviews: Rasmus; Hanne). In order to create a picture of the different member types represented in Weber Klubben in relation to how they are characterised by Kozinets (1999), the four member types, as seen in Table 2 Member Types of an Online Community, will here be applied to the interviewed and monitored

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members of Weber Klubben. They will further be characterised as either posters or lurkers, c.f. 4.4 Netnography The Online Analysis. First of all, the 24 members are divided into the four different member types (Appendix 22 Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types). The research reveals that 6 of the members can be characterised as insiders. This is based on the number of timers they have signed in during the monitoring and their participation in the forums and blogs (Appendix 22 - Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types: Insiders). Most active are Amazonas (signed in 36 times and made nearly 20 comments in the forum) and SFJ (signed in 32 times and made more than 40 comments in the forum). The last four who have been characterised as insiders have signed in between 19 and 39 times but have no or only few posts in the monitored period (Appendix 22 - Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types: Insiders). They have however before the monitoring shown a high activity in Weber Klubben and have contributed with several posts and comments, some of them with more than 300 forum comments each, and they are therefore characterised as insiders because of their normally high activity. As an opposite of member types, tourists are the most frequently appearing member type. 9 of the members have been characterised as Appendix 22 - Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types: Tourists). Common characteristics for tourists are that they have a low interest in the social as well as the consumption aspects. The 9 tourists that where characterised among the monitored members, where online between 0 and 5 times during the monitoring and none of them made a single post or comment doing the period. Some of the tourists have never made neither a comment nor a post. Tourists are the group which contribute with the least to Weber Klubben, and are the members who Wierenga et al. (2009) also name lurkers, members who only read other members posts without contributing to the online community themselves, or at least only really seldom, c.f. 4.4 Netnography The Online Analysis. Whereas insiders, or posters, are to be found in the core of the member types who are closest to Weber Klubben and Weber and have a strong bond and relationship with both, tourists, or lurkers, are placed in the periphery with less connection and a weaker bond to Weber Klubben. What further strengthens the categorisation as a tourist for the 8 members of Weber Klubben is their profile in Weber Klubben. None of the members have expressed their loyalty in their member profile which is seen done by other members.

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Between insiders and tourists are found devotees and minglers. Devotees are, together with insiders, the ones who contribute with most to Weber Klubben. The members who are characterised as devotees have a strong interest in the Weber grills, but have a weaker social bond to Weber Klubben than for example insider. Devotees are loyal consumers with strong preferences towards Weber and are perceived to be good messengers of positive WOM for Weber. Among the monitored members of Weber Klubben 5 were characterised as devotees (Appendix 22 - Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types: Devotees). The devotees have signed in relatively few times during the monitoring and have a varying number of posts and comments, but the devotees have, as opposite to the minglers, contributed to Weber Klubben. Further, the devotees do, both through their member profile and the interviews for those who have answered, express their loyalty towards Weber. This is for example done by listing the number of grills owned or expressing how Weber grills have contributed to good times for the members. The last and final type of members is minglers. There were characterised 4 minglers among the monitored members of Weber Klubben (Appendix 22 - Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types: Minglers). The minglers have a strong social tie to the online community, which is shown by the relatively high number of times each member has signed in doing the period, between 12 and 40 times, but none of the members have made any posts or comments durng the monitoring and only few posts or comments in general. Normally minglers have a low interest in the consumption but two of the characterised minglers (Appendix 22 - Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types: Minglers: The Kok; Kold) do however state a strong loyalty and preference towards Weber in their profile, but their activity and presence do however place them as minglers. Because of the short period that Weber Klubben has been monitored some of the characterisations can be irregular. This is the case because a member normally can be characterised as an insider but for various reasons has not been active for a period and will therefore appear as for example a devotee or a tourist. An example hereof is Birthe (Appendix 22 - Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types: Devotees: Birthe) who before the period of monitoring had 369 forum comments, 123 blog posts in her own blog and 17 recipes, but had not contributed with any things for the 40 days of monitoring and did only sign in once. A reason hereof can be found in the interview with Birthe (Appendix 17 Member Interviews: Birthe) where she states that despite her

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loyalty towards Weber, she is more active in another online grill community. As a final comment to the characterisation of member types using Kozinets (1999) theory it must be said that social ties and bonds between the members of Weber Klubben can have been made and can exist without this thesis being able to observe them. A longer period of monitoring would of course help erase these irregularities. Looking at the loyalty ladder presented by Christopher et al. (1991) and applying it to the netnographic research of the selected members of Weber Klubben and the result from the use of Kozinets characterisations of member types of online communities. It is possible to create a relative picture of the loyalty from the members of Weber Klubben towards Weber. It will however only be a relative and perceived picture of the level of loyalty as the loyalty ladder is made for consumer loyalty and the research is based on member activity from the online community Weber Klubben. However, it is perceived that the use of the loyalty ladder can work as a standard of reference in order to have a point of departure for the physical stores and market. As it is stated in 4.4 Netnography advocates and insiders can be compared as having the same position regarding loyalty and contribution to Weber. Both advocates and insiders have a strong loyalty and preference towards the specific brand and they are both willing to spread WOM about Weber and Weber Klubben and additionally they will recommend Weber grills and Weber Klubben to friends and family. As it is stated several places in this thesis advocates and insiders can have a huge impact on a corporations success. If Weber is able to retain and enhance the relationships to the advocates and the insiders Weber is in a strong strategically position. In the other end of the scale prospects and tourists can be compared as the ones with the least connection and the weakest bond to Weber and Weber Klubben and the ones least obvious to spread WOM about Weber or Weber Klubben. However, it is within these two categories that a large potential of new consumers can be found, and if the prospects or the tourists first get a glance of the benefit and outcome that others get from being a member of Weber Klubben they are more easily attracted and are more easily lifted to a higher level. In the middle of the ladder and the categorisations are customer, clients, supporters and minglers and devotees who are less obvious to compare. However, minglers are because of their weaker interest in the consumption and hereby a lower loyalty in this thesis compared with customers. Devotees have a stronger commitment and

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loyalty and are therefore compared with supporters. Clients are standing somewhere in between and they are dependent on various factors such as competitive suppliers or influences by for example an insider, which can make a client either a devotee or a mingler. Based on the comparison of the loyalty ladder and the member types of Weber Klubben it can be concluded that it is important for Weber to have an increasing focus on the middle part of the two groups of consumers and members. Because of their present knowledge about the Weber grills it takes fewer resources for Weber to improve the bond and increase the loyalty with a long-term mutual beneficial relationship as the final result. It could also be the influence from other members of Weber Klubben that would have an effect and through WOM is influenced in such a way that the loyalty towards Weber will grow. Additionally, this means that the corporation needs to pay just as much focus to advocates and insiders. Advocates and insiders will if treated in the right way function as an invaluable partner in the process of attracting and retaining prospects and consumers. Further, it takes less resources and lower costs to keep a loyal consumer and retain re-purchases than it does to win a new consumer, c.f. 3.3 Loyalty. Several theorists (Dick and Basu, 1994; Grnroos, 2004; Ndubisi, 2007) mention the importance of WOM communication for corporations. The interviews with the members of Weber Klubben do also reveal that because of their loyalty and the fulfilment of expectations the members are willing to recommend the Weber products and Weber Klubben as an online community to its friends and family. Further, a number of members mention that their loyalty towards Weber has been influenced by recommendations and WOM from their friends or family (Appendix 17 Member Interviews: Pia; Birthe; Thomas), and that their membership of Weber Klubben is based on WOM from other members (Appendix 17 Member Interviews: Pia) An example showing that the categorisation of member types and a comparison of the loyalty ladder and the member types are not always possible is the two members The Kok and Kold who have been characterised as minglers (Appendix 22 - Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types: Mingler: The Kok; Kold). Despite their low contribution in Weber Klubben they do both express high loyalty and preference towards Weber in their member profiles. Therefore they could be categorised as supporters or advocates despite of their low activity in Weber Klubben. An explanation of the difficulty of placing a member in one specific category is that not all find an interest in taking part in an online community like Weber Klubben. This does however not restrict

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the member from being 100 per cent loyal towards Weber and just a good advocate for Weber as a member who has been categorised as an insider.

5.3 Interview with Stig Pedersen Marketing Director at Weber


As part of the research regarding Webers use and engagement with the online community an interview with Webers Marketing Director Stig Pedersen has been made (Appendix 10 Interview with Stig Pedersen Marketing Director at Weber). The interview was carried out in order to get an insight into the aims and purposes that Weber has for the online community and to be able to compare it with the actually execution of the online community. The purpose with Weber Klubben was to create a place where Weber enthusiasts among other things could share ideas, experiences and knowledge and through their common interest for grilling and Weber create a sense of community spirit and belonging. Normally Weber does only have contact to the vendors who sell the Weber products. Through the online community Weber does now have a direct contact with its end-users through which Weber can build direct relationships with the end-user. According to Stig Pedersen, Weber Klubben has provided the loyal end-users with an online community where the members can participate in discussions and further the online community has to a larger extend stimulated consumer-to-consumer help (Appendix 10 Interview with Stig Pedersen Marketing Director at Weber). The presence of consumer-to-consumer help is one of the main assets and of high importance in a successful online community, c.f. 4.3.1 The Motivation for Members to be Active and Participate in an Online Community. Further, the sense of a community spirit and the sense of belonging is also very important not at least for the postmodern consumers, c.f. 2.2 The Postmodern Consumer and 3.3 Loyalty. In terms of numbers Weber had a three year goal which was to have 25.000 members. But, in July 2010, three months before Weber Klubbens three years anniversary the number passed 28.000 members, which makes it the largest online grilling community in Europe (Appendix 9 - Weber Klubben The Largest Grilling Community in Europe). Weberklubben.dk has approximately 1800 unique visitors every day. Each month around 1000 new members sign up to join Weber Klubben and members spend roughly 12 minutes on the online community every time they sign in (Appendix 10 Interview with Stig Pedersen Marketing Director at Weber). Compared with the

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ambition of having 25.000 members within three years it must be concluded that Weber with Weber Klubben has more than fulfilled its ambitions. Looking at the daily number of visiting members and the time they spend within the online community, it must be considered as a satisfying result c.f. 4.3 Online Community, (Safko and Brake, 2009, pp. 103-106). In addition, Stig Pedersen adds that besides the exchange of knowledge with the online communitys members through daily contact, most important of all the online community has provided the members with a place where they can meet and share their knowledge and experiences with each other (Appendix 10 Interview with Stig Pedersen Marketing Director at Weber), which further stress that Weber Klubben is for the members, as it is also stated by Fournier and Lee (2009) in 4.3 Online Community as being an important factor for an online community. When it comes to managing and monitoring the online community, Weber has a clear structure of how the activities on Weber Klubben are handled. First of all, Weber Klubben is monitored daily by a team of employees who as their responsibility are to monitor the activities on Weber Klubben and keep an eye on the posts and the activity that might need the presence or action of Weber. This could for example be a post in the forum which is considered inappropriate for the online community. An example hereof is the above mentioned case in 5.1 Weber Klubben The Official Weber Online Community which can be seen in Appendix 14 Closedown of Blog Post. By delegating the responsibility of the online community to a team among the employees, and not just let the online community be something which is considered inferior work, Weber ensures that Weber Klubben is assigned the resources that are needed in order to keep the content in the online community at an attractive level for the members which will ensure that the members interest is kept, c.f. 4.3 Online Community. Further, most of the content in the online community is user-generated, but Weber Klubben does also have a team of voluntary editors who are in charge of each of their specific theme area, for example Morten and Eddy are editors and responsible for the WSM-Area (Appendix 18 - WSM). By incorporating the members in the managing of the online community Weber makes sure that the distance that could occur between the corporation and the members of an online community is narrowed down. This results in an online community which retains the members, and the incorporation also ensures that the online community gets a less businesslike touch, c.f. 4.3 Online Community. Further, in relation to incorporating members at such a high strategic level Weber does

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also minimise the costs in relation to managing and controlling Weber Klubben. Social media is by many considered as being a free communication channel, but the use of for example an online community does demand a lot of resources and man-hours, costs in this relation are kept on a lower level by delegating the tasks. However, even though Weber Klubben is for the members, the online community still needs to be a rewarding venture. According to Stig Pedersen (Appendix 10 Interview with Stig Pedersen Marketing Director at Weber), the monitoring of Weber Klubben provides Weber with firsthand insights into the consumption of the Weber grills, which Weber would not be able to achieve without the online community. Through the relationships with the members Weber gains valuable knowledge about the products and the ideas and experiences that the end-users make, are invaluable to Weber when new products are to be developed and current products are to be upgraded. In addition, Weber uses its online community to inform about events, new products and other initiatives with an interest for the members. C.f. 4.3.2 The Importance of Active Members to an Online Community, advocates of a product or a brand and insiders of an online community are valuable communicators for a corporation. The advocates and insiders will spread positive WOM about what they find interesting in the online community which results in a message which is more easily accepted by the receiver. Finally, the monitoring of Weber Klubben helps Weber create a picture of who the end-users of the Weber grills are and this helps Weber in its process of creating stronger relations to the end-users. Despite the huge success for Weber Klubben, Weber has never marketed Weber Klubben. The recognition of the online community is spread through recommendations and WOM from members of Weber Klubben. This is further stressed when reviewing the interviews with the members of Weber Klubben (Appendix 17 Member Interviews). Further, the success with the online community has made its influence on Weber. Via Weber Klubben, Weber has been able to create long-term relationships with the end-users of the Weber products and at the same time provide the loyal consumers with an online community where they can share knowledge and experiences with each other. This has given Weber access to a lot of valuable knowledge and incredible feedback, positive as well as negative, because the use of social media has made it easier and faster to communicate with the end-users. Finally, the use of the online community has provided the Weber product with a more common touch among grill enthusiasts, because Weber through the social

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media is able to engage in more effective one-to-one dialogues with the end-users instead of a more diffuse one-to-many communication which is normally reached with traditional mass media. Thus, Weber is communicating with its consumers and not to them (Appendix 10 Interview with Stig Pedersen Marketing Director at Weber), which stresses the point from 4.2 The Implementation of Social Media in Corporate Communication where Carter (2009) states the exact same, that social media is a matter of communicating with the consumers and not to them (Carter, 2009, p. 19).

5.4 Part Conclusion


The case study on Weber Klubben has shown how Weber uses the online community to create relationships with the end-users of the Weber products and how Weber benefits hereof. Weber has through the online community been able to create a network where loyal consumers are able to interact and share knowledge and experiences about grilling and the use of Weber products. Weber Klubben has been able to influence the loyalty of its members and made Weber consumers more loyal and through a strengthened bond enhanced the relationship between the consumer and Weber. The benefits that Weber earns through Weber Klubben are essential and invaluable to a corporation and have provided Weber with exclusive knowledge about the use of the Weber grills that would not have been able to get without Weber Klubben. Weber uses the knowledge from Weber Klubben in the process of product development based on consumer feedback and an increasing knowledge about who the end-users really are. When juxtaposing the theoretical framework and Weber Klubben, it must be concluded that Webers engagement with the online community is to be considered as well managed. It comes clear that Weber from the beginning has been aware of the purpose and aim with Weber Klubben and the strategy applied for the online community has shown to be effective. Weber has managed to keep Weber Klubben informal so that everybody feels welcome in the online community. Further, Weber has been able to implement a structure that ensures that Weber Klubben always is interesting and inspiring to visit through the incorporation of voluntary editors. Through the netnographic analysis it comes clear that the members of Weber Klubben feel pleased with their membership of Weber Klubben, and because of the online community the members have

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been able to get new inspiration that has helped them improve the use of their Weber grills. The netnographic analysis further reveals that the positive impact of Weber Klubben for several members has strengthened their loyalty and relationship towards Weber, and that these impacts also have turned the members into valuable advocates for the Weber products.

6. Conclusion
This final paragraph serves the purpose of gathering the knowledge from the previous paragraphs with the aim of concluding the thesis in order to answer the problem statement as presented in the introduction. First of all, the paragraph on postmodernity reveals that todays consumers are perceived to be fragmented, chaotic and ambiguous in their lifestyle caused by a desire to meet several different identities. The number of identities has among other things been influenced by the technological development which, through the Internet, has provided the consumer with access to whatever information wanted. This has given the consumer infinite opportunities when for example shopping for different products or services and the demands to corporations are hereby increasing as more and more corporations compete for the consumers money. The increasing demands towards the corporations have made it necessary to change the market-centric approach to an approach where it is the consumer who is in focus. This has lead to a change in the marketing paradigm, where among others Lauterborn (1990) argues for a change in the perspective. The consumer-centric approach means that corporations need to pay more attention to long-term relationships with the consumers, also because product differentiation has become a less competitive advantage. The consumers of the 21st century have an increasing focus on the more intangible and implicit features of a brand or product and corporations do therefore need to provide such features in order to retain the consumer. The long-term consumer relationships help the corporation to ensure that bonds and loyalty are created and enhanced between the corporations brand or product and the consumer. Such relationships can provide the corporation with invaluable knowledge and feedback from its consumers which will place them stronger in the increasing competition. Through the years communication has changed as well which has provided the consumer with numerous new ways of communicating. One of the largest sources of influence is the entry of social media and online communities which has provided the consumers with opportunities to interact and Page 78 of 179

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communicate with whoever whenever. The development within technology and communication means that the consumer today is flooded with marketing messages and advertising 24-7. Therefore corporations need to be more specific and precise in their process of reaching the consumer. By implementing social media a corporation will be able to communicate with the consumers where the consumers are. Implementing social media does also provide the corporation with the opportunity of getting into dialogue with the consumers, instead of just relying on the traditional one-way communication. Besides the postmodern consumers need for multiple identities the consumers do also have a need to share and interact with likeminded. Through an online community it is possible for a consumer to interact with others who share the same passion and enthusiasm towards a product, brand or an area of interest. The sharing of knowledge and experiences helps the consumer to strengthen the bond and loyalty towards the specific area and the arisen relationship will eventually benefit both the consumer and the corporation. Through an online community a corporation is able to provide its consumers with additional offers that go beyond the expected from a purchase. A corporation can via an online community retain its consumers because of the bond that consumers create with each other. Through an online community consumers will strengthen their loyalty because the sharing of knowledge and experiences are credited to the corporation. The case study, including Weber Klubben that has been completed in connection to this thesis provides several examples on why social media and especially online communities are appropriate when communicating with the postmodern consumer, and how a corporation can use an online community in the process of retaining consumers in long-term relationships. First of all, social media if obviously an appropriate communication channel because of the increasing use of social media by the consumers. The easiest way to communicate with the consumers is to go where the consumers are, and in this case most are found through social media. The rising number of members on Weber Klubben is a strong indicator of the potential that an online community has when reaching a large and specific audience. Further, it is easy for a corporation to go into dialogues with its consumers and hereby increase the knowledge about the end-users.

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Regarding the process of retaining consumers in long-term relationships Weber Klubben is used as an ever renewing source of inspiration to its members and the opportunity of sharing knowledge and experiences with other like minded help the members to strengthen their loyalty and bond to Weber. Through the netnographic analysis of Weber Klubben it comes clear that because the members are able to get new inspiration they are retained in their relationship with Weber which would not have been possible without the online community. Whether Weber Klubben has been a successful venture to Weber or not can be difficult to determine according to what parameters it is based on. However, this thesis takes the stance, that in the short run, an online community does not necessarily have to generate profit, it is a long-term investment, just as it is the case with a consumer relationship. The success of an online community is to be measured on the number of members, the activity in the various forums and blogs and an overall perception of satisfaction and loyalty from the members. With this in mind, it is concluded that Weber Klubben has been and still is a success, providing its members with good experiences and the other way around providing Weber with additional and invaluable knowledge about its consumers. All in all, the theoretical examination and the case study carried out in relation to this thesis contribute with the necessary knowledge in order to confirm the hypothesis and answer the research question as it is presented in the introduction. The use of social media and especially online communities has increased rapidly and are to a larger extent used by corporations in order to retain their consumers in long-term relationships. Further, online communities can be used by corporations as a direct communication channel to a very specific and precise audience in the process of retaining the postmodern consumers in long-term relationships. This is done through constant dialogue and two-way communication which first of all increase the loyalty and bond from the consumer towards the corporation, and secondly provides the corporation with feedback and knowledge about the end-users to be used in the constant process of obtaining ever better products and provide the consumers with extra and lucrative features that retain the consumers as loyal consumers in long-term relationships. Meaning that a corporation can use an online community to offer additional features to its consumers and hereby ensure an increasing use of the corporations product to the pleasure of the consumer.

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Books and Articles Ahonen and Moore (2005): Communities Dominate Brands Business and Marketing Challenges for the 21st Century. Futuretext Limited Barnes and Howlett (1998): Predictors of equity in relationships between financial services providers and retail customers. International Journal of Bank Marketing, 1998, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 15-23 Baudrillard, J. (1983): Simulations. New York: Semiotext(e). Bauman, Zygmunt (1992): Intimations of Postmodernity. Routledge Berger, Peter and Luckmann, Thomas (1991): The Social Construction of Reality - A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Penguin Books Berry, Leonard L. et al. (1983): Relationship Marketing, in Emerging Perspectives on Service Marketing. American Marketing Association Berry, Leonard. L and Parasuraman, A. (1991): Marketing Services - Competing Through Quality. Free Press Blackwell, Roger D., Miniard, Paul W. and Engel, James F. (2006): Consumer Behavior. Thomson South-Western. Bouchet, Dominique (1994): Rails Without Ties - The social imaginary and postmodern culture. Can postmodern consumption replace modern questioning? International Journal of Research in Marketing, 1994, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 405-422 Brown, S. (2006): Recycling Postmodern Marketing. The Marketing Review, 2006, Vol. 6, pp. 211-230 Burr, Vivien (2001): Chapter 1: What is social constructionism? In: An introduction to social constructionism. pp. 1-38. Routledge Carter, Meg (2009): Brands and Twitter: Joining the chatter. New Media Age. February 19th 2009, p. 19 Comm, Joel (2009): Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time. Wiley. Cova, Bernard (1996): What postmodernism means to marketing managers. European Management Journal, 1996, Vol. 14, No. 5, pp. 494-499 Page 81 of 179

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Christopher, M., Payne, A. and Ballantyne, D. (1991): Relationship Marketing Bringing quality, Customer Service, and Marketing Together. Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd. Cridge, Mark (2009): As Media Evolve, so do the Ways of Using Them. New Media Age. March 5th 2009, p. 5 Daymon and Holloway (2002): Qualitative Research Methods in Public Relations and Marketing Communications. Routledge Dick, Alan S. and Basu, Kunal (1994): Customer Loyalty: Toward an Integrated Conceptual Framework. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 99-113 Egan, John (2008): Relationship Marketing Exploring Relational Strategies in Marketing. Pearson Education Limited Firat, A. F. and Shultz, II C. J. (1997): From segmentation to fragmentation: Markets and marketing strategy in the postmodern era. European Journal of Marketing, MCB University Press, 1997, Vol. 31 No. 3-4, pp. 183-207

Firat, A. F. and Venkatesh, A. (1995): Liberatory Postmodernism and the Reenchantment of Consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, 1995, Vol. 22, pp 239-267 Fournier and Lee (2009): Getting Brand Communities Right. Harvard Business Review. Vol. 87, No. 4, pp. 105-111 Fournier and Yao (1997): Reviving Brand Loyalty - A Reconceptualisation Within the Framework of Consumer-Brand Relationship. International Journal of Research in Marketing, Vol. 14, No. 5, pp. 451-472

Friedman, Thomas L. (2005): World Without Walls. CIO Insight, March 2005, pp. 42-50 Friedman, Thomas L. (2006): The World is Flat. Penguin Books. Gaurav, Kunal (2006): Impact of Relationship Marketing Strategy on Customer Loyalty. Journal of Management Research, Vol. 8, No. 11, pp. 7-21 Gergen, K. J. (1985): The Social Constructionist Movement in Modern Psychology. American Psychologist, Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 266-275 Gray, Robert (2006): Wake up to Digital Danger. Marketing, 6th of December 2006, ISSN 00253650, p. 38 Groom, S. Alyssa (2008): Integrated marketing Communication Anticipating the Age of Engage. Communication Research Trends, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 3-19

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Grnroos, Christian (1978a): A Service-Oriented Approach to Marketing of Services. European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 12, No. 8, pp. 588-601 Grnroos, Christian (1978b): The Nature of Service Marketing. Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Working Papers Grnroos, Christian (1982): Strategic Management and Marketing in the Service Sector. Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Research Reports Grnroos, Christian (1989): Defining Marketing: A Market-Oriented Approach. European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 23, pp. 5260 Grnroos, Christian (1990): Relationship Approach to Marketing in Service Contexts: The Marketing and Organizational Behavior Interface. Journal of Business Research, Vol. 20, pp. 3-11

Grnroos, Christian (1993): From Marketing Mix to Relationship Marketing: Towards a Paradigm Shift in Marketing. Management Decision, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 4-20 Grnroos, Christian (1994a): Quo Vadis, Marketing? Toward a Relationship Marketing Paradigm. Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 10, No. 5, pp. 347-360 Grnroos, Christian (1994b): From Marketing Mix to Relationship Marketing: Towards a Paradigm Shift in Marketing. Management Decision, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 4-20 Grnroos, Christian (1997): Value-Driven Relational Marketing: From Products to Resources and Competencies. Journal of Marketing Management 13, pp. 407419. Grnroos, Christian (2004): The Relationship Marketing Process: Communication, Interaction, Dialogue, Value. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 99-113

Grnroos, Christian (2007): In Search of a New Logic for Marketing - Foundations of Contemporary Theory. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd Guba, Egon G.(1990): The Paradigm Dialog. Saga Publications Gummesson, E. (1985): Applying service concepts in the industrial sector--towards a new concept of marketing, in C. Grnroos and E. Gummesson (Eds.): Service Marketing - Nordic School Perspectives. Research Report, No. R 1985:2, University of Stockholm, Department of Business Administration.

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Helm, Sabrina (2000): Viral Marketing Establishing Customer Relationships by Word-ofmouse. Electronic Markets, Vol. 10, No. 3, Routledge Hennig-Thurau, T., Gwinner, K.P., Walsh, G. And Gremler, D.D. (2004): Electronic wordof-mouth via consumer-opinion platforms: what motivates consumers to articulate themselves on the internet? Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 38-52.

Hill, N., Roche, G. and Allen, R. (2007): Customer Satisfaction the customer experience through the customers eyes. Cogent Publishing Jackson, Barbara B. (1985): Build Customer Relationships That Last. Harvard Business Review, November December, 1985, pp. 120-128 Kannan, P. K., Chang, Ai-Mei and Whinston, Andrew B. (2000): Electronic Communities in E-Business: Their Role and Issues. Information Systems Frontiers, Vol. 1, Iss. 4, pp. 415-426. Kotler (1992): Its Time for Total Marketing. Business Week ADVANCE Executive Brief, 1992, Vol. 2, pp.1. Kotler et al. (2002): Principles of Marketing. Prentice Hall Kotler, P. and Keller, K. L. (2006): Marketing Management. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc. Kozinets, Robert V. (1999): E-Tribalized Marketing?: The Strategic Implications of Virtual Communities of Consumption. European Management Journal, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp. 252-264 Kozinets, Robert V. (2002): The Field Behind the Screen: Using Netnography for Marketing Research in Online Communities. Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 61-72 Lauterborn (1990): New marketing litany - 4 Ps pass, C-words take over. Advertising Age, 1990, Vol. 61, iss. 41, pp. 26 Lyotard, Jean Franois (1984): The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge. University of Minnesota Press Marketing News (1985): AMA Board Approves New Marketing Definition. March 1985, Vol. 19, No. 5, p. 1 McAlexander, James H., Schouten, John W. and Koenig, Harold F. (2002): Building Brand Community. Journal of Marketing Vol. 66, No. 1, pp. 38-54 McEleny, Charlotte (2009): Joining in the social revolution. New Media Age. February 26th, p. 34

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Muniz, Albert M. Jr. and O'Guinn, Thomas C. (2001): Brand Community. Journal of Consumer Research. Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 412-432

Ndubisi, Nelson O. (2007): Relationship marketing and customer loyalty. Marketing


Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 98-106 Newson, Alex (2008): Blogging and other social media Exploring the Technology and Protecting the Enterprise. Gower Publishing Limited Nelson, M.R. and Otnes, C.C. (2005): Exploring cross-cultural ambivalence: a netnography of intercultural wedding message boards. Journal of Business Research , Vol. 58, No. 1, pp. 8995.

Oliver, Richard L. (1997): Satisfaction A behavioral perspective on the consumer. Irwin McGaw-Hill Oliver, Richard L. (1999): Whence Consumer Loyalty? Journal of Marketing, Vol. 63 (Special Issue 1999), pp. 33-44 Parsons, Elizabeth and Maclaran, Pauline (2009): Contemporary Issues in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour Paterson, Lorraine (2009): Online customer communities: Perspectives from customers and companies. Business Information Review, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 44-50 Payne, Adrian (1994): Relationship Marketing - Making the Customer Count. Managing Service Quality, Vol. 4, No. 6, pp. 29-31 Pickton, David and Broderick, Amanda (2005): Integrated Marketing Communication. Pearson Education Limited Pitta, Dennis, Franzak, Frank and Fowler, Danielle (2006): A strategic approach to building online customer loyalty: integrating customer profitability tiers. Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 23, No. 7, pp. 421429

Read, Brendan (2010): The CRM Evolution. Customer Inter@ction Solutions, Vol. 28, No. 8, pp. 12-15 Safko, Lon Brake, David (2009): The Social Media Bible. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009 Sandlin, Jennifer A. (2007): Netnography as a consumer education research tool. International Journal of Consumer Studies, Vol. 31, pp. 288294

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Schultz, Don E. And Kitchen, Philip J. (2000): Communication Globally An integrated marketing approach. MacMillan Press Ltd. Sheth, Jagdish N. and Parvatiyar, Atul (1995): The Evolution of Relationship Marketing. International Business Review, 1995, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 397-418 Sheth, Jagdish N. and Sisodia, Rajendra S. (2006): Does Marketing Need Reform? M.E. Sharpe Inc. Spaulding, Trent J. (2009): How can virtual communities create value for business? Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 3849 Wierenga, Berend, de Valck, Kristine and van Bruggen, Gerrit H. (2009): Virtual communities: A marketing perspective. Decision Support Systems, Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 185 203

Too, Leanne H. Y., Souchon, Anne L. and Thirkell, Peter C. (2001): Relationship Marketing and Customer Loyalty in a Retail Setting: A Dyadic Exploration. Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 17, pp. 287-319

Websites http://www.egs.edu/faculty/jean-francois-lyotard/biography/ http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?timeline http://www.jrconsumers.com/authors/a._fuat_firat http://rlauterborn.com http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1569514,00.html http://sncr.org/2008/04/22/new-study-indicates-consumers-use-social-media-to-sharecustomer-care-experiences-and-research-companies%E2%80%99-customer-servicereputations/ http://www.weberklubben.dk

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Appendix 1 Facebook: Company Timeline


Facebook Company Timeline 2010 August Facebook launches Places July Facebook reaches over 500 million active users July Facebook launches beta of Questions February Facebook reaches over 400 million active users 2009 December Facebook reaches over 350 million active users September Facebook reaches over 300 million active users August Facebook acquires FriendFeed July Facebook reaches over 250 million active users June Facebook launches Facebook Usernames May Digital Sky Technologies makes a $200 million investment for preferred stock at a $10 billion valuation April Facebook reaches over 200 million active users February Facebook reaches over 175 million active users

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Facebook joins OpenID board Like feature added January Facebook reaches over 150 million active users CNN Live/Facebook integration 2008 December Facebook Connect becomes generally available August Facebook reaches over 100 million active users April Facebook launches Facebook Chat Facebook releases Translation application to 21 additional languages March Facebook updates privacy controls to include Friend List privacy Facebook launches in German February Facebook launches in Spanish and French January Facebook co-sponsors Presidential Debates with ABC New 2007 November Facebook launches Facebook Ads October Facebook reaches over 50 million active users Facebook launches Facebook Platform for Mobile Facebook and Microsoft expand advertising deal to cover international markets; Microsoft takes a $240 million equity stake in Facebook July Facebook acquires startup Parakey May Facebook launches Marketplace application for classified listings

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Facebook hosts F8 event to launch Facebook Platform Facebook Platform launches with 65 developer partners and over 85 applications April Facebook reaches 20 million active users Facebook updates site design and adds network portals March Facebook reaches over 2 million active Canadian users and 1 million active UK users February Virtual gift shop launches as a feature 2006 December Facebook reaches more than 12 million active users November Share feature added on Facebook, simultaneously launched on over 20 partner sites September News Feed and Mini-Feed are introduced with additional privacy controls Facebook expands registration so anyone can join August Facebook development platform launches Notes application is introduced Facebook and Microsoft form strategic relationship for banner ad syndication May Facebook expands to add work networks April Facebook raises $27.5 million from Greylock Partners, Meritech Capital Partners and others Facebook Mobile feature launches 2005 December Facebook reaches more than 5.5 million active users October Photos is added as an application Facebook begins to add international school networks

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September Facebook expands to add high school networks August The company officially changes its name to Facebook from thefacebook.com May Facebook raises $12.7 million in venture capital from Accel Partners; Facebook grows to support more than 800 college networks 2004 December Facebook reaches nearly 1 million active users September Groups application is added; the Wall is added as a Profile feature June Facebook moves its base of operations to Palo Alto, Calif. March Facebook expands from Harvard to Stanford, Columbia and Yale February Mark Zuckerberg and co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin launch Facebook from their Harvard dorm room http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?timeline

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Appendix 2 - Postmodern Conditions and Their Main Themes


Postmodern Conditions and Their Main Themes Hyperreality Reality as part of symbolic world and constructed rather than given Signifier/signified (structure) replaced by the notion of endless signifiers The emergence of symbolic and the spectacle as the basis of reality The idea that marketing is constantly involved in the creation of more real than real The blurring of the distinction between real and nonreal

Fragmentation Consumption experiences are multiple, disjointed Human subject has a divided self Terms such as authenticself and centred connections are questionable Lack of commitment to any (central) theme Abandonment of history, origin, and context Marketing is an activity that fragments consumption signs and environments and reconfigures them through style and fashion Fragmentation as the basis for the creation of body culture

Reversal of production and consumption Postmodernism is basically a culture of consumption, while modernism represents a culture of production Abandonment of the notion that production creates value while consumption destroys it Sign value replaces exchange value as the basis of consumption

Consumer paradox: consumers are active producers of symbols and signs of consumption, as marketers are Consumers are also objects in the marketing process, while products become active agents

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Decentred subject The following modernist notions of the subject are called into question: Human subject as a self-knowing, independent agent Human subject as a cognitive subject Human subject as a unified subject

Postmodernist notions of human subject: Human subject is historically and culturally constructed Language, not cognition, is the basis for subjectivity Instead of a cognitive subject, we have a communicative subject Authentic self is displaced by made-up self Rejection of modernist subject as a male subject

Juxtaposition of opposites Pastiche as the underlying principle of juxtaposition Consumption experiences are not meant to reconcile differences and paradoxes but to allow them to exist freely Acknowledges that fragmentation, rather than unification, is the basis of consumption

Firat and Venkatesh, 1995, p. 252 (Firat, A. Fuat and Venkatesh, Alladi (1995): Liberatory Postmodernism and the Reenchantment of Consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, 1995, Vol. 22, pp 239-26)

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Appendix 3 Communication Flow in the Manufacturer-Driven Marketplace

Communication Flow in the Manufacturer-Driven Marketplace

Schultz, Don E. and Kitchen, Philip J. (2000): Communication Globally An Integrated Marketing Approach. Macmillan Press Ltd, p. 9

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Appendix 4 -Communication Flow in the Distribution-Driven Marketing System

Communication Flow in the Distribution-Driven Marketing System

Schultz, Don E. and Kitchen, Philip J. (2000): Communication Globally An Integrated Marketing Approach. Macmillan Press Ltd, p. 13

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Appendix 5- Communication Flow in the Interactive Marketplace

Communication Flow in the Interactive Marketplace

Schultz, Don E. and Kitchen, Philip J. (2000): Communication Globally An Integrated Marketing Approach. Macmillan Press Ltd, p. 17

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Appendix 6 The Relationship Marketing Ladder of Customer Loyalty

Advocate

Develop and enhance Supporter consumer relationships

Client

Customer Attract prospects and gain new consumers Prospects Payne: The Relationship Marketing Ladder of Customer Loyalty (1994, pp. 29-30) Payne, Adrian (1994): Relationship Marketing - Making the Customer Count. Managing Service Quality, Vol. 4, No. 6, pp. 29-31

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Appendix 7 Brsen TV

Corporations are Groping in the Dark Using Social Media - Brsen TV 16th of June 2010 http://borsentv.dk/it.html?clipid=8128 03:30 04:10 - A media is a phone or a blog or a micro-blog, where Facebook is a service that contains both pictures, short messages, links and so on. It is a social service that contains several different media. But, there is a tendency to call it social media as an overall term, and it covers the medium, the service and the technology. But what characterises social media, what is it? A medium is the overall service, meaning a blog is a medium, a phone is a medium, a video camera is a medium, a picture is a medium, whereas a service contains several different media. 05:35- 06:23 - What is important if a corporation wants to use social media? It is important to see it as a strategic tool, because what we have seen a tendency to is that it is thought at as being frivolous. So it is a webmaster or another who gets to play with or work a little, or a student worker. One does not see that this is an incredible important element to get in dialogue and listen to the market is saying. So the most important is that, just like one would use the internet, as when the Internet was taken in use for the first time, it is important to see have can this be used strategically. Can it be used to recruiting, can it be used to innovation, can it be used to improve service and support, because the corporation is where its consumers are. The consumers do not have to go to corporate websites as they often do not want to. But, the corporation is where the consumers are, listen to those who have a problem and then pick up proactively.

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Appendix 8 - Politikken

The Bank Reads Your Complains on the Internet Politikken, 29th of June, 2010. Front page More and more companies interfere in consumer discussion online and on Facebook to curb criticism. A growing number of corporations are monitoring social media like Twitter and Facebook to interfere in the debates about their products and services. Among others Arla Foods, Danske Bank and eBay are systematically commentating criticism and provides guidance on social media and discussion forums. "Customer satisfaction plays an incredibly important role and therefore it simply cannot wait for people to call and complain. Social media is not a dinner party with four people, there are thousands present, "said Jacob Aqraou, CEO of eBay Classified Group, which operates dba.dk and bilbasen.dk. Both among experts and social media it has been detected that more companies push their employees into the digital dialogues. At Mybankers forum users discus money matters, and banks intervene ever more frequently, says partner John Norden: "The Forum is very important for a lot of people, and therefore it will also be monitored by the banks. They monitor, because it is not nice to be hung out and I would then also only recommend them to do so to qualify the debate and resolve problems, "said John North from Mybanker. He has seen that firms have published themselves as individuals to promote their cause. He would strongly warn against this. And then corporations should keep away advertising from the debates and avoid to interfere unduly much, says John North. Anette Agerdal-Hjermind from Aarhus School of Business researches in companies' use of blogs. She expects that the industry will interfere increasingly in the debate on social media. "In contract to a criticism standing unchallenged, corporations now have the possibility to participate and make their version aware. In the press it can be hard to get ones voice heard, but in the social media corporations can give the matter a turn and get nuanced the debate, "said Anette Agerdal-HjerMind. The corporations acknowledge that the monitoring is also about to curb bad cases: "The previous paradigm was that we first heard a criticism when a journalist got hold of a case. Now we can get an early insight into what is important to users of our products, "says Sanne Vinther, responsible for social media in Arla Foods.

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More and more corporations are joining the consumers discussion online and on Facebook to curb criticism Politikken, June 29th 2010, p. 11 The Support Division is no longer the one to call to get answers. A growing number of corporations are pushing their employees among the critical consumers of the social media.

If you are dissatisfied with a corporation, it may be more effective to express your outrage on the web than to wait in the telephone queue. More and more corporations buy technical tools to monitor what is written about them on for example Twitter, Facebook and various discussion forums. Then they send an employee into the digital debates to provide the corporations view on the situation. For instance, Gitte J. wrote a critical post about Danske Bank in the Discussion Forum on Mybanker.dk. She went two years ago in the bank with a receipt check, because she would check whether it was genuine. The check turned out to be false, and then two officers turned up at her doorstep and accused her term for forgery. "At no time two years ago the sweet lady from Danske Bank gave me any impression that I would be accused of anything, but that they would gladly help to get it cleared up," wrote J. Gitte at the Forum in January. Besides a number of letters from private debaters Danish Bank intervenes a day later: "I've read your post, and it sounds like a mysterious process, which we of course would look at right away," wrote Jonas Torp, who presents himself as a Customer Satisfaction Manager. Danske Bank goes into the case, which two weeks later ends to dismiss: "Wednesday I got a message from him (Jonas Torp, ed.) Reported that they were now in dialogue with the police. Thursday I got a letter from the police that the charge is withdrawn. So am very happy and relieved, "writes Gitte J.

Daily reports on the debates At Danske Bank customer satisfaction chief Jonas Torp explains that they are subscribeed to a service that several times a day reports on everything that is written about then in social media. Danske Bank has two men hired to assess whether the bank should react to the debate. "Initially we were worried about whether people felt watched. But all those that we have been in contact with have been extremely positive. Customers want to be taken seriously when they have problems,"

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says Jonas Torp. He explains further that the bank parallel attempts to get an overview of trends in the critical input. It's all in all to increase customer satisfaction and have slowed bad cases early, he says: "This is the same philosophy around common complaints. A major analysis shows that an articulated complaint leads to 1,300 people hear about the case. So when a discontent is aired, it has a harmful effect, and we obviously do something about, "explains Jonas Torp. These thoughts are also behind a similar effort from eBay Denmark, which has 10 employees to provide service and intervene in debates on social media. "It may be a problem if companies try to stifle debate, but we do not. We try to help and give good advice. Someone has a bad experience, that they must be allowed to share with others. But mostly people just want solutions to the problems they have, "said Jacob Aqraou, CEO of eBay Classified Group, which operates Den Bl Avis and Bilbasen.dk. And users of social media might as well get used to the commercial interests of the reader and interfere in the debates. This is how it sounds from Trine-Maria Kristensen, partner and consultant in Social Square, which advises companies on using social media. "You should be aware that when you write something online, it corresponds to placing a letter in Politiken. When people excite themselves against a company it can quickly be found via Google. If the criticism is unchallenged, it leaves the impression that the firm is indifferent to its customers. Therefore it is a good idea to participate and throw facts into the debate, "says Trine-Maria Kristensen. Companies must, however, not to meddle in all debates. And the way they choose to communicate, must also be chosen with care. For example, some large U.S. companies had the bitter experience of getting lawyers to articulate contribution to the debate, she explains: "Companies that are hiding behind lawyers are not taken seriously by users who simply feel intimidated and monitored. If you send Maja from Arla into the field, you will be rewarded, it limits the worst anger when users find out that it is people and not just a brand, they scolds at ".

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Banken lser med nr du brokker dig p nettet Politikken 29. juni 2010, forsiden Stadig flere virksomheder blander sig i forbrugernes debat p nettet og Facebook for at bremse kritik. Er stigende antal firmaer overvger sociale medier som Twitter og Facebook for at blande sig i debatter om deres produkter og service. Blandt andre Arla Foods, Danske Bank og eBay kommenterer systematisk kritik og giver vejledning p sociale medier og debatfora. Kundetilfredshed spiller en utrolig stor rolle, og derfor kan man ikke bare vente p, at folk ringer og brokker sig. De sociale medier er ikke som et middagsselskab med fire personer; der er tusinder til stede, siger Jacob Aqraou, administrerende direktr i eBay Classified Group, som driver dba.dk og bilbasen.dk. Bde blandt eksperter og p de sociale medier har man registreret, at flere firmaer skubber deres ansatte ud i de digitale dialoger. I Mybankers debatforum diskuterer brugerne pengesager, og bankerne blander sig stadig oftere, fortller partner John Norden: Forummet har stor betydning for en masse mennesker, og derfor bliver det ogs overvget af bankerne. De flger med, fordi det ikke er rart at blive hngt ud, og jeg vil da ogs kun anbefale dem at gre det for at kvalificere debatten og lse problemer , siger John Norden fra Mybanker. Han har oplevet, at firmaer har udgivet sig for at vre privatpersoner for at fremme deres sag. Det vil han p det kraftigste advare imod. Og s skal virksomheder holde reklamefremstd langt vk fra debatterne og undg at blande sig undigt meget, siger John Norden. Anette Agerdal-Hjermind fra Handelshjskolen i rhus forsker i firmaers brug af blogs. Hun forventer, at erhvervslivet vil blande sig stadig mere i debatten p de sociale medier. I modstning til at en kritik skal st uimodsagt, har virksomheder nu muligheden for at vre med og give deres version til kende. I pressen kan det vre svrt at f sin stemme hrt, men p de sociale medier kan firmaer give sagen en drejning og f debatten nuanceret, siger Anette Agerdal-Hjermind. Firmaerne medgiver, at overvgningen ogs handler om at bremse drlige sager: Det tidligere paradigme var, at vi frst hrte en kritik, nr en journalist fik fat p en sag. Nu kan vi f et tidligt indblik i, hvad der er vigtigt for brugerne af vore produkter, siger Sanne Vinther, ansvarlig for sociale medier i Arla Foods.

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Stadig flere virksomheder blander sig i forbrugernes debat p nettet og Facebook for at bremse kritik Politikken 29 juni 2010, side 11 Supportafdelingen er ikke lngere nogen, man skal ringe til for at f svar. Et stigende antal virksomheder skubber deres ansatte ud blandt de kritiske forbrugere p de sociale medier. Hvis du er utilfreds med en virksomhed, kan det vre mere effektivt at udtrykke din harme p nettet end at vente i telefonken. Stadig flere virksomheder kber tekniske vrktjer til at overvge, hvad der skrives om dem p eksempelvis Twitter, Facebook og diverse debatfora. Derp sender de en medarbejder ud i de digitale debatter for at give firmaets syn p sagen. For eksempel har Gitte J. skrevet et kritisk indlg om Danske Bank i debatforummet p Mybanker.dk. Hun gik for to r siden i banken med en modtaget check, fordi hun ville tjekke, om den var gte. Checken viste sig at vre falsk, og s troppede to betjente s op p hendes drtrskel og sigtede hende for dokumentfalsk. P intet tidspunkt for to r siden gav den sde dame fra Danske Bank mig indtryk af, at jeg ville blive anklaget for noget, men at de gladelig ville hjlpe med at f det opklaret, skrev Gitte J. p debatforummet i januar. Foruden en rkke henvendelser fra private debattrer blander Danske Bank sig et dgn senere: Jeg har lst dit indlg, og det lyder som et mystisk forlb, som vi selvflgelig vil kigge nrmere p med det samme, skriver Jonas Torp, der prsenterer sig som kundetilfredshedschef. Danske Bank gr ind i sagen, der to uger senere ender med tiltalefrafald: Onsdag fik jeg besked fra ham (Jonas Torp, red.), at de nu var i dialog med politiet. Torsdag fik jeg s brev fra politiet om, at sigtelsen er frafaldet. S er meget glad og lettet, skriver Gitte J. Daglige rapporter om debatter I Danske Bank forklarer kundetilfredshedschef Jonas Torp, at man abonnerer p en tjeneste, der flere gange dagligt rapporterer om alt, hvad der skrives om selskabet p de sociale medier. Danske Bank har to mand ansat til at vurdere, om banken br reagere p debatten. Til at begynde med var vi bekymrede for, om folk flte sig overvget. Men alle dem, vi har vret i kontakt med, har vret meget positive. Kunderne vil gerne tages alvorligt, nr de har problemer, siger Jonas Torp. Han forklarer videre, at banken sidelbende forsger at f overblik over tendenser i de kritiske indspark. Det handler alt i alt om at ge kundetilfredsheden og f bremset drlige sager tidligt, siger han: Det

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er den samme filosofi omkring almindelige klager. En strre analyse viser, at en artikuleret klage medfrer, at 1.300 mennesker hrer om sagen. S nr en utilfredshed bliver luftet, har det en skadelig effekt, og det nsker vi selvflgelig at gre noget ved, forklarer Jonas Torp. Disse tanker ligger ogs bag en tilsvarende indsats fra eBay Danmark, som har 10 ansatte til at yde service og blande sig i debatter p sociale medier. Det kan vre et problem, hvis virksomheder forsger at kvle en debat, men det gr vi ikke. Vi prver p at hjlpe og give gode rd. Nogen har en drlig oplevelse, som de skal have lov til at dele med andre. Men oftest vil folk bare gerne have lsninger p de problemer, de har, siger Jacob Aqraou, administrerende direktr i eBay Classified Group, som driver Den Bl Avis og Bilbasen.dk. Og brugerne af de sociale medier kan lige s godt vnne sig til, at de kommercielle interesser lser med og blander sig i debatterne. Sdan lyder det fra Trine-Maria Kristensen, partner og konsulent i Socialsquare, der rdgiver firmaer om brugen af sociale medier. Man skal vre klar over, at nr man skriver noget p nettet, svarer det til at indrykke et lserbrev i Politiken. Nr folk hidser sig op over en virksomhed, kan det hurtigt genfindes via Google. Hvis kritikken str uimodsagt, fr man indtryk af, at firmaet er ligeglad med sine kunder. Derfor er det godt at blande sig og smide fakta ind i debatten, siger Trine-Maria Kristensen. Firmaer skal imidlertid lade vre med at blande sig i alle debatter. Og mden, de vlger at kommunikere p, skal ogs vlges med omhu. Eksempelvis har nogle store amerikanske selskaber haft bitre erfaringer med at f jurister til at formulere debatindlg, forklarer hun: Virksomheder, som gemmer sig bag jurister, bliver ikke taget alvorligt af brugerne, som bare fler sig overvget og intimideret. Hvis man sender Maja fra Arla ud, bliver man belnnet; det lukker luften ud af den vrste vrede, nr brugerne oplever, at det er mennesker og ikke bare et brand, de sklder ud p.

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Appendix 9 - Weber Klubben The largest Grilling Community in Europe

The largest Grilling Community in Europe Become a part of a large grilling community... http://www.webergrill.dk/Weber-Klubben-148.aspx Weber Klubben was launched in October 2007 and has quickly become a very popular place to meet, if you have an interest in grilling.

We like to call it an "online community house" because the whole spirit of the Weber Klubben is to get people to meet around their interest in outdoor cooking and through the community inspire each other to be even better on using the grill.

Weber Klubben offers, among other things: - The opportunity to write your own BLOG - Debate Forums - E-shop - Events and arrangements - Courses in grilling - Large recipe library - Games and competitions ... and much more!

Visit www.weberklubben.dk and become a member today! -Facts about Weber Club Weber Klubben is an "online community house" with focus on grilling and specifically on the Weber grill models.

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The club organises a lot of different events - including Weber Gathering, Celebrity Chef and more. As a member of the Weber Klubben you get access to a lot of exciting experiences.

Weber Klubben Europas strste grill community Bliv en del af et stort grillfllesskab ... Weber Klubben bnede i oktober 2007 og er hurtigt blevet et rigtig populrt sted at mdes, hvis man har interesse for at grille. Vi ynder at kalde det et "online forsamlingshus", for hele nden i Weber Klubben er at f folk til at mdes om deres interesse for udendrs madlavning og igennem fllesskabet inspirere hinanden til at blive endnu dygtigere p grillen. Weber Klubben tilbyder blandt andet: - Mulighed for at skrive din egen BLOG - Debatomrde - E-shop - Events og arrangementer - Kurser i at grille - Stort opskriftsbibliotek - Spil og konkurrencer ... og meget mere! Besg www.weberklubben.dk og bliv medlem i dag! ---

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Fakta om Weber Klubben Weber Klubben er et "online forsamlingshus" med fokus p at grille og specifikt p Webers grillmodeller. Klubben arrangerer en masse forskellige events - blandt andet Weber Trf, Kendte Kokke og meget mere. Som medlem af Weber Klubben fr du adgang til en masse spndende oplevelser.

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Appendix 10 - Interview with Stig Pedersen, Marketing Director at Weber


Mail sent to Stig Pedersen, 5th of July, 2010 Dear Stig Pedersen

I allow myself to write to you in relation with the preparation of my master thesis. I am about to finish my Masters in Corporate Communication at Aarhus School of Business. I write about corporations use of social media in connection with the establishment of consumer-corporation relationship and consumer loyalty. Since you are marketing director at Weber and executive editor of Weberklubben.dk I write to you hoping to get your answers to a number of questions. The questions deal for example with reasons for having a community and the benefits that the community gives Weber.

1) What was the mission with Weberklubben.dk when the online community was established? 2) To what extend has the mission been fulfilled? 3) How are the activities on Weberklubben.dk monitored? 4) How are the monitored activities from Weber Klubben used by Weber? 5) How integrated is Weber Klubben in the overall marketing of Weber? 6) How has Weber Klubben made its influence on the Weber product? 7) How has the use of social media made a different for Weber? 8) What thoughts have been made in relation to use of other social media such as Facebook and Youtube? Finally, I would like to hear if it would be possible to have insight into the statistics of traffic on Weberklubben.dk, number of visitors, frequency of visits, etc., so that I can use that as reasoning for some of my conclusions? I hope you have time to look at the questions and contribute with your answers. It will be of great help for preparing my thesis! Should there be doubts regarding any of the questions I would be happy to call you and explain them further to you. I thank you in advance and look forward to hearing from you Yours sincerely

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Allan Pontoppidan

Mail responds from Stig Pedersen, 11th July, 2010 Hallo Allan Please find my answers in the email

Best regards Stig Pedersen Marketing Director

Weber-Stephen Nordic Bgildsmindevej 23 DK-9400 Nrresundby 1) What was the mission with Weberklubben.dk when the online community was established? The mission was just to say thanks to all the loyal Weber users there are in Denmark where Weber has a really special place in the hearts of the consumers. Therefore we wanted to establish an online community house, where all Weber enthusiasts could meet and share ideas, experiences, knowledge, recopies, tips and tricks about grilling and create a sense of community spirit and belonging. We wanted to create a place where Weber could build relations to its consumers. Normally we do only have contact with the vendors, so through our community we are in direct contact with the end-users of the product. Through Weber Klubben we have provided our loyal end-users with a community where they can create their own blogs, participate in discussions and to a larger extend stimulate consumer-to-consumer help.

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Did you have any pre-set goals in relation to statistics or how many uses you expected to visit Weberklubben.dk? Not really. But today we have approximately 1800 unique visitors a day, around 1000 new members each month who spends about 12 minutes pr. log on. 2) To what extend has the mission been fulfilled? The mission is more than fulfilled. We had an ambition to reach 25.000 members within 3 years, and now three months before our three years birthday we have more than 28.000 members and we have new members joining every day. For that we are very grateful. The community has given us the close and daily contact to the end-users and we can hereby exchange knowledge with our members, but most important the members have a place where they can meet and share their knowledge. 3) How are the activities on Weberklubben.dk monitored? Common sense controls the activities. We monitor the activities on Weber Klubben daily and keeps an eye on the activities and posts that needs our presence or action. We answer questions, inform about and follow up on events. We have a team of employees who as their responsibility are to monitor and handle the activities on Weber Klubben. The content on Weber Klubben is primarily user generated, but besides that, we have a team of voluntary editors, with whom we are in close contact, who have each their specific area of focus and responsibility. The fact that we use voluntary editors and not employees to manage the different focus areas secures that the community is less business-like, and remains to be the members community. Besides that, the members are the best gate-keepers towards unintended contents and there is a good administration of justice on the site. 4) How are the monitored activities from Weber Klubben used by Weber? The activities that we monitor help us to get an overview of the end users wants and needs. Through what is written on Weber Klubben we are able to gain an insight into the wishes that the end-users have about changes of the different products and we gain valuable knowledge from the users of our products on how to form the product of the future through potential lacks observed by the members. In addition, we do also use Weber Klubben to develop new recipes and develop and inform about

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new ways of using the grill so that it is taken further from the usual beef and is being a more allround tool for the users. Finally, as I said before, we use the community to create a picture of who our end-users are. Normaly we are only in contact with the vendors, but through Weber Klubben we are able to create a relationship with the end-users. 5) How integrated is Weber Klubben in the overall marketing of Weber? That is two separated things. We do not have any marketing of Weber Klubben, the recognition of Weber Klubben is spread through recommendations and word-of-mouth. We do tell a lot about Weber Klubben through our vendors and the member magazine to spread the awareness about Weber Klubben, but it is suppose to be a non-commercial commercial venture. 6) How has Weber Klubben made its influence on the Weber product? We have been able to create contact with the end-users that we normally do not have. Apart from our normal vendor relations we have through Weber Klubben been able to create a network with and for the loyal users of Weber products. Through Weber Klubben we gain valuable knowledge about how the product is used by the end-users, the ones that daily uses the product and have the experiences with the products. Weber Klubben has given us best ambassador team in the worlds to tell about the new things going on in the product line, we receive incredible good feedback, positive as well as positive 7) How has the use of social media made a different for Weber? Through Weber Klubben we have been able to create a direct contact to the consumers. We have created a loyalty network that makes it easier for us to communicate with the end-users. The use of social media has made it easier and faster for us to follow the use of our products, and additionally it is perfect for creating customer relations. It has also given Weber a more common touch. We are communicating WITH our consumers, not TO them. We use a very concentrated relationship marketing philosophy, where it is one-to-one dialogue with our consumers instead of one-to-many. Finally, when we implement changes we know that they are thought through and not just a single application. We get incredible feedback on arrangements and events and much more...it cannot be described.

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8) What thoughts have been made in relation to use of other social media such as Facebook and Youtube? We are starting quietly in a pace that we can manage. Weber in Denmark belongs under the American corporation so we are subject to several regulations. However, the use of for example Facebook or Twitter is something that we talk about and in the future it is not unthinkable to find us on Facebook or Twitter but right now we do not have enough knowledge about these media to get involved with them.

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Appendix 11 - What Does it Mean to be a Member

What does it mean to be a member? http://www.weberklubben.dk/vipomraade/bliv_medlem_af_weber_klubben/hvorfor_blive_medlem. aspx To ensure that you know what Weber Klubben is we have collected a number of practical information here. If you do not find the answer to your question, please write an email to us.

Who can join? Anyone with an interest in grilling can be a member of Weber Klubben. It is not required to be a member, but you must be to be able to write and post content on the website. That is because we want to be "in control" over who posts what information - like your activities are measured against our Most active...-barometers.

It is of course for free ... It is free to be the default member of Weber Klubben, and a standard membership allows you to participate in many activities around Weber Klubben, including having your own blog, participate in debates, participate in events and activities - including Weber Camp - and have the opportunity to participate in competitions and much more. Do you want it, you can upgrade to become a VIP member and thus get even more out of the club.

VIP membership - you get the whole package ... Upgrade to a VIP membership, and you can more than the ordinary members - as you will get offers specially adapted VIP members. VIP Members may, can among other things watch the video library - they receive the newsletter / magazine when it is published, and they receive discount in the Weber Klubben Shop. It is also for VIP members that we currently are working on a benefit program with discounts at various barbecue-related sites.

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If you do NOT want to be a member, you can send an email to info@weberklubben.dk where you write "Withdrawal" in the subject line. In addition, please write your name, the e-mail address you have used for signing on and alias, so we are sure to delete the right one. Then we delete you without any further questions - it should indeed be fun to be a member of Weber Klubben, so you can stop anytime. - And it is of course free of charge to get out of the club. By resignation no VIP-subscription is refunded.

Who owns the rights to the content on the club? YOU own the rights to your own content on the club-site. In the sense that pictures taken of you are yours. Weber Klubben reserves the right to use them for promotion of Weber Klubben, but will basically ALWAYS obtain permission from the one holding the rights before we use them. Weber owns the rights to other non-photographic material that are posted - unless otherwise specified. It is the member's responsibility to make sure that this does not infringe any third party copyrights in connection with members posting material on Weber Klubben.

Are there things you DO NOT do at Weber Klubben? Weber Klubben is about enjoyment around the Weber grill. It is for practical reasons that Weber has focused on at this site. Do you want to debate Kamado, Dancook, Beef-eater, Cadac, Landmann grill or other alternatives this can be done in many other excellent sites that are better suited. This is not to exercise censorship or the like, but to avoid misunderstandings and expressions that may harm others in preference to another grill brand. Positions of political, religious, offensive or selfish content do not belong at Weber Klubben - here there is room for everyone who likes to grill - it is what it is all about in here ...

Why are there now ads on the site? Advertisements CANNOT be purchased on a commercial basis in trade. Advertising space is ONLY borrowed to partners of Weber Klubben. It may be companies that sponsor Weber Camp, theme-sites, workshops or other activities which may directly reverse to Weber Klubben. Any income from these sponsors / partners will go to ensure the members better events - especially for

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Weber Camp. If you want to support Weber Klubben, please send a description of your purpose of aid to info@weberklubben.dk.

Hvad vil det sige at vre medlem ? For at sikre at du ved, hvad Weber Klubben er, har vi samlet en rkke praktiske informationer her. Finder du ikke svar p dit sprgsml, s skriv en e-mail til os. Hvem kan blive medlem? Alle med en interesse for at grille kan vre medlem af Weber Klubben. Det er ikke et krav, at man er medlem, men man skal vre det for at kunne skrive og poste indhold p hjemmesiden. Det skyldes, at vi gerne vil have "hnd i hanke" med, hvem der poster hvilke informationer - lige som dine aktiviteter mles i forhold til vores "Mest aktive..."-barometre. Det er selvflgelig gratis ... Det er gratis at vre standard-medlem af Weber Klubben, og et standard-medlemsskab giver dig mulighed for at deltage i mange af aktiviteterne omkring Weber Klubben, herunder at have din egen BLOG, deltage i debatter, deltage i events og arrangementer - herunder Weber Camp - samt have muligheden for at deltage i konkurrencer og meget andet. nsker du det, kan du opgradere til at blive VIP-medlem og p den mde f endnu mere ud af klubben. VIP-medlemsskab - du fr hele pakken ... Opgraderer du til et VIP-medlemsskab, kan du mere end de almindelige medlemmer - ligesom du vil f tilbud specielt tilpasset VIP-medlemmerne. VIP-medlemmer kan blandt andet se videobiblioteket - de modtager nyhedsbrevet/magasinet, nr det udkommer, og de fr blandt andet rabat i Weber Klubben-butikken Det er ogs for VIP-medlemmerne, vi pt. arbejder p et fordelsprogram med rabat ved forskellige grillrelaterede steder. Hvordan melder jeg mig ud igen? nsker du IKKE at vre medlem, kan du sende en e-mail til info@weberklubben.dk, hvor du skriver "Udmeldelse" i emnefeltet. Derudover bedes du skrive dit navn, den e-mail-adresse du har oprettet dig under samt alias, for at vi er sikre p at slettet den rette. Derefter sletter vi dig uden yderligere sprgsml - det skal jo vre sjovt at vre medlem af Weber Klubben, s du kan stoppe nr som helst. - Og det koster naturligvis ikke noget at melde sig ud af klubben. Ved udmeldelse refunderes eventuelle VIP-medlemsskaber ikke. Page 114 of 179

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Hvem ejer rettighederne til indholdet p klubben? DU ejer selv rettighederne til dit eget indhold p klubsiden. Forstet p den mde, at fotografier taget af dig er dine. Weber Klubben forbeholder sig ret til at anvende dem til promovering af Weber Klubben, men vil som udgangspunkt ALTID indhente tilladelse fra rettighedshaver, inden vi anvender dem. Weber ejer rettighederne til andet ikke-fotografisk materiale, der er oprettet - med mindre andet er beskrevet. Det er medlemmets ansvar at sikre, at denne ikke krnker tredjeparts ophavret i forbindelse med, at medlemmet poster materiale p Weber Klubben. Er der ting, man IKKE gr p Weber Klubben? Weber Klubben handler om at hygge sig omkring Webergrillen. Det er af praktiske grunde Weber, der er fokus p p denne hjemmeside. nsker du at debattere Kamado, Dancook, Beefeater, Cadac, Landmann eller andre grillalternativer, kan dette gres p mange andre udmrkede hjemmesider, der er bedre til den slags. Dette er ikke for at udve censur eller lignende, men for at undg misforstelser og ytringer, der kan gre andre med preference for et andet grillmrke fortrd. Holdninger med politisk, religist, krnkende eller egoistisk indhold hrer heller ikke hjemme p Weber Klubben - her er der plads til alle, der kan lide at grille - det er dt, det handler om herinde ... Hvorfor er der nu reklamer p hjemmesiden? Reklamerne kan IKKE kbes p kommerciel basis i handel. Reklamepladsen lnes KUN ud til samarbejdspartnere af Weber Klubben. Det kan vre virksomheder, der sponsorerer Weber Camp, temasider, workshops eller andre aktiviteter, der direkte kan tilbagefres til Weber Klubben. Enhver indtgt via disse sponsorer/samarbejdspartnere gr ubeskret til at sikre medlemmerne bedre arrangementer - herunder specielt i forbindelse med Weber Camp. nsker du at sttte Weber Klubben, kan du rette henvendelse med en beskrivelse af dit forml af sttten til info@weberklubben.dk.

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Appendix 12 - Legal Notices For Weber-Stephen Nordic


Legal Notices For Werber-Stephen Nordic http://www.weberklubben.dk/Default.aspx?ID=1231 Weber-Stephen Products Co. (also called Weber) has created and maintains this website to give you access to personal entertainment, information, education, knowledge sharing and communication. Just go exploring! You are welcome to download materials from the site for non-commercial, personal use, provided that you also retain the copyright and other intellectual property rights contained in the materials. You may not without written permission from Weber distribute, modify, transmit, reuse, report, or use the website content, including text, images, audio and video for public or commercial purposes. By signing up you agree to the following terms and conditions ("Terms and Conditions") and all applicable laws in the field. By accessing the website and moving around on it, you accept without limitations or reservation, these terms and conditions, and in addition you agree that all other agreements between you and Weber are replaced and lose their meaning or effect. You can access this Legal page by clicking on the copyright line anywhere on the website.

Terms and Conditions Unless otherwise indicated, you should assume that everything you see or read on the website are copyrighted and not without the written permission of Weber may be used in ways other than those specified in these terms and conditions or in the text at website. Weber neither guarantees nor signifies that your use of materials on the website does not infringe rights of third parties not owned by or affiliated Weber Although Weber is careful with the information on this website being accurate and up to date, Weber neither guarantees nor signifies that the information is correct. Weber assumes no liability and no responsibility for errors or omissions in the website content. Weber may at any time modify these pages, and the changes are incorporated without notice.

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You use and move around the site at your own risk. Neither Weber nor any other party involved in designing, producing or delivering the website assume responsibility for direct damages, incidental damages, consequential damages, indirect damages or punitive damages that may result from your access to or use of website. Without limiting the foregoing, everything on the site is available "as it is" without any express or implied warranty, including without limitation the implied warranties of merchantability, suitability for a particular purpose or non infringement. Weber cannot be held liable for content posted by users / members of the community, but will always try to manage the content and take the consequence if the content deemed insulting and / or not suitable for the Weber brand and the Weber Klubben community. If you add content that violates the rules of the community, you get a warning the first time. The second time you will automatically be excluded from the community. You will not have your subscription returned if you are excluded. Any communication or material you (or others using your username and password) transmit to the website via email or upload, including data, questions, comments, suggestions or the like, is and will be treated as non-confidential and not copyrighted. Anything you transmit or adds can be used by Weber or affiliates for any purpose, including but not limited to reproduction, disclosure, transmission, publication, broadcast and transmission by mail without you receiving compensation therefore. We will, however, as far as possible inform hereof before use. Furthermore, Weber can, without compensation, freely use ideas, concepts, know-how and techniques contained in communication you send to the website for any purpose including but not limited to developing, manufacturing and marketing of products. Images of people and places on the website are either owned or used with permission from Weber. You may not use or permit others to use these images, unless you have obtained a special permission from Weber-Stephen Nordic.

Photos uploaded by members of the community are also considered non-confidential and non proprietary and can be used by Weber in marketing activities for Weber Klubben. However, we will, as far as possible, seek permission before we use it.

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The trademarks, logos and service marks (collectively "marks") displayed on this website are registered and unregistered trademarks of Weber and others. Weber has not reviewed all of the websites that are linked from the website, and assumes no responsibility for the content of pages beyond the homepage or other websites linked to from our website. If you link to other pages outside the site or other sites, you do so at your own risk. Although Weber occasionally do monitor and review discussions, chats, additions, transfers, bulletin boards and similar on the website, Weber is not obliged to do so and assumes no responsibility or any liability for the content of the above or errors, libel, defamation, libel, deficiencies, untruths, indecent activities, pornography, profanity, danger or inaccuracies of information on these locations on the website. It is forbidden to add or transmit unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, scandalous, inflammatory, pornographic or profane material, or other material that could constitute or encourage to conduct that may be considered criminal, give rise to private law liability or otherwise violate the law. Weber will fully cooperate with any law enforcement authority or court that asks whether Weber or requires Weber to disclose the identity of a person who has added such information or such material.

[NEW on 08.08.2009] Weber club is for people who grow their passion about the Weber grill and its many possibilities.

In Weber Klubben it is the only Weber's various grill-models (including Ducane) that are a focus area. Consequently, debates, speeches and other content regarding other barbecue manufacturers models and their accessories politely be referred to similar forums on the Internet.

We are on Weber Klubben to inspire each other to even more fun when we cook on our Weber and therefore use of 3'parts (not competing) accessories are very welcome, as long as it is NOT the character of direct promotional activities. With promotional activities are meant: links to competing websites or publicity in such a way that it

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touches the outright promotion of the product. We are here indeed to inspire each other not to sell "everything from the ocean"! Only moderator team as after any reports from members determines how content should be characterised, with subsequent offenses.

Weber may at any time revise these terms and conditions by updating this text. You are bound by such modifications and should therefore periodically visit this page to inform you of the terms and conditions which you are bound.

Weber-Stephen Nordic

Juridisk meddelelse fra Weber-Stephen Nordic Weber-Stephen Products Co. (ogs kaldet Weber) har skabt og vedligeholder denne hjemmeside ("hjemmesiden") for at give dig adgang til personlig underholdning, information, undervisning, videndeling og kommunikation. G bare p opdagelse! Du er velkommen til at downloade materiale fra hjemmesiden til ikkeerhvervsmssigt, personligt brug, forudsat at du ogs bevarer de oplysninger om ophavsret og andre ejendomsrettigheder, der er indeholdt i materialerne. Du m dog ikke uden Webers skriftlige tilladelse distribuere, modificere, overfre, genbruge, rapportere eller bruge hjemmesidens indhold, herunder tekst, billeder, lyd og video, til offentlige eller erhvervsmssige forml. Ved at melde dig ind accepterer du flgende vilkr og betingelser (Vilkr og betingelser) og alle gldende love p omrdet. Ved at g ind p hjemmesiden og bevge dig rundt p den accepterer du uden begrnsninger eller forbehold nedenstende vilkr og betingelser, og desuden accepterer du, at alle andre aftaler mellem dig og Weber erstattes og mister deres betydning eller virkning. Du kan

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f adgang til denne juridiske side ved at klikke p ophavsretslinjen hvor som helst p hjemmesiden. Vilkr og betingelser Medmindre andet er angivet, br du antage, at alt, hvad du ser eller lser p hjemmesiden, er ophavsretligt beskyttet og ikke uden skriftlig tilladelse fra Weber m bruges p andre mder end de, der er angivet i disse vilkr og betingelser eller i teksten p hjemmesiden. Weber hverken garanterer eller tilkendegiver, at din brug af materialer p hjemmesiden ikke krnker rettigheder tilhrende tredjeparter, der ikke er ejet af eller tilknyttet Weber. Selvom Weber er omhyggelig med, at oplysningerne p hjemmesiden skal vre korrekte og ajourfrte, hverken garanterer eller tilkendegiver Weber, at oplysningerne er korrekte. Weber ptager sig ingen erstatningspligt og intet ansvar for fejl eller mangler i hjemmesidens indhold. Weber kan til enhver tid ndre disse sider, og ndringerne inkorporeres uden varsel. Du bruger og bevger dig rundt p hjemmesiden p eget ansvar. Hverken Weber eller nogen anden part, der er involveret i at designe, fremstille eller levere hjemmesiden, ptager sig ansvar for direkte skadeserstatning, hndelig skadeserstatning, flgeskadeserstatning, indirekte skadeserstatning eller pnalt begrundet skadeserstatning, der mtte opst som flge af din adgang til eller brug af hjemmesiden. Uden begrnsning af ovenstende stilles alt p hjemmesiden til rdighed som det er" uden nogen form for udtrykkelig eller stiltiende garanti, herunder ikke begrnset til de stiltiende garantier for salgbarhed, egnethed til et bestemt forml eller ikke krnkelse. Weber kan ikke gres ansvarlig for indhold, der er tilfjet af brugere/medlemmer af communityet, men vil til enhver tid forsge at styre indholdet og tage konsekvensen, hvis indholdet betragtes som krnkende og/eller ikke passende for Weber-mrket og Weber Klubben-communityet. Hvis du tilfjer indhold, der overtrder reglerne for communityet, fr du en advarsel frste gang. Anden gang vil du uden videre blive udelukket fra communityet. Du vil ikke f returneret dit medlemskontingent, hvis du bliver udelukket. Enhver form for kommunikation eller materiale, som du (eller andre ved hjlp af dit brugernavn og din adgangskode) overfrer til hjemmesiden via e-mail eller upload, herunder data, sprgsml, kommentarer, forslag eller lignende, er og vil blive behandlet som ikke-fortroligt og ikke ophavsretligt beskyttet.

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Alt, hvad du overfrer eller tilfjer, kan bruges af Weber eller tilknyttede selskaber til ethvert forml, herunder men ikke begrnset til reproduktion, videregivelse, overfrsel, offentliggrelse, udsendelse og fremsendelse med post, uden du modtager godtgrelse herfor. Vi vil dog i videst muligt omfang informere herom inden anvendelse. Desuden kan Weber, uden godtgrelse, frit bruge ideer, koncepter, knowhow og teknikker indeholdt i den kommunikation, du sender til hjemmesiden, til et hvilket som helst forml, herunder men ikke begrnset til udvikling, produktion og markedsfring af produkter. Billeder af personer og steder p hjemmesiden enten tilhrer eller bruges med tilladelse fra Weber. Du m ikke bruge eller tillade andre at bruge disse billeder, medmindre du har opnet en speciel tilladelse fra Weber-Stephen Nordic.

Billeder uploadet af medlemmer af communityet betragtes ogs som ikke-fortrolige og ikke ophavsretligt beskyttede og kan bruges af Weber i forbindelse med markedsfringsaktiviteter for Weber Klubben. Vi vil dog i videst mulig omfang indhente tilladelse inden vi bruger det. De varemrker, logoer og servicemrker (samlet benvnt varemrker), der vises p hjemmesiden, er registrerede og ikke-registrerede varemrker tilhrende Weber og andre. Weber har ikke gennemget alle de hjemmesider, der er linket til fra hjemmesiden, og ptager sig intet ansvar for indholdet af sider uden for hjemmesiden eller andre hjemmesider, som der linkes til fra hjemmesiden. Hvis du linker til andre sider uden for hjemmesiden eller andre hjemmesider, sker dette p egen risiko. Selvom Weber af og til overvger og gennemgr diskussioner, chats, tilfjelser, overfrsler, bulletinboards (elektroniske opslagstavler) og lignende p hjemmesiden, er Weber ikke forpligtet til at gre dette og ptager sig heller ikke noget ansvar eller nogen erstatningspligt for indholdet af ovennvnte eller for fejl, injurier, reskrnkelse, bagvaskelse, mangler, usandheder, uanstndigheder, pornografi, blasfemi, farer eller uprcisheder i oplysningerne p disse steder p hjemmesiden. Det er forbudt at tilfje eller overfre ulovligt, truende, reskrnkende, injurierende, sjofelt, forargeligt, ophidsende, pornografisk eller blasfemisk materiale, eller andet materiale, der kan udgre eller opmuntre til adfrd, der kan betragtes som kriminel, give anledning til privatretligt erstatningsansvar eller p anden mde overtrder loven. Weber vil samarbejde fuldt ud med enhver

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lovhndhvende myndighed eller domstol, der beder Weber om eller plgger Weber at oplyse om identiteten p en person, der har tilfjet sdanne informationer eller sdant materiale. [NY pr. 08.08.2009] Weber Klubben er for folk der dyrker deres lidenskab omkring Weber grillens og dens mange muligheder.

I Weber Klubben er det alene Webers forskellige grilmodeller (incl. Ducane) der er fokusomrdet. Derfor vil debatter, indlg og andet indhold vedr. andre grillproducenters modeller samt deres tilbehr hfligt blive henvist til lignende fora p internettet.

Vi er p Weber Klubben for, at inspirere hinanden til endnu mere sjov nr vi laver mad p vores Weber - og derfor er anvendelse af 3'parts (ikke konkurrerende) tilbehr meget velkomment, s lnge det IKKE har karakter af direkte salgsfremmende aktiviteter. Med salgsfremmende aktiviteter menes: links til konkurrerende hjemmesider eller omtale i en sdan form at det tangerer decideret markedsfring af produktet. Vi er her jo for at inspirere hinanden - ikke slge "alt godt fra havet"! Det er alene redaktrteamet som efter eventuelle indberetninger fra medlemmer afgr hvordan indhold skal karakteriseres, med deraf flgende handlinger. Weber kan til enhver tid revidere disse vilkr og betingelser ved at opdatere denne tekst. Du er bundet af sdanne ndringer og br derfor jvnligt besge denne side for at orientere dig om de gldende vilkr og betingelser, som du er bundet af.

Weber-Stephen Nordic

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Appendix 13 - Privacy and cookies

Privacy and cookies http://www.weberklubben.dk/info/juridiske_informationer/persondatapolitik.aspx

In order for you to join Weber Klubben, you must register yourself with a range of personal information. Among them:

Name Alias Address Phone Number E-mail

Personal information is registered at Weber Klubben, and kept for at least three years, unless you in writing asking us to delete them - then we of course respect this. We register your personal information in order to deliver both awards in competitions like any goods purchased in our E-shop, deal with any complaints, improve our services and recommendations, and for the sake of our account.

When we gather personal information through our website, we ensure that it always happens with your explicit consent, so that you know exactly what information is collected and why. The following groups of employees have access to the registered information: managers, sales and marketing, administration and bookkeeping.

The information is not disclosed to third parties, and we never resell the information to third parties as we consider them to be strictly between Weber Klubben and you as a member. There is no private information registered.

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As registered with Weber Klubben you always have the right to object to registration and you have the right to inspect the information recorded about you. It is your right according to the law of personal data to claim these deleted and enquiries in connection to this shall be addressed to Weber Klubben via e-mail: kundeservice@weberklubben.dk.

Cookies A cookie is an indication of the fact that a user's behaviour on a network is registered with the user (the user's hard drive). In that way the server (for example a website) knows at the user's next visit, who the user is. There is not stored personally information in a cookie, but rather information about the users behaviour on a website for example, a user typed in the login to a special section on the site. A cookie is stored on the user's hard drive along with cached files. A cookie is a text file that is sent to your browser from a web server and stored on your computer's hard drive. You can set your browser to notify you when you receive a cookie, or you can choose to disable cookies altogether. At www.weberklubben.dk there are use cookies in order to optimise the website and its functionalities. Cookies are used to increase usability and to remember which products are stored in the shopping cart when you shop on the website.

Persondatapolitik og cookies For at du kan blive medlem af Weber Klubben, skal du lade dig registrere med en rkke personlige oplysninger. Heriblandt: Navn Alias Adresse Telefonnummer E-mail

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Personoplysningerne registreres hos Weber Klubben og opbevares i mindst tre r, med mindre du skriftligt beder os om at slette dem - s respekterer vi naturligvis dette. Vi foretager registreringen af dine personoplysninger med det forml at kunne levere svel prmier i konkurrencer som eventuelt kbte varer i vores E-shop til dig, behandle eventuelle reklamationer, forbedre vores tilbud og anbefalinger samt af hensyn til vores regnskab. Nr der indsamles personoplysninger via vores website, sikrer vi, at det altid sker ved afgivelse af dit udtrykkelige samtykke, sledes at du er informeret om prcis hvilke oplysninger, der indsamles og hvorfor. Flgende grupper af medarbejdere har adgang til de registrerede oplysninger: ledelsen, salg og markedsfring, administration og bogholderi. Oplysningerne videregives ikke til tredjemand, og vi videreslger aldrig oplysningerne til tredjemand, da vi anser dem for strengt fortrolige mellem Weber Klubben og dig som medlem. Der registreres ingen personflsomme oplysninger. Udover betalingsoplysningerne hverken opbevares eller transmitteres oplysningerne krypteret. Som registreret hos Weber Klubben har du altid ret til at gre indsigelse mod registreringen, og du har ret til indsigt i hvilke oplysninger, der er registreret om dig. Disse rettigheder har du efter persondataloven ret til at krve slettet, og henvendelse i forbindelse hermed rettes til Weber Klubben via e-mail: kundeservice@weberklubben.dk. Cookies En cookie er en betegnelse for det forhold, at en brugers adfrd p et netvrk registreres hos brugeren selv (p brugerens harddisk). P den mde ved serveren (for eksempel et websted) ved brugerens nste besg, hvem brugeren er. Der lagres ikke personhenfrbare oplysninger i en cookie, men snarere oplysninger om brugerens adfrd p et website for eksempel et indtastet brugernavn i forbindelse med login til en srlig sektion p webstedet. En cookie lagres p brugens harddisk sammen med cachede filer. En cookie er sledes en tekstfil, der sendes til din browser fra

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en webserver og lagres p din computers harddisk. Du kan stte din browser til at informere dig, nr du modtager en cookie, eller du kan vlge at sl cookies helt fra. P www.weberklubben.dk anvendes cookies med det forml at optimere websitet og dets funktionaliteter. Cookies bruges til at skabe get brugervenlighed samt til at huske, hvilke produkter der opbevares i indkbskurven, nr du handler p websitet.

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Appendix 14 - Closedown of Blog Post

Closedown of Blog Post http://www.weberklubben.dk/Default.aspx?ID=1238&category=9&thread=2212 Purchasing new Weber accessories .. By: stb Posts: 3 30-06-2010 09:08:43

Hello all Weber enthusiasts. How do people buy their equipment for Weber. (Gratings, Rtisserie, cast iron grates, etc.) Can anyone recommend some specialty shops, Danish websites, foreign web pages? Sincerely stb --By: Vendelboe Posts: 25 30-06-2010 09:13:45 Hello Stb. Check out this link: http://www.davidsenshop.dk/pl/Weber_grill_2198.aspx Super great place to shop. Sincerely Vendelboe --By: Stb Posts: 3 30-06-2010 09:17:32 @ Gtvendelbo. Oddly, has actually just been there and it gave me the idea for the post. But thanks for the tip. Always nice to know a little about how others put their money, it usually means good service

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Sincerely stb --By: Lillevang Posts: 208 30-06-2010 13:35:06 Watch blah. Silvan, they sometimes have evening open (open by night) And they have a couple of occasions had 30% off weber gear. Lars --By: Raabjerg-Pedersen Posts: 16 30-06-2010 23:40:42 Here, I http://www.byggestore.dk/pl/Havecenter_Weber_grill_Weber_Style__2088.aspx their condones one else but to buy much before frag paid also to shop and then talk to them so they can be sweetened to give rebate * S * --By: Raabjerg-Pedersen Posts: 16 02-07-2010 21:09:04 Got talking to bygmag online, the preface that there were errors in their delivery, it is now from kr 89 and then the fun place to shop: --By: Dennis3 Posts: 14 03-07-2010 08:19:21 Bauhaus is also a good place to shop. and they've price guarantee --By: Stb Posts: 3 04-07-2010 16:08:31 Thank you for all the answers.

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I know well the Bauhaus prigaranti and have even used it a few times (Harald-Nyborg catalog into the Bauhaus). Though never on weber equipment as I felt that they did not price guarantee on netvare. But I have not thought about printing the newspaper out bid, which is a physical store behind, so you can take advantage of price guarantee - smart, I say :-) www.davidsen.dk and www.davidsenshop.dk have the same offer newspaper, but you should surely so could only use the offers in the newspaper because www.davidsenshop.dk only Internet commerce, while davidsen.dk is the physical store. Or has anyone tried to print an Internet bid out and still received price guarantee? Sincerely Stb --By: Ladybird Posts: 220 05-07-2010 20:04:07 Hello grillers To put all dealers and non low Weber club about an offer catalog, we see the Moderator team anywhere that they kept talking via pm, email, etc. barbecue greetings Anettte Editor goal grill --By: Stb Posts: 3 05-07-2010 20:55:07 Hi Anette / Ladybird. That we respect the course. Therefore closing the thread here. Sincerely Stb --By: Ladybird Posts: 220 05-07-2010 21:10:05 Hello Stb

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Thank you. We're here for to comfort us, grilling and share tips and tricks so we can get the best out of our grill and the food that we can do for them. We look forward to seeing blog entries from you. We're here to inspire and learn from each other. BBQ Greetings Anette --By: The editor Posts: 883 06-07-2010 08:20:56 Hello All I would like to thank Anette to emphasize our "ethical code" that we are not debating the dealers prices here. It will mean that they show resentment against Weber club - when they get frustrated if a dealer gets more focus. we use dealers to advertise / tell about the club, so it is important their support for our cozy place. / / Editor --By: Michael Dahl Thomsen Posts: 192 06-07-2010 22:22:47 Hello All For orientation, we can tell that we are here tonight has had to delete a message which apparently was written by an anonymous user causing the wire no longer be displayed. In any event, we will not allow anonymous users to create discussion post, factual or not, and "hole" will be closed soon as possible. Remember that Weber club is all about comfort around all of us common interresse, grill :-) Sincerely. MDT

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Lukning af blogindlg Indkb af nyt Weber gejl.. Stb Indlg: 3 30-06-2010 09:08:43 Hejsa alle Weber entusiaster. Hvor kber folk deres udstyr til weberen. (Riste, rotisseri, stbejernsriste osv.) Kan nogen anbefale nogle specialbutikker, danske websider, udenlandske websider? Mvh stb --Vendelboen Indlg: 25 30-06-2010 09:13:45 Hejsa Stb. Tjek dette link: http://www.davidsenshop.dk/pl/Weber_grill_2198.aspx Super godt sted at handle. Mvh Vendelboen --Stb Indlg: 3 30-06-2010 09:17:32

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@vendelbo. Sjovt, har faktisk lige vret derinde og det gav mig ideen til indlgget. Men tak for tippet. Altid rart at vide lidt om hvor andre lgger deres penge, det betyder som regel god service Mvh stb --Lillevang Indlg: 208 30-06-2010 13:35:06 Hold je med bla. Silvan, de har somme tider aften bent (open by night) Og der har de et par gange haft 30% rabat p webergrej. Lars --Raabjerg-Pedersen Indlg: 16 30-06-2010 23:40:42 Her handler jeg, http://www.byggestore.dk/pl/Havecenter_Weber_grill_Weber_Style__2088.aspx de er billiger en andre steder men der skal kbes meget fr fraget er betalt, kan ogs anbefales at handle der og s snakke med dem s kan de vre sdes at give rabatten *S* --Raabjerg-Pedersen Indlg: 16 02-07-2010 21:09:04 Fik snakket med bygmag online, de fortale at der var fejl i deres forsendelse, nu er det fra kr 89 og s bliver det sjover at handle der:

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--Dennis3 Indlg: 14 03-07-2010 08:19:21 Bauhaus er ogs et godt sted at handle. og de har jo prisgaranti --Stb Indlg: 3 04-07-2010 16:08:31 Tak for alle svarene. Jeg kender godt til Bauhaus prigaranti og har selv benyttet den et par gange (Harald-nyborg katalog med ned i Bauhaus). Dog aldrig p weber udstyr da jeg mente at de ikke gav pris-garanti p netvare. Men jeg har ikke overvejet at printe tilbudsavisen ud, hvorved der ligger en fysisk butik bag, s man kan benytte sig af pris-garantien - Smart siger jeg :-) www.davidsen.dk og www.davidsenshop.dk har den samme tilbudsavis, men man br vel s kun kunne benytte de tilbud i avisen, da www.davidsenshop.dk kun er internet handel, hvor imod davidsen.dk er den fysiske butik. Eller har nogen prvet at printe et internet tilbud ud og stadig fet prisgaranti? Mvh Stb --Ladybird Indlg: 220 05-07-2010 20:04:07 Hejsa grillere

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For at stille alle forhandlere lige og ikke lave Weberklubben om til et tilbudskatalog, ser vi i Redaktrteamet helst at disse snakke holdes via pm, mail o.l. grillhilsen Anettte Redaktr kuglegrillen --Stb Indlg: 3 05-07-2010 20:55:07 Hej Anette/ladybird. Det respekterer vi selvflgelig. Derfor lukkes trden her. Mvh Stb --Ladybird Indlg: 220 05-07-2010 21:10:05 Hej Stb Tak for det. Vi er her nemlig for at hygge os, grille og udveksle tips og tricks s vi kan f det bedst ud af vores grills og den mad vi kan lave p dem. Vi glder os til at se blogindlg fra dig. Vi er her for at inspirere og lre af hinanden. Grillhilsen Anette ---

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Redaktren Indlg: 883 06-07-2010 08:20:56 Hejsa Alle Jeg vil lige takke Anette for at pointere vores "etiske kodeks" om at vi ikke debatterer forhandlernes priser herinde. Det vil betyde at de viser modvilje imod Weber Klubben - da de bliver frustreret hvis en forhandler fr mere fokus. vi bruger forhandlerne til at reklamere / fortlle om klubben, s det er vigtigt de bakker op om vores hyggested. //Redaktren --Michael Dahl Thomsen Indlg: 192 06-07-2010 22:22:47 Hej Alle Til orientering kan vi fortlle at vi her til aften har vret ndsaget til at slette et indlg som tilsyneladende var skrevet af en anonym bruger hvilket forrsagede at trden ikke lngere kunne vises. Under alle omstndigheder vil vi ikke tillade anonyme brugere at lave debat indlg, saglige eller ej, og "hullet" vil blive lukket hurtigst muligt. Husk p at Weberklubben handler om at hygge omkring vores alle sammens flles interresse, grillen :-) Mvh. MDT Page 135 of 179

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Appendix 15 VIP Membership

VIP Membership http://www.weberklubben.dk/vipomraade/bliv_vip-medlem/bliv_vip-medlem_her.aspx Become a VIP - because we have more fun! Are you a complete grilling-hero? Quite to the bone? Then there is no way around it then you must be a VIP member of Weber Klubben! As a VIP get you the whole package and more. First of all you choose one of 3 exciting welcome packs to help you get started on the grill. The kits are packed with delicious Weber products that you get to a very special welcome price. And with your VIP membership you have at ones access to a wide range of unique features - video recipes, tips and tricks on video and blogs - just to name a few. You will be able to get your hands on unique Weber products you watch the news before anyone else and you can also participate in special VIP competitions and VIP events at Grilleriet.

So, you get access to: Video library with grilling videos Special Events Contests Newsletter and magazine Discount in the E-shop (coming in mid-March) Weber Klubben benefit program ... and much more The VIP benefits are continuously extended

You will be part of the ultimate Grilling community and it is constantly growing. Therefore there are constantly new initiatives for us VIPs - and there's already plenty on the way, so you might start enjoying it.

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Become a complete part of the largest and best grilling community. As a VIP member, you are a grilling-hero in a cool way.

Bliv VIPer fordi vi har det sjovere! Er du gennemfrt grillhelt?

Helt ind til benet? S er der ingen vej udenom s skal du vre VIP-medlem af Weber Klubben! Som VIPer fr du hele pakken og mere til. Du lgger naturligvis ud med at vlge imellem en af de 3 spndende velkomstpakker, der hjlper dig godt i gang ved grillen. Pakkerne er spkket med lkre Weber varer som du fr til en helt speciel velkomstpris. Og med dit VIP-medlemskab har du med t adgang til en lang rkke unikke features videoopskrifter, tips og tricks p video og BLOG bare for at nvne nogle enkelte. Du fr mulighed for at f fingrene i unikke Weber-produkter, du ser nyhederne fr alle andre, ligesom du kan deltage i srlige VIP-konkurrencer og VIP-arrangementer p Grilleriet.

Du fr alts adgang til: Video bibliotek med grillvideoer Special events Konkurrencer Nyhedsmail og magasin Rabat i shoppen (kommer medio marts) Weber Klubbens fordelsprogram ... og meget mere - VIP fordelene udvides lbende

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Du bliver en del af det ultimative grill-selskab, og selskabet vokser konstant. Derfor opstr der hele tiden nye tiltag for os VIPere og der er allerede masser p vej, s du kan godt begynde at glde dig.

Bliv en fuldbyrdet del af Europas strste og bedste grill-community. Som VIP-medlem er du grillhelt p den fede mde.

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Appendix 16 - FAQ

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions ... http://www.weberklubben.dk/info/medlemsinfo/ofte_stillede_sprgsml.aspx There are obviously a number of questions you would like to have an answer to - and we have assembled a few of them here:

REGISTRATION, SIGN & UNSUBSCRIPTION

How do I join? From the front page you can click on the "CLICK HERE TO BECOME A MEMBER" graphic in the top right. After you have filled in the form you will receive an email and is ready to have fun together with all of us.

I cannot log ... Your username and password is unique and must be entered correctly. There is a difference between uppercase and lowercase letters when you enter.

I cannot remember my password ... You can get it re-released from the front page near the login box

AND IF I DO NOT WANT TO BE MORE? ... So just send an email to us at info@weberklubben.dk and state your name, alias and your Email address - then we will delete you immediately.

ABOUT USER PROFILE

How CAN I CHANGE MY DATA? In the shortcut panel, choose "My Profile". Here you can change all your data.

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WHY DO I HAVE TO GIVE ALL THAT DATA? It is always fun to get to know people - and we use for example your address to send out a member leaves / magazines, awards, etc. so it is important that this data is always correct.

WHAT IS IT THE SHORTCUT PANEL AT THE FRONT PAGE? The Shortcut palette (which incidentally can be reached on all sites via "LINKS" at the top) is a panel where you can gather your own information, shortcuts, favourite recipes and the like. The top row are shortcuts to your stuff on the club site, the bottom is to edit your things.

ABOUT CREATE CONTENT

WHY CAN I NOT WRITE? - It requires that you are a member of Weber Klubben to post content to the club. A standard membership is free and can be created by clicking the REGISTER graphic in the top right of the front page.

HOW I POST PICTURES IN THE BLOG? - You can do it in two ways - depending on how they should appear.

1) Create by editor: Here you insert the picture in the posts by clicking the image icon and select the image you want. You can thus place the images within the text

2) Create image gallery: Here you can upload images in the bottom of your blog entries - and so they appear in the page with the option to click them and browse through them in a large version.

- The images are scaled automatically, but try only to have them in 800 pixel width and 72 DPI, then the fill less and are loaded faster.

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ON MOST ACTIVE LISTS ON THE FRONT PAGE

How to get ON THE different "MOST ACTIVE ..." LISTS? - We measure members' activities over a 14 day period - thus activities made 15 days ago are constantly subtracted. This way it is easier to get on the list - and all have a good chance to be on the chart.

ABOUT "Diploma" and "REWARD"

How do I get Diploma and Reward? - If you want to be rewarded for hard work or theme areas Weber Klubben have different icons. CLICK HERE [Link deleted]to see how they are allocated.

Her er nogle af de oftest stillede sprgsml... Der er naturligvis en rkke sprgsml man gerne vil have svar p - og vi har samlet en del af dem her: TILMELDING, LOGIN & UDMELDING HVORDAN BLIVER JEG MEDLEM? Fra forsiden kan du klikke p "KLIK HER FOR AT BLIVE MEDLEM" grafikken i toppen til hjre. Herefter udfylder du felterne og kort efter modtager du en email og er klar til at have det sjovt sammen med alle os andre. JEG KAN IKKE LOGGE IND... Dit brugernavn og password er unikt, og skal derfor indtastes korrekt. Der er forskel p store og sm bogstaver nr du indtaster. JEG KAN IKKE HUSKE MIT KODEORD... Du kan f det genudsendt fra forsiden oppe ved login boksen

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OG HVIS JEG IKKE VIL VRE MED MERE?... S sender du bare en email til os p info@weberklubben.dk og angiver dit Navn. Alias og din Emailadresse - s sletter vi dig med det samme.

OM BRUGERPROFILEN HVORDAN RETTER JEG MINE STAMDATA ? I genvejspaletten kan du vlge "Min profil". Her kan du rette alle dine stamdata. HVORFOR SKAL JEG HAVE ALLE DE DATA ? Det er altid sjovt at lre folk at kende - og vi bruger bl.a. din adresse o.l. til at udsende medlemsblade/magasiner, prmier o.l. s det er vigtigt at disse data altid er korrekte. HVAD ER DET FOR EN GENVEJSPALETTE DER ER P FORSIDEN? Genvejspaletten (der ivrigt kan ns p alle sider dia "GENVEJE" i toppen) er en palette hvor du kan samle dine egne informationer, genveje, favoritopskrifter o.l.. Den verste linie er genveje til dine ting p klubsiden, den nederste er til at redigere dine ting. OM AT OPRETTE INDHOLD HVORFOR KAN JEG IKKE SKRIVE? - Det krver at du er medlem af Weber Klubben for at kunne skrive indhold i klubben. Et standard medlemsskab er gratis, og kan oprettes ved at klikke p BLIV MEDLEM grafikken i toppen til hjre p forsiden. HVORDAN OPRETTER JEG BILLEDER I BLOGGEN? - Du kan gre det p 2 mder - alt efter hvordan de skal vises. 1. Opret via editor: Her indstter du billedet i indlgget ved at klikke p billedikonet og vlge det billede du nsker. Page 142 of 179

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Du kan p den mde placere billederne iomellem teksterne 2. Opret billedgalleri: Her uploader du billederne i bunden af dit blogindlg - og s vises de i siden, med mulighed for at klikke p dem og bladre dem igennem i en stor version.

- Billederne skaleres automatisk, men tnk alligevel over kun at have dem i 800 pixels bredde og 72 DPI, s fylder de mindre og loades hurtigere.

OM "MEST AKTIVE" LISTER P FORSIDEN HVORDAN KOMMER MAN P DE forskellige "MEST AKTIVE..." LISTER? - Vi mler medlemmernes aktiviteter over en 14 dages periode - sledes at der konstant fratrkkes de aktiviteter man lavede for 15 dage siden. Pden mde er det nemmere at komme p listen - og alle har en god chance for at vre p hitlisten. OM "DIPLOMER" OG "REWARDS" HVORDAN FR JEG DIPLOMER OG REWARDS? - Hvis du gerne vil belnnes for flid eller interesseomrder har Weber Klubben forskellige ikoner. KLIK HER for at se hvordan de tildeles.

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Appendix 17 Member Interviews

Name: Thomas Age: 27 years Profession: Business supervisor in Jyske Bank 1) Why did you become a member of Weberklubben.dk? Mainly because I wanted to use the forum with recipes, which also provided the opportunity to see what others have made at their Weber grills. 2) From where did you hear about Weberklubben.dk On Google. I searched for Weber and recipes. 3) What do you achieve from being a member of Weberklubben.dk? Inspiration for new recipes and it can also keep me updated on new accessories for the grill, but I use it mostly for the recipes. 4) From where comes your loyalty to Weber? My father purchased a Weber grill some years ago, and I was inspired by the opportunities the grill had vs. an ordinary grill. So I've probably seen it in action by family, where we more and less all have a Weber 5) How has your membership of Weberklubben.dk strengthened your loyalty to Weber? I do not know if it has given me a greater loyalty, but it has helped me get the most out of the product. It gives a great experience that Weber continues to desire that I get the most out of the product, which is also pertinent after the purchase 6) If you are not a VIP member of Webklubben.dk, what would make you become one? n/a

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7) What does Weberklubben.dk offers you that can make you recommend it to others? Recipes, Weber magazine Continuous updates on new products and plenty of inspiration for how the grill can be used. 8) What can Weberklubben.dk offer you that other grilling communities cannot (eg Grillguru.dk or weberforum.dk)? I've used other grills sites for the same as Weberklubben.dk, so I will not say that they have no clear advantage vs. the other. 9) What does it mean to you as a member that it is an official community and not a user-generated / unofficial community? It does not matter for me because it gives me no added value that the page is an official Weber site. 10) What does it mean to you as a member of Weberklubben.dk that you can share your grilling experiences and learn about others? It is the primary reason why I am a member. So I can get inspired from others. I do not think I would be a member of Weber Klubben, if this feature had not been established.

Name: Pia Age: 39 Profession: library assistant http://www.weberklubben.dk/Default.aspx?ID=1127&User=882 1) Why did you become a member of Weberklubben.dk? To be a member of the best grilling community in Denmark:) 2) From where did you hear about Weberklubben.dk From the editor when the club was launched. 3) What do you achieve from being a member of Weberklubben.dk? Good friends, inspiration, good experiences 4) From where comes your loyalty to Weber? The good experiences with people from Weber. The good product, good experiences. 5) How has your membership of Weberklubben.dk strengthened your loyalty to Weber? Page 145 of 179

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See question 4 6) If you are not a VIP member of Webklubben.dk, what would make you become one? I am. I have been from day 1 7) What does Weberklubben.dk offers you that can make you recommend it to others? Community, super experiences, training activities, Weber camp 8) What can Weberklubben.dk offer you that other grilling communities cannot (eg Grillguru.dk or weberforum.dk)? Far more members, offers, events, better mood. I disappeared from grill guru due to extreme bad mood and mismanagement. 9) What does it mean to you as a member that it is an official community and not a user-generated / unofficial community? It is obviously top-managed as it is not users themselves who decide. It has not, until now, had any influence on my use of the club. I myself am supporter of the 12th year at Denmark's largest community for horse and we have tried with much larger participation from users. It is something near impossible to please everyone.

Name: Allan Age: 23 years Profession: IT Supporter 1) Why did you become a member of Weberklubben.dk? To find inspiration and to talk with people who have the same passion as me 2) From where did you hear about Weberklubben.dk I found it online a late night 3) What do you achieve from being a member of Weberklubben.dk? I get joy, inspiration, friends 4) From where comes your loyalty to Weber? Well, my dad has had Weber for 15 years, and then I got a Weber as wedding gift that has been used extensively

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5) How has your membership of Weberklubben.dk strengthened your loyalty to Weber? You learn a lot of things here, both good and bad things about the Weber you are also closer to Weber if there is something wrong, they are really good to help:) 6) If you are not a VIP member of Webklubben.dk, what would make you become one? I am:) 7) What does Weberklubben.dk offers you that can make you recommend it to others? Cosyness, good inspiration, super cool arrangements. 8) What can Weberklubben.dk offer you that other grilling communities cannot (eg Grillguru.dk or weberforum.dk)? I think it's more fun with an officially Weber forum, so there is more help available, plus there are more users on weberklubben.dk 9) What does it mean to you as a member that it is an official community and not a user-generated / unofficial community? This means you are closer to the supplier, and the people who are making a living of them.

10) What does it mean to you as a member of Weberklubben.dk that you can share your grilling experiences and learn about others? It means a lot because it's nice to be able to help others and get help when you have a problem. Plus I have great pleasure in being able to see interesting stuff others are doing: D

Name: Birthe Age: 50 years Profession: Kkkenassisten http://www.weberklubben.dk/brugerprofil/profil.aspx?User=3757

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1) Why did you become a member of Weberklubben.dk? Because I'm a grilling geek who has grilled for many years 2) From where did you hear about Weberklubben.dk I heard about Weber Klubben from former members of Grillguru.dk 3) What do you achieve from being a member of Weberklubben.dk? A lot of inspiration and good grilling friends 4) From where comes your loyalty to Weber? I've always grilled on the Weber, but has also switched to other brands, notably Oval Kamado Junior and a JBI Kamado (as can be seen on Grilklubben.dk where I belong). 5) How has your membership of Weberklubben.dk strengthened your loyalty to Weber? I do not know if my loyalty to Weber has been stronger, but I find plenty of inspiration for good grilling experiences here. 6) If you are not a VIP member of Webklubben.dk, what would make you become one? I am a VIP member. 7) What does Weberklubben.dk offers you that can make you recommend it to others? Good recipes 8) What can Weberklubben.dk offer you that other grilling communities cannot (eg Grillguru.dk or weberforum.dk)? I do not think the club can offer me so much, since I am mostly active on Grillklubben.dk

9) What does it mean to you as a member that it is an official community and not a user-generated / unofficial community? n/a

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Name: Hanne Age: 47 Profession: Manager

http://www.weberklubben.dk/Default.aspx?ID=1127&User=9619 1) Why did you become a member of Weberklubben.dk? To get inspiration for grilling. 2) From where did you hear about Weberklubben.dk? Got a free issue of the club magazine Grillerier at my dealer 3) What do you achieve from being a member of Weberklubben.dk? Inspiration, a lot of good recipes, the possibility of interaction with other barbecue enthusiasts the opportunity to share its own experience. 4) From where comes your loyalty to Weber? From the sovereign good products. 5) How has your membership of Weberklubben.dk strengthened your loyalty to Weber? I have not considered. 6) If you are not a VIP member of Webklubben.dk, what would make you become one? I am a VIP member. 7) What does Weberklubben.dk offers you that can make you recommend it to others? Good inspiration, happy people, a benefit program under constant development, my enthusiasm for grilling is maintained with regular visits to the website :-) 8) What can Weberklubben.dk offer you that other grilling communities cannot (eg Grillguru.dk or weberforum.dk)? Greater clarity and more simple to use than Grillguru.dk and weberforum.dk 9) What does it mean to you as a member that it is an official community and not a user-generated / unofficial community?

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This means that it is more serious - not full of users who use any poor language in an ugly tone. But it might very well actually be just as seriously if it was a user generated / unofficial community :-)

Name: Rasmus Age: 33 Profession: National Courts and the webmaster

http://www.weberklubben.dk/brugerprofil/profil.aspx?User=28130 1) Why did you become a member of Weberklubben.dk? To get inspiration for grilling, and get help with other problems I might have, and be able to help others. 2) From where did you hear about Weberklubben.dk Google 3) What do you achieve from being a member of Weberklubben.dk? Knowledge and pleasant solidarity, get to know new people 4) From where comes your loyalty to Weber? I have only had a Weber for one year. I have tried several types but Weber is easier to use and it is easier to manage heat in a Weber, than in an ordinary grill 5) How has your membership of Weberklubben.dk strengthened your loyalty to Weber? I have discovered that grilling is not just grilling, a grill can be used for more than just sausages and steaks. 6) If you are not a VIP member of Webklubben.dk, what would make you become one? yes 7) What does Weberklubben.dk offers you that can make you recommend it to others? recipes knowledge helpfulness unity

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8) What can Weberklubben.dk offer you that other grilling communities cannot (eg Grillguru.dk or weberforum.dk)? recipes knowledge helpfulness unity 9) What does it mean to you as a member that it is an official community and not a user-generated / unofficial community? You know that what comes from the editor is true and they have knowledge about the things they talk about 10) What does it mean to you as a member of Weberklubben.dk that you can share your grilling experiences and learn about others? A lot, you learn something new all the time

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Appendix 18 - WSM

Welcome to the Weber Smokey Mountain ago http://www.weberklubben.dk/tema-sider/temaside_wsm/wsm-omr%C3%A5det.aspx This is where we talk about EVERYTHING that has to de with smoke on the grill, low-and-slow and similar topics. We are Eddy and Morten, we both members of the Danish National Grilling Team - and we are really WSM-geeks. So do you have the same vice as us - smoke and food that takes a long time then welcome to paradise!

Velkommen til Weber Smokey Mountain-siden Det er her, vi snakker om ALT, der har med rg p grillen, low-and-slow og lignende emner. Vi hedder Eddy og Morten, vi er begge med p Det Danske Grilllandshold - og vi er virkelig WSMnrder. S har du samme last som os - rg og mad, der tager lang tid - s velkommen til paradis!

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Appendix 19 Weber Q

Welcome to the Weber Q-side http://www.weberklubben.dk/tema-sider/tema_weber_q/weber_q-omr%C3%A5det.aspx We are Lucinda and Meyer, and we editors here at the Q-area. What we love about the Q is that you can do EVERYTHING on it. There are no boundaries and there is plenty to play with. At this site, it's just about the numerous opportunities you get with a Q in your grill park. So take a look - everything is possible

Velkommen til Weber Q-siden Vi hedder Lucinda og Meyer, og vi er redaktrer her p Q-omrdet.

Dt, vi elsker ved Q'en, er, at du kan lave ALT p den. Der er ingen grnser, og der er masser at lege med. Her p sitet handler det netop om de utallige muligheder, du fr med en Q i din grillpark. S kig med - her kan alt lade sig gre.

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Appendix 20 Inspiration through Blog Post

Welcome to jettesp's Blog Show me your pastry # 4 http://www.weberklubben.dk/Default.aspx?ID=1133&action=ShowArticle&ArticleID=5370&Blog ID=146

Written by: jettesp Category: Open Discussion

27-01-2010

Today I had a lovely holiday. I have had time in three barbecue's. Ribs on WSM, liver pt on ball grill and baking at Q300. L of Fred's soft-dough was made. following is the scriptures. http://www.weberklubben.dk/Default.aspx?ID=506&PID=3312&NewsID=57 Half of the dough was pizza bread and the other half to Pizza Nail. After the dough had risen, the dough is divided into two halves, one half again was divided in two. The half was split in two was rolled out, spread with pizza sauce, sprinkled with ham and cheese and then rolled and shaped into a baguette and put on my flute-plate .. Likewise with the second part. Brush with egg / water iron deposits and translated to the uplift. The second half of soft dough was rolled to a big square. This got pizza sauce and diced tomatoes w / garlic. Sprinkled with ham and a little bit jalapenos from glass and once grated cheese. Roll the dough together and cut into suitable slices, brush and half were also given a time bacon cubes. Q300 is turned on at full flame on both burners. Later adjust the temperature of the inner burner. First, the flutes was baked and then the snails. I have purposely made the filling as simple as possible and failed and come e.g. pineapple in. .. it makes that example. Flute easier to fill with salad and some instruction to the children's lunches. Since my children have flown the nest, so I think I will surprise a colleague's children with lunch break:) The images come in without text in between. Hope it's ok.

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Comments

Re: Show me your pastry# 4 Written by: Pops (inactive) Woaw .... it looks really look good ...... it gives saliva so it splashes! Thanks for the inspiration .... Saturday I have plans to play with pizza - will try to make you art for! BEAUTIFUL! vh - Per :-) 29 January. 2010

Re: Show me your pastry# 4 Written by: SFJ 2010 WOW - that's good enough some appetizing pictures. Well told and well photographed. Thank You! / / Soren 28th January.

Re: Show me your pastry# 4 Written by: HKA 2010 28th January.

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It looks super delicious Jette. Henry

Re: Show me your pastry# 4 Written by: Vium Jensen 27th January. 2010

HOW Jette, who has been a time in the ..... The blddej is just incredibly beautiful and easy to bake with ..... Will think that your pizza baguettes and snails must be copied into the weekend here with us .... Thank you: o) Mvh Max

Re: Show me your pastry# 4 Written by: Bhoomi 27th January. 2010

I've got once again note that you do not do anything half - here is good enough some super ideas for kids. it looks really good; c)

Re: Show me your pastry# 4 Written by: Hasse 27th January. 2010

It looks really good it here. But then, there has indeed been a time in the grill of hjmme with you today ... Although with such a day ... Sincerely. Hasse :-)

Re: Show me your pastry# 4 Written by: Hedegaard Looks super out Jette! I might come by tomorrow and get supplies for lunch:) They are currants on WSM, they come in another blog post? 27th January. 2010

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Re: Show me your pastry# 4 Written by: Big Dad 27th January. 2010

team as they look good solid basis, it should then almost tested the kids would then be crazy :-)

Re: Show me your pastry# 4 Written by: Hannibal It looks crazy delicious. Well done. Lovely with a baking day :-) Tanja 27th January. 2010

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Velkommen til jettesp's Blog Vis mig dit bagvrk #4 Skrevet af: jettesp Idag har jeg haft en dejlig fridag. Jeg har haft gang i 3 grills. Ribs p Wsm, leverpostej p kuglegrillen og bagning p Q300. L af Freds blddej blev lavet. efter foreskrifterne. http://www.weberklubben.dk/Default.aspx?ID=506&PID=3312&NewsID=57 Halvdelen af dejen blev til pizzaflutes og den anden halvdel til Pizzasnegle. Efter dejen havde forhvet, blev dejen delt i to halvdele, hvoraf den ene halvedel igen blev delt i to. Den halvdel der blev delt i to blev rullet ud, smurt med pizzasauce, drysset med skinke og ost og derefter rullet sammen og formet til et flute og lagt p min fluteplade.. Liges med den anden del. Pensles med gge/vand strygelse og sttes til efterhvning. Anden halvdel af blddejen blev rullet ud til en stor firkant. Denne fik pizzasauce samt hakkede tomater m/hvidlg. Drysset med skinke og en lille smule jalapenos fra glas og en gang revet ost. Dejen rulles sammen og skres i passende skiver, pensles og halvdelen fik ogs en gang bacontern. Q300 tndes p fuld blus p begge brndere. Senere justeres temperaturen med den inderste brnder. Frst blev flutesne bagt og herefter sneglene. Jeg har med vilje lavet fyldet s enkelt som muligt og undladt og komme f.eks. ananas i... det gr at f.eks. flutene nemmere kan fyldes med salat og noget plg til brnenes madpakker. Da mine brn er fljet fra reden, s tror jeg at jeg vil overraske en kollegas brn med madpakkebrd :) 27-01-2010

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Billederne kommer p uden tekst imellem. Hber det er ok.

Kommentarer

Re: Vis mig dit bagvrk #4 Skrevet af: Pops (inaktiv) 29. Januar. 2010

Woaw.... det ser f..... bare godt ud det der...... det giver mundvand s det plasker! Tak for inspirationen.... lrdag har jeg planer om at lege med pizza - vil prve at gre dig kunsten efter! FLOT! vh - Per :-)

Re: Vis mig dit bagvrk #4 Skrevet af: SFJ 28. Januar. 2010

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WOW - det er da godt nok nogle appetitvkkende billeder. Godt fortalt og godt fotograferet. Takke! //Sren

Re: Vis mig dit bagvrk #4 Skrevet af: Hka Det ser super lkkert ud Jette. Henrik 28. Januar. 2010

Re: Vis mig dit bagvrk #4 Skrevet af: vium jensen 27. Januar. 2010

SDAN Jette, der har vret gang i den..... Den blddej er bare utrolig dejlig og nem at bage med..... Tror vist at dine pizzaflutes og snegle skal kopieres i weekenden, her hos os .... Tak for det :o) Mvh Max

Re: Vis mig dit bagvrk #4 Skrevet af: Bhoomi 27. Januar. 2010

Jeg m jo endnu en gang konstatere at du ikke gr noget halvt - her er godt nok nogle super gode ideer til brnene. det ser rigtigt godt ud ;c)

Re: Vis mig dit bagvrk #4 Skrevet af: Hasse 27. Januar. 2010

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Det ser rigtig godt ud det her. Men s har der da ogs vret gang i grillerne hjmme hos dig i dag... Sknt med sdan en dag... Mvh. Hasse :-)

Re: Vis mig dit bagvrk #4 Skrevet af: Hedegaard 27. Januar. 2010

Ser super ud Jette !! Jeg kan godt komme forbi i morgen og hente forsyninger til madpakken :) De der ribs p WSM, kommer de i et andet blog indlg ??

Re: Vis mig dit bagvrk #4 Skrevet af: Big Dad 27. Januar. 2010

hold da fast de ser gode ud, det burde da nsten prves, ungerne ville da blive helt vilde :-)

Re: Vis mig dit bagvrk #4 Skrevet af: Hannibal Det ser vild lkkert ud. Godt get. Dejligt med en bage dag :-) Tanja 27. Januar. 2010

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Appendix 21 Weber Camp 2010

Denmark's largest barbecue rally for all of us fans Weber http://www.weberklubben.dk/nyheder_-_events/weber_camp_-_%C3%A5rets_grilltr%C3%A6f/ weber_camp_2010.aspx

For the third time Weber Klubben now opens its doors to Weber Camp 2010, Denmark's absolute largest barbecue - the place where you can meet hundreds of other barbecue fanatics, all eager to enjoy themselves together and share their knowledge on to grill. - It is simply the most amazing weekend, one can imagine - There is just too long for next year ... This is what Weber Klubben member HKA said after last year's Weber Camp, and there is no doubt that Weber Camp is something that goes in the blood of people.

An experience of a lifetime The first year 175 barbecue enthusiasts attended to camp, last year nearly 300 attended, and this year we expect more than 450 people gathered in Give to give each other a decent game of smoke and enjoy themselves together around the barbecue. The atmosphere is first class - and friendships for life are being made, when you have fun together around the lighted barbecue. That one also comes home with a lot of new knowledge that can be used for grilling night after night, is just another advantage.

Booth-street, entertainment and gala banquets ... The weekend begins Friday 4th June 2010 for most, but several obtain themselves an extra day off and arrive already Thursday. Friday evening usually features communal eating, where you either bring your own food or volunteer at our improvised grill-yourself-buffet. Then there may be professional content - and usually the evening ends with a musical touch before the cosyness continues at the huts, tents or caravans. Saturday offers various booths and competitions, before preparations for the big gala banquets with entertainment and fun. The party usually do not end until early in the morning - and it is often a flock bleary-eyed Weber Camp participants who come

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to common breakfast Sunday. Task at camp This year everybody get a task at camp - that way we ensure a better implementing. You will receive detailed info about the distribution of work by registering for the camp Friday 4th June. It does guarantee a great experience, because in this way we all contribute to a really good Weber Camp 2010!

Register now via e-shop! You must sign up now via E-shop. Pre-registration has already been started and it is now, you must activate your subscription by payment. This will make sure a "valid" access to Weber Camp 2010. ATTENTION! It is not enough just to pre-register - payment must be Weber Klubben in hand no later than the first June 2010.

Sign up here

Are you only in for the booth-street? If you cannot stay the entire weekend do not fear! Take your car and go to Give Saturday to take a walk in the booth-street. The price to get a taste of barbecue booth and watch shows is 75 kroner. Register your arrival at Airstream. Are you having guests Saturday, they have to visit the campsite reception first, after which they can register themselves in the Airstream.

We look forward to seeing you all ... Welcome!

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Danmarks strste grilltrf for alle os Weberfans For tredje gang lukker Weber Klubben nu drene op for Weber Camp 2010, Danmarks ubetinget strste grillfest - stedet, hvor du kan mde hundrededevis af andre grillfanatikere, som alle brnder for at hygge sig sammen og dele ud af deres viden om at grille. - Det er simpelthen den mest fantastiske weekend, man kan forestille sig - nu er der bare alt for lang tid til nste r ... Sdan sagde Weber Klubben-medlemmet HKA efter sidste rs Weber Camp, og der er ingen tvivl om, at Weber Camp er noget, der gr i blodet p folk.

En oplevelse for livet Frste r deltog 175 grillentusiaster p campen, sidste r deltog nsten 300, og i r forventer vi, at mere end 450 personer samles i Give for at give hinanden en ordentlig omgang rg samt hygge sig sammen omkring grillen. Stemningen er i top - og der bliver knyttet venskaber for livet, nr man hygger sig sammen om den tndte grill. At man derudover kommer hjem med en masse ny viden, man kan bruge til sine grillerier aften efter aften, er blot endnu et plus.

Bodgade, underholdning og gallafest ... Weekenden begynder fredag 4. juni 2010 for de fleste, men adskillige snyder sig til en ekstra fridag og ankommer allerede torsdag. Fredag aften byder som regel p fllesspisning, hvor man enten selv medbringer sin mad eller melder sig p vores improviserede grill-selv-buffet. Herefter kan der vre fagligt indhold - og som regel sluttes aftenen af med et musikalsk indslag, inden hyggerierne fortstter ved hytterne, teltene eller campingvognene. Lrdag byder p forskellige boder og konkurrencer, fr der gres klar til den store gallafest med underholdning og hygge. Festen plejer frst at slutte ud p morgenen - og det er ofte en flok klatjede Weber Camp-deltagere, der kommer til flles morgenmad sndag.

Arbejdsopgave p campen I r fr alle en arbejdsopgave p campen - p den mde sikrer vi en bedre gennemfrsel. I vil modtage nrmere info omkring uddeling af arbejdsopgaver ved indregistrering til selve campen

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fredag 4. juni. Der er alts garanti for en fantastisk oplevelse, da vi p denne mde alle sammen bidrager til en rigtig god Weber Camp 2010!

Tilmeld dig nu via E-shoppen! Du skal tilmelde dig nu via E-shoppen. Forhndstilmeldingerne har allerede vret i gang, og det er nu, du skal aktivere din tilmelding ved betaling. P denne mde vil du sikre dig en "gyldig" adgang til Weber Camp 2010. OBS! Det er alts ikke nok bare at forhndstilmelde sig - betalingen skal vre Weber Klubben i hnde senest 1. juni 2010.

Tilmeld dig her

Er du kun til bodgade? Hvis du ikke kan vre med hele weekenden - s frygt ikke! Hop i bilen og stil mod Give lrdag for at g en tur i bodgaden. Prisen for at f en smag p boderne og se grillshows er 75 kroner. Meld din ankomst i Airstreamen. Fr du gster lrdag, skal de omkring campingpladsens reception frst, hvorefter de kan indregistrere sig i Airstreamen.

Vi glder os til at se jer alle sammen ... Vel mdt!

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Appendix 22 - Member Monitoring and Division by Member Types

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The monitoring of Weber Klubben has been executed by Allan Pontoppidan (2010)

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Appendix 23 Rewards and Diplomas

Rewards and Diplomas http://www.weberklubben.dk/altdetandet/wk-diplomer/f%C3%A5dineegnediplomer.aspx

As a member you have the opportunity to receive different rewards and diplomas at Weber Klubben. They are assigned mostly because you have participated in courses at GRILLERIET, or because you are active in an area of the club - Special theme pages.

It is a pure matter of opinion whether you are assigned the icon, but it will usually happen and you just have to approach the diploma responsible.

At present you can obtain the following rewards (proficiency badges):

Description Baking on the grill The diploma is given to people who are active on the baking-themed-site - or those who have participated in a baking course.

Gas barbecue-themed page The diploma is given to people who are active on the Gas barbecuethemed-site.

Christmas food on the grill The diploma was awarded to people who attended the "Christmas food on the grill" at the first course in 2007.

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MGM 1- The diploma was awarded the people who won a round of MGM competition in 2008 (also available in a second, third and fourth version).

Pulled Pork The diploma is given to people who have made pulled Pork and created blog entries about it.

Competition 1st place The diploma is given to people who have won a competition at Weber Klubben.

Competition 2nd place The diploma is given to people who have been number two in a competition at Weber Klubben.

Ranch Kettle Thediploma is given to people who own a Ranch Kettle (since it is so special).

Smoke on the grill The diploma is given to people who are active on the WSM-themed-site.

Sausage-diploma The diploma is given to people who have participated in Kimbis sausage workshop.

Weber Camp The diploma is given to people who have participated in a Camp Weber.

Weber employed The diploma is given to people who are employed by Weber-Stephen Nordic, so you can contact them by irregularities.

Special Award The diploma is given to people who have done something special for the club here you must adjust the others.

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Weber Q The diploma is given to people who are active on the Weber Q-theme-site.

Weber Q-editor The Star on all area-icons indicate that the person is the editor of this preoccupation. At present icons are not prepared for: Active at the Ball-BBQ area Moderator at the Ball-BBQ area.

At present you can obtain the following diplomas for course participation:

Description Baking on the grill The diploma is given to people who have participated in a baking course.

Well begun course The diploma is given to people who have participated in a beginner course.

Gas grill course The diploma is given to people who have participated in a Gas barbecue course.

Half cow on grill The diploma is given to people who have participated in Special Course Half Cow on the Grill Hunting & Wildlife The diploma is given to people who have participated in Special Course Hunting & Wildlife.

Christmas food The diploma is given to people who have participated in a "Christmas food on the grill" course. Grill national team - Special icon awarded current and former members of the Danish National BBQ Team

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Low & Slow - The diploma is given to people who have participated in a "Low & Slow" course.

Sausage Course - The diploma is given to those who have participated in one of Kimbis Sausage Workshops

Weber Q-course - The diploma is given to those who have participated in a Weber Q-course.

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Rewards & Diplomer Som medlem har du mulighed for at f tildelt forskellige rewards og diplomer p Weber Klubben. De tildeles som oftest, fordi du har deltaget p kurser p Grilleriet, eller fordi du er aktiv inden for et omrde af klubben - srligt temasiderne.

Det er en ren sknssag, om du tildeles ikonet, men det vil oftest ske, og du skal bare rette henvendelse til den diplomansvarlige.

Pt. kan du opn flgende rewards (duelighedstegn): Bagning p grillen Diplomet gives til folk, der er aktive p Bagetemasiden - eller folk der har deltaget i et bagekursus. Gasgrilltemaside Julemad p grillen MGM 1 Diplomet gives til folk, der er aktive p Gasgrilltemasiden. Diplomet blev tildelt folk, der deltog p "Julemad p grillen" ved frste kursus i 2007. Diplomet blev tildelt folk, der vandt en runde af MGM-konkurrencen i 2008 (findes ogs i en 2., 3. og 4. version). Pulled Pork Diplomet gives til folk, der har lavet Pulled Pork samt oprettet blogindlg om det. Konkurrence 1.plads Konkurrence 2.plads Diplomet gives til folk, der har vundet en konkurrence p Weber Klubben. Diplomet gives til folk, der er blevet nummer to i en konkurrence p Weber Klubben.

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Ranch Kettle

Diplomet gives til folk, der ejer en Ranch Kettle (da den er S speciel).

Rg p grillen Diplomet gives til folk, der er aktive p WSMtemasiden. Plse-diplom Diplomet gives til folk, der har deltaget i Kimbis plsevrksted. Weber Camp Diplomet gives til folk, der har deltaget p en Weber Camp. Weber-ansat Diplomet gives til folk, der er ansat ved WeberStephen Nordic, s du kan kontakte dem ved uregelmssigheder. Special Award Diplomet gives til folk, der har gjort noget srligt for klubben - her skal man indstilles af andre. Weber Q Diplomet gives til folk, der er aktive p Weber Qtemasiden. Weber Qredaktr Stjernen p alle omrde-ikoner indikerer, at personen er redaktr for dette interesseomrde.

Der mangler pt. at blive udarbejdet ikoner til: Aktive p Kuglegrill-omrdet Redaktr p Kuglegrill-omrdet.

Pt. kan du opn flgende diplomer for kursusdeltagelse:

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Ikon

Diplomnavn Bagning p grillen

Beskrivelse Diplomet gives til folk, der har deltaget i et bage-kursus.

Godt begyndt kursus Diplomet gives til folk, der har deltaget p et Begynder-kursus. Gasgrill kursus Diplomet gives til folk, der har deltaget p et Gasgrill-kursus. Halv Ko p Grillen Diplomet gives til folk, der har deltaget p special kurset Halv Ko p Grillen. Jagt & Vildt Diplomet gives til folk, der har deltaget p special kurset Jagt & Vildt. Julemad Diplomet gives til folk, der har deltaget p et "Julemad p Grillen" kursus. Grill Landsholdet Special ikon der tildeles nuvrende og tidligere medlemmer af Det Danske Grill Landshold Low & Slow DiDiplomet gives til folk, der har deltaget p et "Low & Slow" kursus. Plsekursus Diplomet gives til folk, der har deltaget p en af Kimbis Plseworkshops Weber Q-kursus Diplomet gives til folk, der har deltaget p et Weber Q-kursus

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Appendix 24 - www.weberklubben.dk

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Front page at www.weberklubben.dk

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