How fans became future shapers of an ice-cream brand: Towards the next frontier in conducting 'insight communities'

Tom De Ruyck Niels Schillewaert Martijn Van Kesteren Stephan Ludwig

BRANDS ARE JOINING THE CONVERSATION

Over the past years, stimulated by the rise of social media, ‘conversational marketing’ techniques have gained tremendous importance. Lots of books and white papers were published on the topic and a large number of companies have rolled-out a program to observe, feed and manage the offline and online conversations that are taking place about their products and brands. We may call it a paradigm shift in the way we think about marketing in general and marketing communications in specific: it is the end of advertising as we know it. The empowered consumer has taken over the power to market a product or brand partly. Smart companies listen to what people say about them and try to take action based upon it (Van Belleghem, 2010). They try to unlock the power of their brand fans or so called ‘super promoters’ (Vogelaar, 2009). Those fans will spread the word about a brand or product with enthusiasm and passion.