How to inspire value-laden collaborative consumer-generated content

Albert M. Muñiz, Hope Jensen Schau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Marketing is evolving into true participatory conversations. Once-tidy, controlled marketing communications with distinct, identifiable corporate spokespeople are giving way to a messy tangle of market-based communications consisting of multiple authors including customers, competitors, observers, employees, and interested collectives. Amidst this, we find consumer-generated content (CGC) that is predominantly antithetical to previous studies, which assumed CGC to be inspired by personal brand attachment and/or the desire to see discrete-authored CGC disseminated, or even motivated by monetary reward. Authorship of collaboratively-produced CGC is virtually untraceable, unknown, and monetarily uncompensated. The true reward is the process, and the outcome is not reliant on technical prowess but rather semiotic manipulation, narrative manipulation, and complex brand character development. Consumers-especially those who are members of active consumer collectives-are skillful, proficient, and prolific in the creation of CGC, with high resonance among very engaged consumers. We advocate harnessing collaborative CGC efforts toward long-term marketing objectives, and offer a brief tutorial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-217
Number of pages9
JournalBusiness Horizons
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Brand community
  • Co-creation
  • Consumer collective
  • Consumer-generated content (CGC)
  • Marketing communications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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