PRO-VE 11.9.2007Virtual customer communities:An innovative case from themedia industryMiia Kosonen & Hanna-Kaisa EllonenLa...
Virtual customer communities• Virtual community, in general, is a group ofpeople who use communication technologies forrep...
Research questions• The value of VCC’s is truly revealed with continuouscreation products, such as most media products tha...
Methodology• A single case study to explore a virtual customer community withinthe media industry• Information rich case: ...
The case community and customer rolesSupporting softwareSocial communityCustomersThe productHosting team ExpertsBuyers oft...
Community in product development 1/2• Customers have several roles: the empowerment ofcustomers may help them to commit an...
Community in product development 2/2• The community was involved already in the earlystages of implementation to provide v...
Lessons learned from the case• Advanced understanding on an emerging field ofresearch, virtual customer communities, and t...
Thank you!Miia KosonenDoctoral Student, M.Sc. (Econ.)Lappeenranta University of TechnologySchool of BusinessFinlandmiia.ko...
Thank you!Miia KosonenDoctoral Student, M.Sc. (Econ.)Lappeenranta University of TechnologySchool of BusinessFinlandmiia.ko...
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Virtual customer communities, case from the media industry

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PRO-VE Conference, Guimaraes, Portugal, 11.9.2007

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Virtual customer communities, case from the media industry

  1. 1. PRO-VE 11.9.2007Virtual customer communities:An innovative case from themedia industryMiia Kosonen & Hanna-Kaisa EllonenLappeenranta University of Technology, FinlandSchool of Business
  2. 2. Virtual customer communities• Virtual community, in general, is a group ofpeople who use communication technologies forrepeated social interaction to meet certain needs• Users/customers who share a certain interest,are eager to contribute through suchcommunities. They possess high levels ofknowledge about a specific domain.• Community relationships vary in depth andnature, and also the level of personalinvolvement
  3. 3. Research questions• The value of VCC’s is truly revealed with continuouscreation products, such as most media products thatinvolve continuous creativity and improvement• What are the different customer roles embedded in thevirtual customer community?• How does the community support continuous productdevelopment?
  4. 4. Methodology• A single case study to explore a virtual customer community withinthe media industry• Information rich case: Case organization pioneering and active inonline product development since 1990’s, case community launched6 months before the interview• We interviewed the community producer (theme interview) andobserved the community over a six week period to explore thecontent of the discussion forums and site functionality• A field diary and total textual dataset of ~70 pages• The data was analyzed thematically• The unit of analysis is the product, which, in this case, has twointegral parts: the supporting software product, and the socialcommunity (customers, hosting team, external experts).
  5. 5. The case community and customer rolesSupporting softwareSocial communityCustomersThe productHosting team ExpertsBuyers ofthe productUsers that usethe softwareand help eachotherResource thatsupplies informationand supportsinnovationCo-creatiors throughcontributing content to thecommunity and developingnew features
  6. 6. Community in product development 1/2• Customers have several roles: the empowerment ofcustomers may help them to commit and also pay theusage fee, since their contribution is visibly noted andvalued by the community organizer• It is possible to develop the product with a base ofpaying customers. Yet, to succeed in this endeavor, thecommunity should offer something the customers trulyneed and value.• Above all, the community allows the company to makemodifications in a continuous basis. This is important, asthe development of a media product is like ’building ahouse that will never become ready’.
  7. 7. Community in product development 2/2• The community was involved already in the earlystages of implementation to provide valuableinsights and developing new features.• ”As all user feedback was openly there, we did not receive massesof complaints about the same issue, and could work and close thecase out”• ”The quality of the product is gradually improved.”• ”The focal player is the community. We promote members’ feelingsof belonging by hearing their stories and reacting to their ideas.”• ” It does not have to be any major thing but small baits. One of thesebaits is that some members become ’messengers’. They arementioned in community newsletters and become testimonials forthe product: this is something that truly works.”
  8. 8. Lessons learned from the case• Advanced understanding on an emerging field ofresearch, virtual customer communities, and the relatedcustomer roles based on a case study from the mediaindustry.• Virtual community has potential– to support continuous product development with alarge base of paying customer– To combine commercial purposes, novel forms ofsupporting software, and Internet-enabled socialinnovation• Managerially, highlighting the importance of committingvirtual community members by explicitly valuing theircontribution, and cultivating sense of community.
  9. 9. Thank you!Miia KosonenDoctoral Student, M.Sc. (Econ.)Lappeenranta University of TechnologySchool of BusinessFinlandmiia.kosonen@lut.fi
  10. 10. Thank you!Miia KosonenDoctoral Student, M.Sc. (Econ.)Lappeenranta University of TechnologySchool of BusinessFinlandmiia.kosonen@lut.fi

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