Online community marketing of ski resorts : an in-depth best practice study of aspen/snowmass and breckenridge ski resort
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- Master Thesis 
Online brand community is a novel phenomenon that carries a number of benefits, but lack of clarity in antecedents of its effectiveness as a marketing alternative. Aspen/Snowmass and Breckenridge Ski Resort are two leading players in the ski industry, and this paper analyzes their activity in-depth in order to bring clarity by extracting implications on best practice. For the purpose, a tailor-made methodology is constructed. It consists of combining two analytical frameworks, interviews with ski resort marketers, triangulation, and interpretation. The first framework examines Types of Online Creative Consumer Communities and discovers that low wok-intensive actions of masses foster an unprecedented combination of reach and targeting. In turn, Framework of Value-Creating Practices in Brand Community Building discovers a spiraling pattern of engagement spun by participation of users in Practices. User-generated content plays a major role in the process, and the study grounds a claim that current focus on creating amazing content for users will partly move to aggregating great content by users. Further, as social media amplify personalities and give users more power, brands compete for attention by behaving like people. The change in consumer-to-brand relationship bolsters importance of authenticity. Embracing online communities as a marketing alternative creates value to both consumers and brands by how it helps attain the goal of getting the right message, to the right person, at the right time.