Mega-events brand meaning co-creation: the Olympic case

Nathalia Tjandra, Ivana Rihova, Sarah Snell, Claire den Hertog, Eleni Theodoraki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This paper aims to explore a multi-stakeholder perspective on brand meaning co-creation in the context of the Olympic Games as a unique mega sports event brand with a strong brand identity, to understand how the brand manager may integrate such co-created meanings in a negotiated brand identity. Design/methodology/approach: Using a qualitative methodology, the paper provides a tentative framework of co-created Olympic brand meanings by exploring the narratives of stakeholders’ brand experiences of the brand. Sixteen semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of Olympic stakeholders were conducted and analysed to identify key meanings associated with the Olympic brand. Findings: Through their transformational and social experiences of the Olympic brand, stakeholders co-create brand meanings based on Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. However, at the same time, they offer their own interpretations and narratives related to competing meanings of spectacle, exclusion and deceit. Alternative brand touchpoints were identified, including blogs; fan and sports community forums; educational and academic sources; and historical sources and literature. Practical implications: The brand manager must become a brand negotiator, facilitating multi-stakeholder co-creation experiences on a variety of online and offline engagement platforms, and exploring how alternative brand touchpoints can be used to access co-created brand meanings. Originality/value: The study contributes to tourism branding literature by providing exploratory evidence of how brand meanings are co-created in the relatively under-researched multi-stakeholder sports mega-event context.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Product and Brand Management
Early online date25 Sept 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sept 2020


  • Brand meaning co-creation
  • Olympic brand
  • Sports mega-events
  • Tourism branding


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