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Netnography and Design Thinking: Development and Illustration in the Vegan Food Industry

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/02/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Marketing
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date11/02/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Purpose
This paper aims to strengthen the process of design thinking by aligning it with netnography, specifically auto-netnography, which this paper asserts is particularly suited to the task of studying and enriching the actions of “designerly types” who seek to fashion monetisable businesses.

Design/methodology/approach
This paper conducts an auto-netnography with a structure divined from established design thinking theory – that of empathising, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing – to afford an understanding of how a popular health food influencer designs a successful vegan restaurant.

Findings
This paper illustrates the empathetic relationship between a long-term audience member and an entrepreneur/designer/marketer. The intimate cultural analysis reveals the nature of their symbiotic entwinement. In a way that few other methods could, the method shows how this sense of reciprocity, deepens over time.

Research limitations/implications
Conducting an auto-netnography is a prolonged and difficult task. Nonetheless, by revealing the rituals, expectations, roles and routines of content creators, designers and followers, this paper illustrates exciting possibilities for the enactment and development of design thinking in the marketing field.

Practical implications
Designerly types such as marketers and content creators should closely study, listen to and interact with consumers by using a similarly staged process that draws equally from design thinking and auto-netnography.

Originality/value
Prior to this study, existing research has not previously linked design thinking with either netnographic or auto-netnographic research.

Bibliographic note

This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.