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Online conflicts regarding innovation-based brand positioning: The case of Samsung versus Huawei smartphones

Lookup NU author(s): KC Chandrasapth, Professor Natalia Yannopoulou, Professor Klaus Schoefer, Dr Darren KelseyORCiD


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This paper explores conflicts related to competitive brand positioning of innovation that emerge in online consumption communities. Drawing on consumer devotion literature, and consumption mediated social conflict, we explore how ideology-advocating conflict on product innovation affects the archetypal convention of devoted consumers by adopting a concept of archetype and collective unconscious as a lens to identify particular archetypes, especially the archetype of devoted consumer. Our study adopts the Multimodal Discourse-Mythological Approach (MDMA) because it offers us the chance to capture and analyse the diverse forms of data that are present in online conversations, such as text, image, sounds, symbols and emojis. This qualitative approach, enables us to then unpack the psychological mechanism of both conscious and unconscious which shows how consumers use archetypes in situations of brand conflicts. An online conflict into the most innovative smartphone brand between Samsung and Huawei is been chosen for examination, as both brands use innovation for their positioning. Our findings present how archetypes play an affective role in the consumer-brand relationship and how devoted consumers use archetypal conventions to (re)position their focal brand and competitors’ brand through a creation of consumer-shared stories. Through the psycho-discursive analytical framework of MDMA, this paper extends the theoretical concept of consumer devotion and identifies the characteristics of devoted consumers through an archetypal form. It also offers insights and practical guidelines of how social conflict and tension should be handled and regulated within consumer-organized communities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chandrasapth K, Yannopoulou N, Schoefer K, Kelsey D

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: In Press

Conference Name: 10th INEKA Conference

Year of Conference: 2019

Acceptance date: 17/02/2019

Publisher: INEKA