Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Fashion, Dress and Merchandising

Committee Chair

Kathryn A. Eason

Committee Co-Chair

Harry N. Boone, Jr

Committee Member

Nora M. MacDonald


One of the most impactful technologies to emerge from Web 2.0 developments has been the social network site. In traditional models of branded identity, it is assumed that there is a distinction made between the retailer and consumer (de Chernatony, 1999; Kapferer, 2008). However, social network sites allow for the formation of undetermined relationships in which the underlying role of a party may be unknown.;As social network sites continue to shape retail practices, a gap in knowledge exists regarding how models of branded identity need to be modified to meet the demands of these undetermined social network site relationships. Through the exploration of one social network site, this research provides the basis for understanding how a traditional branded identity model is affected by varying levels of disclosure on the part of both retailer and consumer.;Grounded theory provided the methodological framework for a deductive content analysis of manifest data (Elo & Kyngas, 2007; Hsieh & Shannon, 2005). Qualitative coding of images, videos, and the inclusion of unique comments supplemented the quantitative data. Four features from de Chernatony's (1999) model - brand vision and culture, brand positioning, brand personality, and brand reputation - served as the basis for deduction of themes from the retailer of study, Gap Inc., corporate literature. Representation of keywords in each theme accounted for the modification of deChernatony's (1999) model.;Results suggest that branded identity functions around the feature of relationships on social network sites, which allows for multi-directional communication between identity functions. Findings also suggest that consumer control on social network sites has created a two-way communication channel by which the retailer becomes an equal to all members. An amended version of de Chernatony's (1999) model represents the key features and themes associated with social network site relationship formation.