How can unsatisfied consumers mobilize to gain attention and obtain the "right offer" from a firm? How the questioned firm may react to these demanding consumers? The present study attempts to answer to these questions drawing on a qualitative analysis of "Ridateci il Winner Taco" web based fans’ community. Our analysis, specifically focused on convenience markets, is based on the following key concepts: consumer power, institutional legitimacy, co-optation, working consumer. We address, in particular, the role of web-based brand communities in empowering consumers to take a greater stake in companies’ strategic choices, such as product portfolio selection and the strategies that enable consumers to achieve the desired product. We then conclude by discussing how firms, forced to deal with this new countervailing power, try to benefit from the engagement of empowered consumers, either by interacting on actual co-creation projects or by co-opting them and exploiting their creative force in order to regain control over the market.
Keywords: Consumer empowerment, institutional legitimacy, web based communities, convenience markets, co-optation, working consumer