Brand communities “the in thing”
Companies are adopting new approaches to enhance the brand power of their product. One such approach is that of developing brand communities. It owes its success to deeper sociological and anthropological roots of human behavior. We live together; we form communities of those thinking alike, of those who look alike, of those who speak the same language or have common methods of worship. Working on this philosophy, brand researchers in the mid-90s came to identify and classify the curious phenomenon of ‘brand communities’. People had started feeling kinship for using the same product. It made itself manifest most commonly among the users of the same vehicles like that of Ford, Saab, Jeep, Royal Enfield and, most famously, Harley Davidson. These brand communities with chapters in almost all countries welcome new members into their fold whenever a purchase is made. They organize events—rallies and off roading adventures. They share experiences, photographs and videos through the social media pages. They help each other in tackling vehicle specific problems. As a result, all members come to nurture fierce loyalties towards the brand. This kind of loyalty generates a lot of positive word of mouth. There is lot of storytelling. The parent companies, therefore, tend to spend less on advertising and other promotional activities. Now the phenomenon of brand communities has entered the electronics and IT field as well and people have developed affinities for each other on the basis of there being using the same phones, cameras or laptops.
Brand community is a social-marketing phenomenon that is heretostay.