In searching for our identities, we may define ourselves through. When marketers understand the human need the brand satisfies for the consumers, they can begin to develop and sponsor social events that promote these values. April Britt, director of global brand at FedEx, says, “People within the organization are our advocates. They believe that brand communities rarely exhibit extreme degrees of commitment as seen in certain consumption subcultures like Harley-Davidson, typically characterized by outsider and outlaw status. Searching for fresh ideas, they developed an online game, EteRNA, and invited the public to play. This model illustrates that the meaningfulness of the brand community is in the customer experience (the focal point) rather than in the brand itself. Their job is to set strategy and define the future of the brand, which requires extensive knowledge of business goals and brand assets. MINI also proudly fosters a solid network of customer communities—the MINI Family, as it’s called—connected throughout the world. Mac users share a creative lifestyle aligned with a certain aesthetic appeal that makes them stand apart from the masses. Brad D. Carlson, Tracy A. Suter, & Tom J. Given that people tend to define themselves according to group memberships. The brand and its consumers support the community, while the community takes care of the brand and its consumers. Whether you’re a shopkeeper, a contractor, a blacksmith, a professor, a doctor, or a lawyer, membership is open. In fact, one of the Golden Rules of Cult Brands, according to the authors, is their inclusive nature. This line of research focuses less on the brand community itself and more on the. One of the founders of social psychology Muzafer Sherif conducted his famous Robbers Cave experiment on intergroup conflict and cooperation.20 After boys were divided into two groups, each group spontaneously developed its own identity centered on group rules, individual roles, and a hierarchical structure. A brand community is a business strategy. In this model, community members play an interactive role in the social construction of the brand.31. The degree of extremism, in our view, is not a distinguishing marker that separates brand communities from consumption subcultures. For the latter, we develop a sense of ourselves through our interactions with others in the social collective. Yeah, but he knows I’m better at lifestyle, like music, pictures, movies, stuff like that.” In this exchange, PC is established as a traditional business person, stuck inside his box filled with spreadsheets, timesheets, and pie charts. For example, Harley owners share a special handshake that consolidates the brother-sisterhood of riders. This model highlights identity development as a process that occurs both within the individual and through social identification with the brand collective. All Rights Reserved. It is the transformation of the self, the individual, that is primary, rather than the secondary influence of the social collective. In Muniz and O’Guinn’s view, brand communities are believed to be distinguishable from marginalized groups that reject the prevailing culture. These unobservable bonds are felt among brand users, driven primarily through identification with the brand. takes a social constructionist perspective, the. Communities are the linchpin of our new approach to brand governance. Identity development is both a psychological and social process. Oppositional loyalty may decrease the likelihood that members will patronize the competition, and increase the likelihood of adopting new products from the chosen brand.23. We believe that customer service shouldn’t be just a department, it should be the entire company.” In fact, Zappos provides a four-week training for new hires where they are immersed in the company’s culture. Understand what needs your brand fulfills in your best customers. We decided that we wanted to build our brand to be about the very best customer service and the very best customer experience. White, W. R. Hood, and C. W. Sherif, Intergroup conflict and co-operation: Scott A. Thompson and Rajiv K. Sinha, “Brand communities and new product adoption: The influence and limits of oppositional loyalty,” Journal of Marketing 72 (2008) 65-80. In searching for our identities, we may define ourselves through fidelity towards certain ideas or causes. Don’t control the community. There is a relationship not just between the customer and the brand, but with other customers as well. In the book, The Power of Cult Branding, Harley- Davidson is profiled as one of nine brands that exemplify undying customer loyalty.12 While Harley-Davidson was originally embraced by single blue-collar males living in rural areas, today’s Harley nation reveals a diverse cross-section of America. Brand communities may exhibit high levels and even extreme degrees of commitment among their members. The central task of adolescence is identity formation in which childhood values and commitments are reconsidered and examined. That is a mistake. Life is Good fulfills a human being’s innate need towards self-actualization and possibly even transcendence, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. A brand community from a customer-experiential perspective is a fabric of relationships in which the customer is situated. Identifying the various communities and expressions of a brand is just the beginning. Find out what works. The color of your collar is irrelevant in this lively consumer culture. To take a step back, we need to find out how social connections are made, which brings us back to the issue of psychological brand communities. For Zappos, it’s more economical to determine a bad fit between an employee and the company early on in the relationship and weed out those employees who are not aligned with the brand’s culture. PC is personified as a stodgy man wearing a drab suit and tie, and square glasses. Becky Folds, managing director of consumer brand strategy at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, explains, “It’s about energizing fellow employees to have a common vision for a brand while also understanding that there are 36 or 37 different ways to get there.”, Take Disneyland’s water art. This White Paper was produced by Jenny Lee, PhD for the Cult Branding Company. © 1996-2020 Landor. PC is personified as a stodgy man wearing a drab suit and tie, and square glasses. Yet the phrase is not inaccurate. Friendships are born out of participation in shared activities, which are the main attractions that brand communities offer. This means that employees are just as important as consumers in fostering the brand’s image. In our view, brands categorized as extreme examples of brand communities, like Harley-Davidson, are not so dissimilar from brands like Apple. Community engagement amplifies the strength of the relationships consumers make with the elements of brand community and it has a moderating effect in translating the effects of such relationships on brand trust. This group includes product developers and client managers—and also external brand ambassadors and influencers. Prioritization is imperative. The term brand community, which first popped up in the 90’s, referred to groups of consumers with particular loyalty or affinity for a product or brand.