What is a Brand Community?
A brand community includes several, controllable parts, but the most important is the customer-to-customer interaction, where you have no control.
A brand community is a special place, where followers of a brand meet, physically or virtually, to find common place in the brand they like. These communities are essential for fans to express their love and discuss with other people, they interest in the brand. It is very common for brand communities to be outside of the brand's control. Brands can set up some form of structure, but essentially the interactions in the community is out of the brand's hands.
Brand Community - A place for all
When fans join a community of like-minded people, who share the same interest, they join without fear of being judged. Some people probably found the place, where they can spend hours after hours discussing their passion.
This realization describes one of the key identifications of a brand community:
The main ingredient of a brand community is their shared consciousness. They share the brand. They share an interest. The community has a shared love and passion for a specific thing. A prime example is Twilight, where fans meet to discuss the movies, the books, dress up, and join the fantasy of being a part of the Twilight Saga.
Rituals and Traditions
Rituals and traditions develop over time and become a large part of a community. When you are a part of this community, you do certain things in a certain way. Communities can have a specific language, greeting, clothes, etc. It is only the group that set the standards of the community.
Obligation to Society
As a community, there are also a lot of unwritten rules to follow. As a member of a brand community, you must also act in a way, that benefit the society you are in. In this case, you society is the community you have chosen to be a part of. Members help each other to optimize their meaning and enhance the group's values.
The relationship between parts
In a brand community, several parts interact with and without each other. Three of these four parts can be controlled partly by a brand, where as the last is customer-to-customer interactions, where control is very limited.
The other building block of brand communities are customer-product, customer-brand, and customer-company interactions. The company can control what is communicated towards the customers, giving some sort of control over these three relationships.
The first mentioned, customer-to-customer interaction is where the magic happens in a brand community. Customers can enhance the entire image of a brand through positive and engaging interaction, which will spread the joy and life of the brand to unseen heights.
So next time you think about creating a brand community, remember to set up a great foundation for your customers to interact, because it is the customer-to-customer interaction that is going to be worth a lot in the future!