GETTING BRAND COMMUNITIES RIGHT

Presented by:

Muhammad Amad



Harley-Davidson (1983):
Faced extinction but 25 years later it become one of the top 50 brands with brand value of $7.8 Billion. It was due to Harley¶s commitment towards its brand community. Inspired by Harley¶s results and emergence of Web 2.0, marketers are building Brand Communities because in today¶s age people are hungry for a sense of connection.  

Few people still don¶t understand the benefits of Brand Communities and they have serious misconceptions about them. On the basis of 30 years of researching, building and nurturing Brand Communities the researchers of this paper have identified 7 commonly held myths about such communities.

MYTH#1 A BRAND COMMUNITY IS A
MARKETING STRATEGY

The Reality: A Brand Community is a business Strategy It¶s a common mistake that companies relate their Community Building with marketing function. Harley Davidson in 1985 completely reformulated their business model around a Brand Community philosophy. They changed their corporate culture. Their operating procedures. Their marketing programs. Their governance structure so as to compliment their community strategy.

 

  

MYTH#1 A BRAND COMMUNITY IS A MARKETING STRATEGY (CONT¶D)
    

Harley¶s community was based on the Brotherhood of riders. Now how did they achieve this? Hired staff to organize community reach events rather than outsourcing such events. Employees became friends with the customers and were highly motivated. Many employees became riders and many riders joined the company. Executives were required to spend time with customers in the field and get insights from them. All major corporate decisions were taken by keeping in mind their effects on the community. Establishment of Harley Owners Group (H.O.G).  

MYTH#2 A BRAND COMMUNITY EXISTS TO
SERVE THE BUSINESS

The Reality: A Brand Community exists to serve the people in it.

  

Community based brands help people meet their needs. People join communities; For emotional support. To contribute to the greater good of all members. To promote interests and skills etc.

MYTH#2 A BRAND COMMUNITY EXISTS TO SERVE THE BUSINESS (CONT¶D)
 



Outdoorseiten.com A European website where hiking and outdoor enthusiasts exchanged information about their shared lifestyle e.g; Where is the best place to hike with children. Which shoes are best for rocky terrain etc. Eventually the community created their own Outdoorseiten brand of tents and backpacks. The community brand grew not from a need to express a shared identity but from a desire to meet member¶s specialized needs.  

MYTH#2 A BRAND COMMUNITY EXISTS TO SERVE THE BUSINESS (CONT¶D)

Often people are more interested in the social interactions that come from brand affiliations.
They join communities to build new relationships e.g. facebook, twitter, country clubs, Gold¶s Gym etc. Brand loyalty can be achieved in return for meeting people¶s community needs.  

MYTH#3 BUILD THE BRAND AND THE
COMMUNITY WILL FOLLOW

The Reality: Engineer the Community and the brand will be strong. Strategy Consultancy Jump Associates has identified three basic forms of communities affiliation; Pools. Webs. Hubs.

  

MYTH#3 BUILD THE BRAND AND THE COMMUNITY WILL FOLLOW (CONT¶D)

MYTH#4 BRAND COMMUNITIES SHOULD BE LOVEFESTS FOR FAITHFUL BRAND ADVOCATES

The Reality: Smart companies embrace the conflicts that make communities thrive. 



Communities are political and conflict is common. E.g. PlayStation gamers dislike xbox, Apple lovers hate Microsoft and Dell, Dunkin¶ Donuts coffee drinkers reject Strabucks. In 2002 Porsche launched Cayenne SUV. Owners of 911 models refused to accept it. It did not have the racing heritage and described Cayenne drivers as soccer moms who did not know anything about the brand. Even banned them from rennlist.com. Porsche responded with a new Ad campaign. 

  



MYTH#5 OPINION LEADERS BUILD STRONG
COMMUNITIES

The Reality: Communities are strongest when everyone plays a role.

Opinion leaders are important because they spread information, influence decisions, and help bring new ideas but they are not all. Every member in a successful Brand Community plays his role, or take on a new role, or alternate between roles and solve tensions across roles in conflict.

MYTH#5 OPINION LEADERS BUILD STRONG COMMUNITIES (CONT¶D)

MYTH#6 ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE THE
KEY TO A COMMUNITY STRATEGY.

The Reality: Online networks are just one tool, not a community strategy.

   

Online social networks create lots of buzz, CEO¶s demand for a web2.0 strategy and the new technology presents opportunities to reach worldwide customers. But these networks have some limitations like; Antisocial behavior. Small in size. Brief online interactions may lead to weak social bonds. Large part of life still takes place off-line.

MYTH#6 ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE THE KEY TO
A COMMUNITY STRATEGY (CONT¶D).

  

Smart marketers use online tools selectively to support community needs. L¶Oreal has brands along two dimensions. Brands of authority Vs brands of conversation. Brands of authority(mainstream i.e. L¶Oreal) offer expert affiliation and advice in building community through heavy TV Advertisement featuring celebrity spokespeople. La Roche-Posay(niche brand of authority) nurtures a worldwide community of dermatologists to expertly represent the brand.

MYTH#6 ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE THE
KEY TO A COMMUNITY STRATEGY (CONT¶D).   

Brands of conversation thrive on social interaction and engagement. E.g. Garnier(mainstream) encourages well known bloggers to share what they are doing to make the world a better place. Kiehl¶s (niche brand of conversation) uses a grassroots focus on local charity sponsorships, in store customer bulletin boards, employee volunteerism in surrounding community. The goal of L¶Oreal community building strategies is to always stay connected with the people.

MYTH#7 SUCCESSFUL BRAND COMMUNITIES ARE
TIGHTLY MANAGED AND CONTROLLED

The Reality: Of and by the people, communities defy managerial control.

  

Excessive control has been common to community management. Coca-Cola pulling off its soda in 1985. Microsoft stifling its internal blogger Robert Scoble. Hasbro suing fans for publishing contents based on its brands. Brands communities are not corporate assets, they should be nurtured and facilitated by the company rather than controlled. 

MYTH#7 SUCCESSFUL BRAND COMMUNITIES ARE TIGHTLY MANAGED AND CONTROLLED (CONT¶D)
     

Vans(skateboarding shoes) Built community through support rather than control. Stayed close with fans to study their preferences. Worked with lead users to co-design new products. Opened privately owned skate parks. Sponsored Warped Tour a travelling music festival to support its customers¶ love for music. Realized a need to have a national skateboarding championship.

In short««« ³Community is an effective strategy if it is approached with the right mind-set and skills. A strong brand community increases customer loyalty, lowers marketing costs, presents true meaning of the brand, generates new ideas to grow business´

HARLEY DAVIDSON CENTURY COMMERCIAL

THAT¶S ALL THANKS!!!!!!!!!

Recommended website www.brandcommunity.hbr.org