“Is a specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand.”
Albert M. Muniz, Jr. Thomas C. O’guinn’
The Characteristics of Brand Community are the following: Consciousness of Kind, Ritual & Tradition and Moral Responsibility.
Consciousness of Kind
It is obvious that brand members have a connectionto the brand itself but at the same time there is also a connection inbetween the community of brand members.
This community consists of different people in different ages from all over the world but nevertheless with common interests refering to the certain brands. In this manner everyone feels known and understood by each other and in comparison to that, it sets them apart from other brandmember communities. To separate these facts, consciousness of kind includes two significant parts: Legitimacy and Oppositional Brand Loyalty
Legitimacy means the differentiation between members. There is one part that is really ambitious and believer for the brand and there is another part that only prefers the brand because of opportunistic reasons. The so called “true members” are scepticsagainst the ones that use the brand because of wrong reasons.
By sharing information, experiences and knowledge, the loyalty of members towards the brand increases. This is definitly a strong advantage for the brand but in spite of that the marketing department has to force the problem that the members want to keep the infields out. Otherwise it is more difficult to reach new customer groups.
Ingeneral, Oppositional Brand Loyalty means the relation of brand member communities to
competing brands because it often happens that a brand has a direct competitor (e.g. Coca Cola vs. Pepsi). The brand members’ affinity to a brand is going to be stronger by recognizing characteristics of the competing brand that really does not fit to what they stand for.
Refering to Greenpeace there is,reasoned by the objectives they have, a special kind of community and of course a strong relationship between the members. They have the same targets, they want to reach the same results and they fight for the same things. Nevertheless the community consists of different people with totally different characteristics.
The Legitimacy also plays a meaningful role. For the community it is very importantthat the members really stand for the brand for the right reasons. They want people that support the main idea of Greenpeace.
The Oppositional Brand Loyalty actually appears mainly in comparison to brands that do not mainly focus on the protection of the environment. In this way people that are ambitious for social projects increase their loyalty for Greenpeace because they want to fight for theenvironment and against the companies that cause a lot of pollution.
Rituals and Traditions
Rituals and Traditions are social processes understood by all members of the community. It represents a shared consumption experiences with the brand and involve public recognition of other brand users. In order to maintain the culture of the community its meaning is reproduced and transmitted withinand beyond its members.
Celebrating the History of the Brand means that historical traits of a brand help the community to persist and reproduce its culture. It helps the brand to share its distinctiveness, beliefs and legacy through important events and people. Brand’s mythologies reinforce community values and add worth to the consumption experience.
The admiration of the brand storydifferentiates the true believers form the opportunistic. The more consumers are informed the easier they will become brand advocates. So brands are publishing communication material trough magazines as well as websites.
Storytellings are based on common experiences with the brand and sharing brand stories are significant for members. It is often to tell story about those who have left the community to...