Brand Communities

According to Muniz and O’Guinn

“brand communities are largely imagined communities”. (2001 p.426) “They are explicitly commercial social collectives centered around a brand, not incidental contact with commercial space… Community is arguably the fundamental social relationship often used to describe relationship marketing.”(427) “Deprived of their social connections, the value of these brands to consumers would certainly be diminished.”(427) “They (brand communities) provide social structure to the relationship between marketer and consumer. Communities exert pressure on members to remain loyal to the collective and to the brand.”(427) “We hold that brands are undeniably and fundamentally social entities created as much by consumers as by marketers in a complex and fascinating dance of social construction. This intersection of brand-a defining entity of consumer culture-and community-a core sociological notion-is an important one.”(428)

Brand community defined “a specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relationships among admirers of a brand.”(412)

  • Consciousness of Kind
    1. Legitimacy: Some community members are considered to be more central to the community than others. More legitimate members will be using the brand for the “right” reasons rather than the “wrong” reasons chosen by more marginal members.
      Oppositional Brand Loyalty: A common enemy such as Microsoft for both Mac and Linux OS proponents.
  • Rituals and Traditions
    1. Celebrating the History of the Brand: Landmark events such as innovations, victories, and pivotal happenings.
      Swapping Brand Stories: Common experiences with the brand, myths about those who leave the community, and communal use of older brand logos.
  • Moral Responsibility
    1. Integrating and Retaining Members: This is essential for the survival of the community.
      Assisting in the use of the brand: this is extensively demonstrated in Computer-Mediated Environments.

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