Today's world seems to be driven by consumerism. However, as consumer brands shift from the present intent of offering an experience to offering an identity, consumers find themselves connected with others as fellow members of a branded community. Do some drivers choose to pay a premium for a BMW automobile purely for its unique performance capabilities, or perhaps for the message it conveys to themselves and the others around them? Likely the later, although possibly supported by the former through cognitive dissonance.
The implications of evaluating brands as communities, rather than static corporate impressions, are significant and represent a paradigm shift for both consumers and companies. All too often, brands are seen as a monolithic construct from the company to the consumer, rather than an open conversation between both the company and the consumer, and more importantly – from consumer to consumer. In fact, in some cases it could potentially transform traditional consumers into content, experience, or value creators, themselves.
This subject is of particular interest as advertising expenditures totaled more than $148 billion during 2007 in the U.S. Alone, according to TNS (2008). If branding and marketing efforts could be seen as community building rather than simply message promotion, marketers could potentially have greater effectiveness, consumer retention, and return per advertising dollar. The purpose of community building for brands should be to establish a deep personal relationship between the brand and the consumer, as well as between multiple consumers themselves.
There are several highly relevant social psychology theories that directly relate to community formation and identity for brands. Social identity, cognitive dissonance, self-verification theory, and observational learning all play a core role in the success of branded communities. It is this report's hypothesis that a better understanding of these core... [continues]
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(2008, 05). Brands as Communities. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 05, 2008, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Brands-Communities-149516.html
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