“Brands are not static, but highly dynamic. In the book, The Power of Cult Branding, Harley- Davidson is profiled as one of nine brands that exemplify undying customer loyalty.12 While Harley-Davidson was originally embraced by single blue-collar males living in rural areas, today’s Harley nation reveals a diverse cross-section of America. It’s the best because a bike is just a bike. In fact, Zappos provides a four-week training for new hires where they are immersed in the company’s culture. Albert Muniz, Assistant Professor of Marketing at DePaul University, and Thomas O’Guinn, Professor of Marketing at the Wisconsin School of Business, introduced the idea of a brand community, which they define as “a specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relationships among admirers of a brand.”. Strong communities provide a sense of identity to their members and become an integral part of their lives. When marketers understand the human need the brand satisfies for the consumers, they can begin to develop and sponsor social events that promote these values. This model highlights identity development as a process that occurs both within the individual and through social identification with the brand collective. James H. McAlexander, John W. Schouten, and Harold F. Koenig, “Building brand community,” Journal of Marketing 66 (2002) 38-54. This ensures that new employees, no matter their role, know exactly what Domino’s offers and what it stands for. Knowing the importance of the community in identity development, we can see how brand communities can further support the development of the virtue of fidelity, or in another word, . Mac, as a certified lifestyle brand, understands the emotional connection users have to their creative endeavors. Success comes from mobilizing the communities and giving them a shared sense of purpose and responsibility. These rituals and traditions help reinforce the shared consciousness among brand users. A shared consciousness is the connection members have with the brand and with one another. MINI also proudly fosters a solid network of customer communities—the MINI Family, as it’s called—connected throughout the world. This means that employees are just as important as consumers in fostering the brand’s image. Experts should also control the brand’s sacred expressions, as alterations to these have larger business implications. Whether you’re a shopkeeper, a contractor, a blacksmith, a professor, a doctor, or a lawyer, membership is open. Research on friendships has found that participation in mutually pleasurable activities may be a stronger motivator for friendship choice and maintenance, compared to the satisfaction in knowing that someone agrees with you.19 Friendships are born out of participation in shared activities, which are the main attractions that brand communities offer. Through its WOW initiative, every staff member is allotted $2,000 per day to offer guests the best possible experience. It’s insane. Other aspects of a brand can be opened up for even more creativity and risk. —Allegra Rich, Senior Director, Brand Identity, Comcast. is a marker of the individual’s psychosocial well-being, supporting a sense of identity, belonging, and purpose in life especially in relation to social groups. Brand leaders need to know how to identify and speak to the multiple audiences within their organizations, providing the right tools and guidance for each. They have strong knowledge of the why of the brand, but at a more general level than Experts. This line of research focuses less on the brand community itself and more on the. Brand communities may exhibit high levels and even extreme degrees of commitment among their members. The central task of adolescence is identity formation in which childhood values and commitments are reconsidered and examined. Mac users share a creative lifestyle aligned with a certain aesthetic appeal that makes them stand apart from the masses. To help new hires get up to speed on its wide range of menu choices, Domino’s turned the pizza-making process into interactive, digital learning modules. Yet in their separation, they stand together in their bonds of shared consciousness. We then assembled a panel of senior executives from leading global brands. With this perspective in mind, we take a closer look at the factors that foster community. The color of your collar is irrelevant in this lively consumer culture. The brand collective is tangible as an external construct as well as intangible so far as it exists within the mind of the individual. Erikson underscored the importance of the community in identity development. “We prioritize key strategic initiatives that support critical aspects of the long-range financial plan for the company.” All Rights Reserved. Through the lens of developmental and social psychology, we can better understand consumer behavior and the ongoing quest for identity. Given that people tend to define themselves according to group memberships. Last year we conducted a study—The Agility Paradox—analyzing what makes brands successful in today’s marketplace. He wrote, “Fidelity is that virtue and quality of adolescent ego strength which belongs to man’s evolutionary heritage, but which— like all the basic virtues—can arise only in the interplay of a life stage with the individuals and the social forces of a true community.”6 Beginning with adolescence and the life stages beyond, we identify with social communities that bring importance and meaning to our lives. Agility requires embracing a greater degree of risk, tolerating more failure, and ceding control—all behaviors that fly in the face of conventional branding wisdom. Although we’ve focused our attention on brand communities that are largely defined by social interaction, a different type of community has emerged in the literature: the psychological brand community.26 While social brand communities are composed of brand admirers engaged in social relations, a psychological brand community is “an unbound group of brand admirers, who perceive a sense of community with other brand admirers, in the absence of social interaction.”27 From this context, consumers can perceive a sense of community that precedes or even works in lieu of social interaction.