Brand Community: the Link for Long Life

October 19, 2021
Stacy Wells

People genuinely want to feel connected and have common associations with others. We need each other more than ever, which strengthens the importance of brand communities.

As one would predict, the worldwide pandemic has heightened the feeling of loneliness for many people. According to a Harvard report released earlier this year, 36% of all Americans are lonely.

"Loneliness affects one out of every three people in the United States." (Harvard)

The surprising aspect of this lonely scenario is that companies may play a pivotal role by establishing brand communities that can bring individuals together. 

Many companies don't really understand what a brand community is, let alone have what it takes to build one. However, the benefits are waiting for businesses that understand the core of who they are as a brand and translate that into a devoted organizatoin. 

For these reasons, we will explore the definition of a brand community and the significant advantages, such as consumer loyalty, marketing efficiency, and brand authenticity.

What Is a Brand Community?

A brand community is a group of customers who have a strong interest in the brand beyond merely the products. Community members adopt the brand's culture and engage in activities with others who feel the same. They identify and connect with the very ethos of the brand. In essence, it is far more than an organized association, it is a lifestyle. 

Participants in a brand's community extend beyond consumers who simply make purchases from the company's product line. It is essential to this set of buyers that they feel like they are a part of the company's culture. They connect with the mission and meaning of a brand. In turn, the company ideology is the core of the community relationship. 

A working brand community definition is a group of people who connect to a brand's mission and purposes. The brand's meaning serves as the core of unifying community relationships.

The Best Brand Communities

Several noteworthy brand communities have probably already come to mind. Apple, Harley Davidson, and GoPro all have profound levels of devotion when it comes to brand community examples. 

For decades I have been on the fringes of another one of the best brand communities. The Jeep family. This adventurous alliance is the biggest brand bunchesin the United States and started when Jeep released a model for civilians after World War II. 

My husband grew up driving a jeep without doors or a roof, which just so happens to be much more than a unique way to travel. Apparently, it's an elite bond with fellow Jeep owners. When it was rainy, he tied a tarp to the roll bars. He honestly believed he would dishonor his Jeep to put the top on. 

As part of the Jeep family, I've learned that you don't roll down the Jeep windows when it gets hot. The entire doors need to be removed. On the other hand, during the winter, it is acceptable to attach the doors. But the windows should be rolled down with the heat blasting. And speaking of blasting, only certain types of music should be played in a Jeep. 

After having multiple Jeeps, it's clear that this is much more than a truck. We have hooks in our garage to store the Jeep doors that spend way too long off the car. Also in the same garage is an electric lift that hangs the hardtop for at least half the year. 

I have to admit the Jeep Wave is pretty cool. In case you are unfamiliar with the particulars of the community waves, here's a handy illustration. 

The emergence of the Jeep wave was principally motivated by an expression of love and respect for fellow community member. The official explanation of the Jeep Wave is:

"An honor bestowed upon those drivers with the superior intelligence, taste, class, and discomfort tolerance to own the ultimate vehicle - the Jeep." 

Also, the friendly gesture is a fun way to greet a fellow Jeep driver, even if they are complete strangers.

Another code of conduct for the Jeep community is the hierarchy of the wave. Under no circumstances can you use the Jeep wave when you are not driving a Jeep. It's also not suitable for posers like "soccer moms" and "grocery getters."

Also, the lesser model vehicle needs to initiate the wave. The standard protocol is to return every wave to similar models (Sahara to Sahara, Rubicon to Rubicon).  In the end, it's better to wave than not, even if someone breaks the community customs and rugged decorum.

For the majority of Jeep owners, their Jeep is much more than a car. The automobile is an icon of freedom and independence. Much like my spouse, once people get a taste of the Jeep community, they are usually members for life.

Why Are Brand Communities Important?

To thrive and endure, companies require many clients who appreciate and even adore the brand. Businesses that have long-term success more often than not follow this path.

Brand communities bring together your most devoted consumers, which is a massive advantage for any business. Additionally, your audience will like interacting with members of these groups since they will be talking with others who share their interests.

While a brand's purpose might motivate customers to band together, it's not always the case. In reality, most successful companies have attracted a diverse group of loyal customers who are enthusiastic about the brand.

When brands and their devoted customers unite together, they can create a cohesive, rewarding association. 

Building Brand Community

Before covering the reasons to build a brand community, you should know that every company already has a community by default. In addition to your official brand Instagram and Facebook accounts, brand communities encompass everyone who talks about your business with their social media networks.

Finding the groups, connecting with them, and devising a strategy to persuade people to interact with one another are the first steps in community building.  

The Jeep Family has ensured the success of its brand for 80 years. In the very words of the group, ownership of the ultimate car is an honor and privilege given to those drivers who exhibit great intelligence, taste, class, and discomfort tolerance. 

Jeep has sold millions of "uncomfortable" automobiles because the club affirms the "honor" of ownership. The community pushes perpetual sales and massive customer loyalty.

Benefits of a Brand Community

What are the advantages of creating a community around your business rather than simply marketing and advertising it?

Brand communities are natural associations. The benefits they bring are primarily organic and should stay that way. Micromanaging your brand community can squelch the allure and actually damage the appeal.

The top advantages or brand communities are:

  • New customers
  • Increased sales
  • Brand loyalty

Given the importance of this social group as a business tool, you should make every effort to nurture the organization. 

In conclusion, here is a victory wave to wish you all the best with your brand community and business longevity!

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