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Building On-line Brand communities Strategies and Implications

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					Building On-line Brand
Communities: Strategies and
Implications
Dana A. VanDen Heuvel
Managing Director
BlogSavant
dana@blogsavant.com




P. Raj Devasagayam
Assistant Professor of Marketing and Management
Siena College
raj@siena.edu



                                              Decision Sciences Institute 2004 Annual Meeting
                                              MK-6: Net Marketing Track
                                              Monday, Nov. 22, 8:00-9:30am
Agenda

 Brand communities, elements, examples
 Virtual communities
 The case for change
 Weblog communities – inflection points
 Strategically building weblog-driven
 online communities
 Web community examples
Brand Communities

•   Network of customer relationships
•   Built on context and relevance of content
•   Mutual Responsibility
•   Traditionally connected through mass media
•   Company owns brand
•   Expressly commercial
                                 “A brand community is a
                                 specialized, non-geographically
                                 bound community, based on a
                                 structured set of social relations
                                 among admirers of a brand.”
                                 Muniz and O’Guinn (2001, p.412)
Elements of Brand Community

•   Consciousness of kind
•   Legitimacy
•   Rituals and traditions
•   Moral responsibility
•   Celebrate brand history
•   Share brand stories
•   Assimilate new brand users   “Brand communities represent a
                                 form of human association
•   Exchange                     situated with a consumption
                                 context.”
                                 - Muniz and O’Guinn (2001, p.426)
Exemplar Brand Communities

• Harley Davidson (41)
  – Harley Owners Group
• Green Bay Packers
  – Packer Experience
• Jeep
  – Camp Jeep, Jeep Jamborees
• Oracle
  – Oracle OpenWorld            Brand community is typically

• DeWalt                        manifested in geo-temporal
                                events that afford dispersed
  – Contractor’s Night          members the opportunity for
                                high-context interaction.
Virtual Communities

•   Non-geographically bound
•   “We-ness” – consciousness of kind
•   Produce and consume information
•   Multinodal networks
•   Marketers infiltrated
•   Academically focused
    – architecture and meaning   “affiliative groups whose online
                                 interactions are based upon
                                 shared enthusiasm for, and
                                 knowledge of, a specific
                                 consumption activity…”
                                 Kozinets (1999, p.3)
Virtual Communities

                                                                                   High self-

• Messengers become the medium                                                    centrality of
                                                                                 consumption
                                                               Devotee                            Insider
                        Social Structure
                     Loose               High         Weak social                                     Strong social
Group Focus
                                                        ties to                                          ties to
                                 Rings
 Information                                          community                                        community
                 Boards                    Lists
  Exchange
                                                               Tourist                            Mingler
    Social                                                                         Low self
  Interaction    Rooms               Dungeons                                     centrality of
                                                                                 consumption
                                                              Types of users found in virtual internet based
       The first types of virtual internet based              communities and their characteristics.
       communities that were of value to marketers.           Source: Kozinets (2000)
       Source: Kozinets (2000)


                                                                    “affiliative groups whose online
                                                                    interactions are based upon
                                                                    shared enthusiasm for, and
                                                                    knowledge of, a specific
                                                                    consumption activity…”
                                                                    Kozinets (1999, p.3)
The Case for Change

• 20-30% Annual internet usage growth
• Humanization phase of the internet Source: Richard Giles - Sun Microsystems, Australia




              Research       Commercial       Humanization
               Phase           Phase            Phase
The Case for Change

• 20-30% Annual internet usage growth
• Consumer distaste for “mainstream” content
• Brand weblogs typically represent high-quality, cutting-
  edge, unique content




                                             “While many blogs deal with
                                             mainstream content, their
                                             very nature makes them
                                             ideal for dealing with the
                                             [hard-to-monetize] tails of
                                             content.”
                                             - Mary Meeker, Morgan Stanley
The Case for Change

• Pay attention where customers are paying attention
• Competition for eyeballs in existing virtual communities
• Sheer growth of weblog space
The slowest rate at which the blogosphere has   On average, a new weblog is created every 7.4
doubled in size is once every 5 months          seconds.
David Sifry - Technorati                        Source: Technorati
The Case for Change

• Sharply lowered entry barriers (blogs)
  – Creating a blog takes minutes (literally!)
Building [Brand Blog] Communities


•   Community building as a corporate strategy
•   Cognitive dominance
•   Part product, part customer coalition
•   Create a community around yourself (company)
•   Shared, common reality
    – Stories, rhetoric, continuous attention
• Weblogs as a strategic brand communication tool
Blog Communities

• Personal voice
  – Refreshing, unfiltered, authentic voice
• Low barrier to publishing
• True, One-to-One Communication
  – Blogger-to-commenter or blogger-to-blogger
• Dynamic branding
  – Currency, relevancy, ongoing and engaging
• Improve findability online         “The power of the weblog is that
                                     it’s a personal voice getting out
                                     there.”
                                     – Michael Gartenberg - Jupiter Research
Blog Communities

• Unparalleled consumer agency




• Communal affiliation + passionate self-expression
• Brand co-creation
• Parity for “big national” and “intensely local”
Blog Communities

• Value in loyalty, which favors first movers
• Value in networks - weblogs build networks
  –   Comments
  –   Blogroll
  –   Trackbacks
  –   Links

                                “The best brands are not owned
                                by the manufacturers, the
                                producers, the businesses.
                                Rather, they are owned by the
                                people who love them.”
                                - Kevin Roberts, in Lovemarks: The Future
                                Beyond Brands.
Types of Brand Community Blogs


• Pre-launch blog (Worthwhile Magazine)
  – Time-to-market
  – “Beta Brand”
  – Search loves blogs
• Thought leadership blog
• More….

                              “Businesses can catch the
                              attention of a small, yet lucrative
                              market in a personal,
                              authoritative manner by using
                              blogs”
                              - Melissa Stock, Jupiter Research
Exemplar Blog/Brand Communities
• Nike Blog
    – The Art of Speed
• Red Hat Blog [http://blogs.redhat.com/]
    – Road show and executive blogs
• Channel 9 - Microsoft [http://channel9.msdn.com/]
    – Microsoft employees and developers talking, learning, and
      listening globally.
• General Motors Blogs [http://smallblock.gmblogs.com/]
    – Community for small block enthusiasts
• Google Blog
    – Insight into the news, technology, and culture of Google.
                 Thank You!
      Questions, Comments, Critiques?
Building On-line Brand Communities: Strategies
and Implications


Dana A. VanDen Heuvel
Managing Director
BlogSavant
dana@blogsavant.com




P. Raj Devasagayam
Assistant Professor of Marketing and Management
Siena College
raj@siena.edu
                                              Decision Sciences Institute 2004 Annual Meeting
                                              MK-6: Net Marketing Track
                                              Monday, Nov. 22, 8:00-9:30am

				
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