Social Media has particularly changed the landscape for brand management. A brand is now what consumers tell each other, it is no longer what firms tell consumers. This is due to the new dynamic networks formed through Social Media by consumers and brands. Businesses must pay attention to such consumer-generated brand stories to ensure their brand is successful in this competitive marketplace. Consumers have become significant authors of brand stories. Social Networks have empowered consumers to share their brand stories easily and widely, but most significantly gain a more important voice. The Brand community is defined as a self-selected group of people who share a system of values, standards, and culture. This community is characterized by shared rituals, traditions and a sense of moral responsibility. The three principles communities are built on include: feedback, advocacy and support as noted in a 2012 Comblu report. These are also pillars for a successful brand community.
As mentioned above, the marketing discipline is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Customer engagement is now much more important as the customer can notice, appreciate and share what you did for them. Brand communities are regarded as precursors of today’s online social networks, they connect consumers and enable many to many communications. Not only do they drive greater reach but add value for the user’s journey by encouraging conversation and improving existing customer relationships. Brand communities enables users to ask questions on forums and solve problems together. Participation leads to a variety of beneficial outcomes for the brand such as stronger loyalty and purchase intentions. Brand communities allow for consumers to connect through the brand’s linking value to collectively consume and negotiate brand meaning. This community enables the business to constantly listen and learn from each interaction and follow-up, allowing the engagement to be more relevant. Such engagement with customers, requires businesses to be bold and authentic as their brands will operate in a way which does not require censorship. With such authenticity, the brand can look to grow and evolve whilst meeting the needs and expectations of its valuable customer.
Can Service Providers in the Aged Care Industry adopt an actively engaged brand community to help drive innovation, customer loyalty and increase revenues?
If so, Service Providers must be willing to invest in time, be completely committed whilst ensuring that integration is across their business. But most importantly they need to be bold and authentic!
S.Gensler et al. / Journal of Interactive Marketing 27 (2013) 242-256