Relation between consumer

It is obvious that brand communities emphasize more upon relation between consumer and a brand. But it often fails in identifying the individualistic nature of the people to join the community, due to its collective approach. This universal nature of subject frequently gives rise to considerable amount of crisis pertaining to segmentation and motivation. However, a sincere effort has been made through this piece of paper, to explore the motivation factors behind joining such community with respect to significant population segmentation by reviewing adequately available literary sources.

According to Keller (2001, 2003) optimum level of brand connectedness can be achieved through state of resonance where customers are highly interactive, loyal and emotionally liable to the brand. They also try to experience the belongingness by recommending it to others or by obtaining themselves. However, brand community is a specific, structured non-demographic group of people who bound to certain set of social relations, respecting and fantasizing a single brand (Muniz and O'Guinn, 2001). But, McAlexander et al. (2002) in his study based on customer-centric model of brand community describes, studying brand community helps in understanding the un-quenched myriads of horizons of research including the reasons people joining brand communities. Although, all the descriptions stated above stress upon homogeneity and common understanding of a shared identity of brand members, Alegesheimer et al. (2005) uses potency of the customer combination to illustrate brand community. He demonstrates that the members can diverge in contrast to other identities but towards only one dimension, which will provide them distinctive and exclusive recognition often known as shared or collective identity.

Irrespective of collective nature of the brand community, it is very essential to study the population of the community from an individualistic perspective because people within this community are inimitable and special. Moreover, this nature of the human beings arouses an eagerness among the researchers, to investigate why consumers join brand communities and what are the factors that motivate them in doing so? Since brand community is an issue pertaining to satisfying wants and demand (core objective of marketing) of the people, it becomes an essential tool in analysing the needs of the people and the methods used to fulfil them.

However, In terms of an organization, brand community does not gain adequate significance that is because; any followed member of a brand having contact with another follower is a noteworthy quantity of that particular brand. So, it is always constructive to distinguish different communities. Meanwhile, there are other brands with sufficient well established community members who are very loyal towards the particular brand that they associate with which more often takes place when the brand is the administrator of the community or organizer of the community (E.g. the Car Clubs in Algesheimer et al., 2005 and the Jeep Campus in McAlexander et al., 2002 respectively). Apart from all, there are few communities where the brand has very limited presence or complete absence which is often known as abandoned communities (Muniz and Schau, 2005).

Reasons behind people joining a brand community to fulfil their wants and demands are often neglected. Ethnographic standards developed many researchers insist upon the fact that communities only focus on characteristics and fail to consider why people accept or recognise their brand because the existence of the community matters the most to them than any other component. Quite often communities demand certain amount of sacrifice from the customers in the form of membership fee or provision of some personal data. Despite of all these claims, individuals show interest in joining the community which are needed to be explored.

Researches have revealed four important reasons why people or customers want to associate themselves with a brand community. Firstly, Customers demand to obtain a quality product and the primary urge to possess product information always influence them to be a part of brand community (Nelson, 1970). Secondly, often customers participate in brand community to express their involvement or just to feel connected (Zaichkowsky, 1985). Thirdly, association could happen due to joint consumption because certain products involve joint consumption e.g. board games, plays and sports contests (Hogg and Michell, 1997) and lastly, when the customers desire to live up to the standards of brand's symbolic function they will participate in a brand community because it travels beyond their basic association e.g. Nike (Aakar, 1996). Although the customer-centric community model accentuates upon four important aspects of consumers joining a brand community i.e. Product, brand, organization and consumers (McAlexander et al., 2002), there seems to be reasonable differences in terms of rationale.

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