After reading the “How brand community practices create value” article this week, my mind went immediately to the Whirlpool Forums. I think all 12 value creating practices can be found in some shape or form on those forums, particularly Welcoming and Documenting. Similarly I am sure there are some forums for niche audiences, such as Dance.net which is a forum I was part of when I was much younger. Other users could give out “Karma” to other users for giving good advice, and the more Karma you had the more trusted your opinion, similar to Badging.
Trying to think about a time when I’ve seen these types of value creating practices happening on a brand page through Facebook however is a little harder. Particularly in the company I work for, there is little comradery through the Facebook page but nowhere near the level discussed in the article, which makes me wonder if this actually happens on mainstream social media or if it is more common on forums? Maybe consumers see a brands social media page as something the brand owns, not the users? Maybe it only happens for B2C brands and less so B2B?
I did have a bit of an issue with one aspect of the paper. While I completely agree that ‘ceding control to customers enhances consumer engagement and builds brand equity’ I took issue with the Managerial Implication that firms should allow consumers to tweak the brand logos to suit their needs. I think it sounds like an off the cuff remark that no one really thought about before including in the paper.
Branding is a huge part of creating a brand image and lettings consumers both recognise you and understand who you are. Allowing people to change your logo makes the brand image unclear. You’d have to be really confident that everyone knows your brand well enough that if someone changes the logo for their own needs, people will still know who the brand is and the brand story. Companies like Apple and Microsoft could probably get away with that but for smaller companies I think it is terrible advice.