Brand Communities – Do They Work?
Do users of the same brand enjoy interacting with one another on a common platform that brings them updates on a theme that they all enjoy and identify with?
The response to popular brand communities certainly suggests that the answer to that question is a wholehearted ‘yes’. The earliest brand ‘club’ that I recall is the Sunsilk Gang of Girls. But today, clubs and communities are centred on social networking sites rather than websites.
Axe Angels Club
3,591,969 likes and 340,155 talking about the Axe Angels Club. – That’s impressive but it’s still not at all of mankind! And frankly it should be, given that the page serves images of hot women day in and day out to fans on a platter.
What I like most about the Axe Angels Club’s Facebook page is its tongue in cheek flavour. Sample this:
We are the official Facebook page of Axe, India and provide nothing other than an ‘Axe Take’ on life. If you are looking for anything other than this, you are on the wrong page and we’d suggest you look up Google.
That’s absolutely hilarious and at the same time, keeps creeps effectively at bay! The page is obviously targeted at the younger slice of the population and the language used is such. For instance:
Stop being desperate – people will befriend you if they find you interesting. Writing ‘Add me friends’ won’t help.
If only users all across cyberspace followed that one!
There is simply no reason why any member of the male species wouldn’t want to be a part of the Axe Angels Club. And there is an equally simple reason for that – sex sells.
The page is titillating without being offensive and suggestive without being obscene. – The perfect online presence for a brand that obviously rides on one and one thing only.
As appealing as the page is to men, it has absolutely nothing to offer women. But that’s all right because that’s definitely not their target audience.
Most of the images reiterate the Axe brand message in some way or the other, ensuring that titillation is not the only purpose served. There isn’t much to do other than ogle at pictures but since visual stimulation is the best device. When it comes to sex, Axe is doing it the right way all right.
And even if you’re a woman, the page can’t really tick you off because everything is done so humorously!
Join My Village
Join My Village, a unique initiative by CARE has been ranked number one by average engagement rate among all Indian brands on Facebook, according to the SocialBakers Social Media Report for August 2012.
The website says that since 2009, Join My Village has released over $1,200,000 to CARE which helped provide opportunities for women and girls in the developing world. The Facebook page and website work on an unbeatable business model. Every action such as a click, a like or a share translates into money for a social cause.
This money is donated by General Mills & Merck though there is a ceiling set for 1.5 million dollars till December 2012. Users also have the option of donating money directly.
The initiative engages users with an interactive story about Maya, a poor girl who dreams of going to school. The page has 211,944 likes and 44,901 fans talking about the Join My Village Facebook page.Tthis initiative has obviously touched people’s hearts.
Will it work for everyone?
The answer is a clear no. Community pages work for brands which have something to engage fans with such as sex, a universal interest for men or cooking or beauty, universal interests for most women. Then again, it is up to brands to find something that will appeal to most of their fan base and also aid brand recall.
Community pages are strictly for FMCG goods and brands associated with popular areas of interest like music, movies, fitness, technology, beauty, food and travel. And it cannot be a very far-fetched connection if you want the association to be long-lasting.
The only exceptions to the above rule are non-profit organizations. The community strategy works really well for them because it appeals to people’s need for contributing in some way to society by associating themselves with a cause they feel for.
Save The Tiger with 2.3 million likes is an excellent example of this.
10 Tips for a Successful Community
- Choose a theme that is engaging, fun and/or relevant to fans.
- Post items that are fun to share.
- The community should form the ultimate marketing triangle – you, the theme and your users.
- Reinforce the brand subtly in everything you share.
- Be regular and frequent with posts.
- Reply to fan comments and questions.
- Thing big. Extend the community beyond Facebook or even the online sphere.
- Ensure that all posts are in keeping with the theme of the community.
- Post original items. Borrowed photos can only go so far.
- Don’t blindly post items. See what fans like more and tweak them accordingly.
Any Facebook brand page automatically creates a community of sorts but to give it the flavor of a virtual club requires a certain theme and a lot of effort.
Featured Image: Unbound edition