brands. Focus On Community First, Brand Second. A Brand Community is “a specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand.” This is according to Albert Muniz Jr. and Thomas C. O’Guinn who coined the term in 2001 with their study on Brand Community for the Journal of Consumer Research. However, if your brand wants to diversify its communication strategy, build a virtual community. As a consumer brand, VMP went a step further than encouraging social engagement (although, they're good at that too). Last year Nike promoted a campaign under the hashtag #betterforit . Drawing on a literature review, this study adopts netnographic methodology to explore the nature and scope of consumer engagement in an online brand community environment. A less product-focused example is the community built around Vinyl Me, Please — a monthly vinyl club. From these examples we can observe that the defining qualities of the brand are reflected in the consumers – and vice versa. What is Virtual Brand Community? The minimum requirements for having a brand community seem to be: – a brand that uniquely differentiates its consumers; – mechanisms for consumers to engage in a public experience of the brand. Nike simply encourages its brand community to “Just #tag it” when sharing their brand experience on social media channels. This is because the community is a living entity. To a business-centered mind, this goes against their way of thinking. The company called for an empowerment of women “to be better through services, product innovation and athlete inspiration, motivating each other to push to the next level" (adweek.com, 2015). 3. A rewards system is a common characteristic of successful brand communities, and the gamification of the community membership with badges and symbols can be an effective strategy. Effective brand stewards can, however, create an environment in which a community can thrive—by, for example, designing multiple experiences that appeal to different audiences. A successful brand community will feature all three of these relationships, and structuring your community to enable these interactions should be a key part of your engagement strategy. The study reveals the complex multidimensional and dynamic nature of consumer engagement, which may emerge at different levels of intensity over time, thus reflecting distinct engagement states. If the community was created to benefit the business, why not just go in and do exactly that? Definition of Virtual Brand Community: Refers to a group of individuals establishing relations between them in a platform provided by a specific brand. The community exists for the people within and not for the business. “ just # tag it ” when sharing their brand experience on social media channels these examples we observe. 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