In Harvard Business Review, Henry Mintzberg advised, “If you want to understand the difference between a network and a community, ask your Facebook friends to help paint your house”. The idea of community has a long history in sociological and marketing research. Regardless of context, we apply this term where there is a specific type of bond between people, including consumption communities such as beloved Harley-Davidson and Star Trek.
But what do we know about brand communities on social media? This is a question I decided to discuss with NZIE digital marketing students during our termly convention. I’ve been researching social media since 2010, focusing on the nature of consumer-brand relationships. I was happy to share with students the results of my ongoing project – the model of brand values on social media that illustrates the importance of functional, emotional, self-oriented, social, and relational brand experiences.
Interestingly enough, I did not feel stressed when I presented my research at the First European Conference on Social Media in Brighton, but it seems to be a different story when you share your research with your students. I hope that some students who attended the convention will take full advantage of social media in building communities, others will get inspired to go beyond their study program and one day conduct a research on social media.
Images by Naida Rasch