brand communities / / p.2
01 / pages 03 - 04 09 / pages 44 - 46
INTRO INTROducTION / The Real TIme effecT /
laNdscape 02 / pages 05 - 09 10 / pages 47 - 51
03 / The laNdscape / seTTING The sceNe / ReachING OuT /
03 / pages 10 - 13 11 / pages 52 - 56
The ecOlOGY / sTRucTuRes aNd TYpes / The ecONOmY Of cOmmuNITIes /
06 / 04 / pages 14 - 18 12 / pages 57 - 60
whaT’s IN IT fOR me? / mulTIplaYeR cOmpaTIBle /
cOmmuNITIes aNd GamING /
05 / pages 19 - 21 Q&a with Graeme Boyd, Xbox
INT’l lIfe cYcle / shORT aNd lONG TeRm
cOmmuNITIes / 13 / pages 61 - 64
dOs aNd dON’Ts /
10 / 06 / pages 22 - 37
case sTudIes / 14 / pages 65 - 67
ecONOmY NeXT sTeps / fIve ThINGs YOu shOuld
07 / pages 38 - 40
12 / Be ThINkING aBOuT NOw /
GamING eXpeRT OpINION / The RIse Of cOmmuNITY /
13 / by Joseph Jaffe / 15 / pages 69 - 71
dOs & dON’Ts
14 / 08 / pages 41 - 43
BuIldING INTeRNaTIONal 16 / page 72
RefeReNces BRaNd cOmmuNITIes / cRedITs /
16 / by Nathan mcdonald, we are social /
brand communities / introduction / p.3
01 / pages 03 - 04
‘Brands are a network of the unacquainted,’ claims Grant McCracken,
MIT anthropologist and author of the book Chief Cultural Officer. One
INTRO of the great changes wrought on marketing by digital technology
is the ability to create connections not just between brand and
consumer, but between the consumers themselves: McCracken’s
friends who haven’t met each other yet, huddled under a friendly
branded umbrella. Both online and off, on social networks and
elsewhere, marketers all over the world are attempting to engage
with existing communities, or encourage the development of new
lIfe cYcle The concept of ‘community’ in branding is not a new one. Much of
Harley-Davidson and Apple’s success can be attributed to the enthu-
case sTudIes siasm of their respective communities, and members’ willingness to
recruit newbies to further swell the ranks. However, the internet now
RIse affords us the opportunity to pledge allegiance to the brands we love,
and bitch about the brands we hate, in equal measure. This vocali-
INT’l sation makes it easier for any brand to locate, identify and bring the
‘lovers’ together. People cluster around the most unlikely of products.
Handwashes. Yeast spreads. Face creams. Hannah Montana. Much of
this enthusiasm is organic, as consumers use the simple interfaces of
Illustration / am I collective / www.amicollective.com
social networks like Facebook to create pages to promote their own
passions. Famously, Coca-Cola worked with the creators of a popular
11 / fan page on Facebook to transform it into an official destination.
The undisputed reigning champion of online community, Facebook’s
GamING epic expansion has seen several brand-friendly changes to the network
in recent months, not least the addition of a ‘Like’ button which can
dOs & dON’Ts be applied through the web for users to indicate their tastes and pas-
sions. Levi’s was one of the first brands to embrace this innovation,
NeXT sTeps adding the button to their ecommerce page so that customers can ‘like’
various items of clothing. The company’s most recent announcement
pertained to the development of a location-based service with gaming
elements to rival platforms like Foursquare, in which users ‘check-
in’ to various locations using their mobile phones. McDonald’s is a
brand communities / introduction / p.4
founding advertiser partner, promoting burgers and and sometimes the customers and fans see it a totally
offers whenever somebody checks in from the golden different way…That’s a big reason why we’re giving
arches. In February 2010, CEO Mark Zuckerberg it away at the stores and we hope people take it and
announced that the service had passed the 400m get inspired or interested in pieces they wouldn’t have
chapTeRs user mark, supporting Nielsen’s 2009 finding that considered before.’ By partnering with Lookbook,
01 / social networking had surpassed even email in popu- American Apparel were gifted with a fresh take on
INTRO larity (67% of web users spend regular time on SNS their own brand.
and only 65% on email).
02 / Up at the high stakes table are the brands eschew-
With those kinds of numbers, it is unsurprising that ing pre-existing social networks and striking out on
03 / many brands have chosen to concentrate the major- their own, launching independent communities out-
ity of their community efforts on Facebook – Lurpak side of the social networking behemoths in order to
04 / butter’s recent series of coordinated cook-offs, for entice loyalists to connect with themselves and each
RewaRd example, helping to reinforce the brand’s commitment other. BMW in China have an active community gath-
05 / to getting Britain cooking again (‘because triumph ered for brand and product information on their own
lIfe cYcle never came out of a microwave’). However, joining a forums, and brands from Doritos Argentina to Pepsi
06 / fan page is a one-click process – the lowest possi- in the US have created their own digital hubs through
case sTudIes ble barrier to entry. Being a ‘fan’ of something, and which to attract a crowd to a variety of causes.
being active in your enthusiasm for it both online
07 / So – an active, healthy presence on a variety of
RIse and elsewhere are two different matters. As some
social networks, or your very own specialised hub?
brand managers struggle to calculate the worth of
08 / Organised offline activity, or a global network of fans
INT’l a Facebook fan, others have focused on more niche
brought together through the power of a ‘Like’ but-
networks with smaller member numbers on the basis
09 / ton? The path to community engagement is strewn
Real TIme that a few avid fans are a more lucrative prospect than
with tough decisions, and as many epic failures as
an indifferent horde.
10 / there are success stories. However, it is a marketer
ReachING OuT Clothing brand American Apparel has maintained with a heart of stone that could resist the delicious
11 / its status as the go-to for hipsters everywhere by hubbub created by a thousand passionate brand
ecONOmY targeting fashion, design and music communities. advocates all talking at once. Through innovative
12 / Recently, the brand partnered with invitation-only courting and careful cultivation, the community looks
GamING fashion community Lookbook to produce a piece of set to become the cornerstone of any modern brand.
13 / in-store promotion, a book containing 132 pictures
dOs & dON’Ts submitted by the Lookbook community of themselves
wearing at least one item from the American Apparel
NeXT sTeps collection. A representative of the brand said of the
exercise, ‘What we liked about it is that it’s 77 peo-
RefeReNces ple who each have their own sense of style showing
how they like to wear American Apparel. Our photog-
cRedITs raphers and designers see the garments in one way
american apparel / lookbook /
brand communities / landscape / p.8
WHAT IS A BRAND COMMUNITY? /
The classic definition of brand communities emanates from two marketing links /
INTRO professors. Albert Muniz Jr, now assistant professor of Marketing at www.ventureblog.com
DePaul University in Chicago, and Thomas O’Guinn, currently professor www.refresheverything.com
laNdscape of marketing at Wisconsin School of Business, described them in deloitte study / http://bit.ly/3augeo
the Journal of Consumer Research in 2001 as ‘a specialized, non- www.bazaarvoice.com
geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social comBlu report / http://bit.ly/5eekro
relations among admirers of a brand’. http://artofthetrench.com
RewaRd For Contagious, there are essentially four key criteria that define brand www.southbeachdiet.com
communities as separate from other social media activity: http://smallbusiness.officelive.com
lIfe cYcle www.ogilvypr.com/en/expertise/360-digital-influence
1 / Members of brand communities unite around a brand or product.
Nielsen on social Networking / http://bit.ly/62pl4X
06 / They don’t just talk about the product and its uses (as is clearly the
case sTudIes http://madebymany.co.uk
case with Harley-Davidson); often the focus is tangential but related to
07 / product position. A good example is American Express’s Open Forum, a
community for business owners designed to provide advice and support
to help them grow their companies. www.openforum.com
2 / Such venues can be brand-owned or initiated or fan-owned/initiated.
09 / Ford in the US owns just half the Facebook nameplate pages for its
brands. Brand participation is not a given in fan-owned spaces but some
10 / level of support such as news provision, prizes or access to events is
ecONOmY 3 / Community members don’t have to come to the community; it can
come to them. Standard social network platforms disperse content and
GamING commentary to fans and their friends, without them ever revisiting the
coca-cola / facebook fan photos /
brand page. This model may be more effective for low interest brands or
dOs & dON’Ts
for products where being a brand fan is used as a social label, as in the
case of Coke’s Facebook page.
NeXT sTeps 4 / Community members should be able to reach out to each other
and not just communicate up to the brand – although the latter is more
RefeReNces common on Facebook and similar social network sites. Asian brand
communities are particularly good at providing a range of tools including
cRedITs forums, picture sharing and IM for users to connect with each other.
brand communities / case studies / p.29
6.3 / Self-Expression Once a chain has been created, the user who
uploads the picture must choose a tag or detail to
Burberry / Art of the Trench mark as inspiration for the next photo; other users
The Art of the Trench is an online showcase of the then have one week to submit photos under that tag.
chapTeRs fashion brand’s iconic raincoat, as worn and captured The original user then has one week to choose the
by stylish individuals the world over. best image submitted, and so it continues.
Burberry chose Scott Schuman, creator of super- Users can browse and submit their work to existing
02 / influential style blog The Sartorialist, to select and photochains or start their own. They can comment or
photograph the first 100 images used in the launch of tag photos as their favourite or ‘follow’ a photographer
03 / the site. Schuman has a great eye for a beautifully put with the site automatically updating them when any
ecOlOGY together outfit, and his knack for capturing the unique new activity from that user is posted.
04 / elegance of his subjects - who are found simply by
The photochains live at the World of EOS website
RewaRd scouring the streets of cities he visits - has attracted a
where more than 17,000 members have so far
05 / slavish and ever-expanding following.
registered and dwell time averages five to nine
Users can also upload images of themselves minutes, according to Canon.
06 / wearing Burberry trench coats and can comment on
case sTudIes The initiative helped Canon EOS Australia achieve
other uploads or mark them as favourite.
54% market share by value in 2009, while Canon
RIse In collaborating with The Sartorialist, Burberry DSLR sales revenue increased year-on-year by 44%.
effectively guaranteed the success of the site, and The site is now a hub for Canon’s creative projects.
INT’l stats for the first week it went live confirm the wisdom Michael Canning, creative group head at Leo Burnett
of their choice. Within a week of launch, the site had Australia, says: ‘When you inject the right idea online,
gained 200,000 unique visitors from 177 countries, its potential to spread and build communities can be
adding up to three million page views. Consumers huge.’ (Featured in Contagious 22)
spend an average of five and a half minutes on the www.canon.com.au/worldofeos/photochains
site, sampling 12 pages.
11 / Hewlett Packard / My Computer, My Stage
ecONOmY Most importantly, the initiative is credited with driving
Looking to extend its influence among 18 to 25-year-
monthly sales of trench coats up 85% and overall
12 / olds in China and Asia, Hewlett Packard invited them
GamING sales up 12%.
to seize the day through its My Computer, My Stage
13 / platform, developed by Saatchi and Saatchi, Beijing.
dOs & dON’Ts
canon eOs / photochains /
Canon EOS / Photochains Focusing around a creative challenge, the staged
Leo Burnett Sydney helped Canon re-establish itself campaign, beginning in China in 2008 before rolling
as a market leader in digital SLR (DSLR) photography out across Asia, revolved around an online microsite
with the launch of ‘photochains’ – an online platform and community asking visitors to submit their work for
where a tagged detail in one shot serves as a brief for a cross-continental contest and creative gallery.
16 / the next.
brand communities / gaming / p.57
12 / pages 57 - 60
mulTIplaYeR cOmpaTIBle /
cOmmuNITIes aNd GamING /
chapTeRs Q&a with Graeme Boyd, Xbox
Graeme Boyd is consultant community manager for Xbox EMEA,
in charge of managing the Xbox Community Network as well as
Xbox’s other social media platforms across Europe. Contagious
03 / spoke to him about how these communities benefit Xbox and the
company’s plans for the future.
RewaRd Contagious / Xbox has been running relationship programmes
with independent communities for over five years. How different
lIfe cYcle are these communities from Xbox’s ‘owned’ communities in terms
of the way members react and respond to brand initiatives?
case sTudIes GB / The Xbox Community Network (XCN) was founded just before
07 / we launched the Xbox 360 and grew out of a desire for us to get closer
RIse to our key evangelists in the online space. They are our biggest fans
08 / and fiercest critics. We knew they were out there talking about our
INT’l brand and products, and we understood the growing power of the
community influencer - a regular person who probably has a day job or
Real TIme goes to school or university, and is therefore doing it for the love rather
than remuneration. We also knew our PR teams weren’t picking them
ReachING OuT up at the time. So striking up a relationship with these influencers was
the perfect way to generate even more grassroots buzz by giving them
ecONOmY opportunities and information they could use.
12 / Our community agency Digital Outlook started by scouring the web
GamING for a handful of the most influential European blogs and fansites, and
13 / their first outing was a trip to London to get a sneak peek at the new
dOs & dON’Ts console. Since then we’ve grown the XCN to just under 100 members
14 / and reach over two million gamers in 16 European countries. We drop
NeXT sTeps them games and hardware to review, get them exclusives and invite
them to events. It’s not about bribery or telling people what to think –
RefeReNces it’s about giving them stuff they wouldn’t normally get so they can offer
value to their audiences.
brand communities / credits / p.72
16 / page 72 CONTAGIOUS SPECIAL
cRedITs / REPORTS /
chapTeRs This report is part of a series of Special Reports
Produced by Contagious Communications
01 / produced by Contagious.
INTRO Editorial Director Cover image
Paul Kemp-Robertson Matt Kemp The series also includes reports on Mobile Apps,
Branded Entertainment, Goodvertising and
laNdscape Series Editor Design Branded Utility.
03 / Georgia Malden FLOK Berlin / www.flokline.com
Written by For more information,
04 / Alastair Ray call +44 (0) 20 7575 1886/1882
Smita Mistry, Ellie Kilburn
RewaRd or vist www.contagiousmagazine/shop
Edited by Contagious Communications
lIfe cYcle Georgia Malden 45 Foubert’s Place
Additional research by London, W1F 7QH
case sTudIes Lucy Aitken, Greg Copeland, Katrina Dodd, T: +44 (0) 20 7575 1995
Jess Greenwood, Emily Hare, Stacey Jacobs, www.contagiousmagazine.com
RIse Alex Jenkins, Robin Leeburn, Nick Parish,
Will Sansom Contagious Communications is an intelligence
Contributors service focusing on future-facing marketing entertainment marketing /
09 / Graeme Boyd, Xbox EMEA / ideas and emerging technologies across a
Real TIme www.xboxemea.com diverse range of media channels and product
Valérie Itey, Mobile MendIt Worldwide / categories. It is a limited company registered in
ReachING OuT www.m-menditww.com England, registered number 6183878.
11 / Joseph Jaffe, Powered / www.powered.com
ecONOmY Nathan McDonald, We Are Social /
No parts of this publication may be reproduced, copied
12 / http://wearesocial.net or transmitted in any form or by any means stored in any
GamING information storage or retrieval system without the pub- mobile apps /
lisher’s written permission. Where source material has
Illustrations by been reproduced the copyright remains the property of the
Am I Collective / www.amicollective.com copyright owner and material may not be reproduced in any
dOs & dON’Ts form whatsoever without the owner’s prior consent.
Jess3 / http://jess3.com
14 / Published May 2010
Kuanth / www.kuanth.com
Les Jean Clode / www.pocko.com
LouLou & Tummie / www.loulouandtummie.com
Branded utility /
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