As I’ve said before, the new brand paradigm is frightening to old-school marketing execs. Because, we (the old-school marketing execs) no longer control our company brands. We try to put in place internal rigorous visual brand control mechanisms, but that really isn’t your brand. I just came across another interesting article about how companies are actively fostering building brand communities. The logic is simple: our customers are constantly talking about our products online. And, we gather in communities online. So, if our customers feel like a community, and identify with what we identify with, they will remain loyal.

I’ll give you an example of this mindset. Music isn’t played in high-priced retail outlets just to entertain you while you shop. It is played, unfortunately volume levels increasing the more the products are overpriced, so that you believe it is the place for you to shop. They’re okay if the parents don’t like it. In fact, it is their to weed us out in some cases. We are not part of their community.

The importance of communities is increased because customers have never been able to talk to brands so easily. Whether its to praise or complain, communication is often just a matter of clicks. Whats not necessarily so easy is for customers to interact meaningfully with one another.

This is important because a brands greatest advocate is an engaged fan. And these fans like to be able to talk to other like-minded people about their passions. They want to share information, tips, favourite items, and what theyd love to see in the future. They also tell other people about the brand and bring them into the fold. One excited friend telling you to check something out is worth far more than generic advertising.

Many brands are recognzing the value in providing platforms for customers to connect. Theyre making their retail spaces places to talk to each customer, but where the customers can also come together around the brand. This does mean relinquishing some control, but the benefits to engagement can be huge. So should you be looking to build your own brand community?