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New Study Shows How to Improve Online Brand Communities

Online brand communities allow users to meet and discuss common interests related to particular brands. By providing like-minded individuals with a platform for communicating their enthusiasm, offering criticisms, and collaborating on unique ideas, businesses have a whole new way to make online brand communities more effective.

A recent study questions whether online brand communities are cost-effective for companies that invest in them. 

By looking at important factors such as public trust, brand recognition, and consumer participation, the authors shed light on how shared values can be used to create better social platforms around specific products and services.

Who Created the Study?

The study appeared in the April 2022 edition of Decision Support Systems and was written by Yuanxiang John Li, Elizabeth Hoffman, and Dan Zhu

The authors offer expertise in fields such as information systems, economics, and computer science. They hope that by looking for a way to make online brand communities more effective, they can better understand how brands and consumers interact.

What Was the Main Question/Hypothesis?

The study focused on one main question: whether firms that financially support their online brands are more or less effective than self-organizing fan communities.

The authors argue that brand knowledge is a vital aspect of this interaction. However, it’s now well-known how this differs between consumer-initiated and company-initiated campaigns.

Financial sponsorship is essential to the question. Who provides assets and resources to online communities can directly affect how those communities evolve.

What Were the Findings?

The authors provide a few key points that highlight the results of the study. Participation and trust are key to whether company or consumer-driven campaigns will succeed.

💡 The study highlights the importance of empowering individual consumers to create their own communities. By considering what information individuals need access to and how to deliver it, brands can eliminate much of the guesswork when it comes to online brand communities.

Organic Brand Communities Work Best

According to the findings, companies may not need to directly build their own communities. Instead, they should allow their online communities to grow organically through individual participation. This participation has to do with how individuals associate with brands and develop their relationships with those brands.

Brand Knowledge Is Key to Building Communities

Consumer identification and understanding of a company’s services and products is a clear indicator of community strength. By creating a powerful story, establishing core values, and communicating these ideas to consumers, brands can effectively build communities capable of participating in ongoing campaigns.

Brand Knowledge Increases Consumers’ Participation Through Brand Trust 

Brand knowledge isn’t only important for providing insight into a company’s overarching goals and belief systems — it also helps to establish a sense of consumer trust. Public confidence in a business or organization is generated by delivering on promises and making things right when consumers have issues.

Brand Knowledge Directly Increases Participation in Consumer-Initiated Communities

Individuals with positive thoughts, feelings, and attitudes towards a brand are more likely to participate in available community activities. By improving brand knowledge, businesses can ensure consumers are interested in their communities and the characteristics that they have to offer.

Brand Knowledge Only Works Through Brand Trust in Company-Initiated Communities

When companies build their own communities, the most important aspect is creating trust in the core products and services offered. 

Companies can improve participation without necessarily investing by focusing on brand knowledge and offering information to communities. This approach makes it easy to create company-initiated communities without investing time and resources.

Nurturing a Strong Brand Is Essential for Establishing Strong Communities

Online communities thrive when brands are strong. This reality makes it essential to build trust and reinforce the desire for participation. 

Trust and desire help build strong online communities without the need for direct oversight from companies. The research demonstrates the need for user-led platforms directed towards participation with specific brands and brand campaigns.

Improve Your Online Brand Community with MarcomCentral

Are you looking for a way to make online brand communities more effective? When companies invest in online communities, they need to have users’ trust to ensure participation. At MarcomCentral, we understand the importance of having a platform for personalizing the brand experience. 

MarcomCentral’s distributed marketing platform provides an affordable experience to businesses that want to freely create and distribute content without worrying about the collateral. 

To build a powerful online brand, you’ll need the tools and software to build community trust. By giving brand communities the knowledge they need to reinforce their own platforms, you can leverage existing trust to improve your online brand. 
We empower businesses to stay true to their story. Don’t waste time and resources building your online brand the wrong way. Find out how we can keep you connected. Contact us today!


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