Few words have been as polysemic as the term community (De Ugarte, 2015). Of medieval origin, its introduction to linguistics was given as a synonym of rebellion in the Revolt of the Communards, associating the word with the formation of political groups that shared interests and common rules (De Ugarte, 2015). In the 19th century, the term took on a sense of pre-modernity, becoming the great victim of modern society (Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001), since it meant a “natural” order of people, based on defined and family nuclei by typically rural physical spaces (De Ugarte, 2015); while modern society meant de-personalization in relationships and communication media, along with the massification of commerce (Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001).
Today, the term community, which is associated with a tribe (Godin, 2009), is understood as the cohesion of people around the same purpose, be it a passion, a job (Diamandis, 2015) or an idea ( Godin, 2009). According to Diamandis (2015), people are linked to a community for four main Algeria WhatsApp Number List reasons: sense of belonging, search for a support network, having and generating more influence over others, and a means of knowing, exploring and sharing new ideas.
In 2001 Muniz and O’Guinn introduced the term brand community in their article titled with the same name (“Brand Communities” in its original language). For the authors, these types of communities are born from the brands themselves, these being the central point that relates to their members. Like any other community, explains the article (Brand Community), its existence is framed in a shared conscience, where the members of the “tribe” recognize themselves as faithful and / or users of the brand (e. The “Apple people” ); members carry out rituals and traditions based on the consumer experience; and the community itself creates a sense of moral responsibility that is evident in efforts to attract new members through referrals from members to non-members, and training in the use of the product among community members themselves (and the Apple Support Community, discussions.apple.com).
Although the theoretical argumentation of the term is impeccable, the article leaves the feeling that brand communities exist to serve business and not to fulfill their fundamental purpose of serving the needs of people (Fournier & Lee, 2013). In fact, this is how the Indian authors Banerkee and Chaterrkee (2015) understood it, who based on the findings of Muniz and O’guinn (2001) among other authors, presented brand communities as a mere marketing tool to achieve building loyalty of brand in the consumer base (Banerjee & Chaterrjee, 2015).
Returning to Muniz and O’guinn (2001), the authors present brand communities as explicitly commercial collectives that focus their effort and time on engaging in interactions focused on the product or service, – “Brand communities are social entities that reflect the roots of brands in the day-to-day life of consumers (…) “(Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001, p. 418); propose brand devotion as a main differentiator between members and non-members of these specialized communities, – “(…) anyone who is devoted to the brand can be a member of the community, regardless of whether they own it or not” (Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001, p. 419); and they shed light on a product-centric vision by arguing that strong brand communities are a risk to marketing efforts, since the community can reject them and use different communication channels to disseminate such rejection.