Monday, November 13, 2006

Online Communities and Brand Building

Image Building and Increasing Market Value

A virtual community or online community is a group of people that primarily or initially communicates or interacts via the Internet. The dawn of the "information age" found groups communicating electronically rather than face to face. A "Computer-mediated community" (CMC) uses social software to regulate the activities of participants. An online community such as one responsible for collaboratively producing open source software is sometimes called a development community. Significant socio-technical change has resulted from the proliferation of Internet-based social networks.

Participation in online communities and forums is the new tool for exchange of ideas and information.
The forums provide multifaceted opportunities to members. Not only do they provide information on latest technological happenings, while anticipating reciprocity and learning as an outcome, but also are the upcoming breeding ground for triggers for innovation. As like minded people converge together, these are new cliques where networking among individuals serves to build strategic mutually beneficial business associations. Also as individuals share ideas, their skillsets come to the fore and they end up building a reputation for themselves, while having a sense of community and efficacy andgaining recognition for their work.

Now how do they affect the marketing process?

1.Brand building through contribution to blogs, comments, articles and chats and by getting featured in related events and publications.
2.Connect, transact, and collaborate with other members to create or participate in new opportunities
3. Gain knowledge towards competitor products and services.
4. Build relationships and gain introductions to prospective clients or associates.
5.Increase website visibility through globally syndicated feeds.

Am gonna try and identify how online communities act as useful tools for Brand Building...not only building brands of products, but will try to focus on how they are instrumental in creating suitable images/brands of individual participants, thereby adding to their market value!!!!

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