The Dera divide & Brand communities

The Dera divide that's witnessed in the state of Punjab, and replicated elsewhere around the world amidst the Sikh community, points to the desire of people to form communities of their 'own kind'. These communities help people face and counter atrocities that their caste identities bring. On their own, the Dalits in India know they have no chance. And so they congregate.

The phenomenon of congregations is seen around the world. Built to protect, enhance and propagate identities, they give their followers the chance to be a part of something that's got a place in society.

The best of brands go beyond just a sale to build communities. Brand driven communities get built either by the marketer who's behind the brand or at the behest of consumers themselves. The latter, though not in control of the marketer, is the better and the more enduring community. Like biker communities. There's one in India, made of Enfield Bullet riders. In fact, now the brand itself has taken on the task of adding on to that community. A Marketer built community would be one like the 'Sunsilk Gang of Girls'.

Marketers whilst designing, building and propagating brands must keep the community phenomenon in mind. Of course, it isn't easy to have the consumer take up the task of building a community on your brand. But if he does, you've got your branding dead on. If he doesn't, its still worthwhile for you try and cobble up one and hope consumers join in.

Brand communities ensure consumers stay loyal, spread the message, bring more into the fold and ensure the brand's around for a long time.


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