Holden vs Ford: which is greater?

brand communities

If I was to ask, are you a commie or falcon, red or blue or a Holden man over Ford man, what would you say? This question is one that splits the Australian population and has in turn created very passionate communities based around these two brands. When I went to the Gold Coast 500 last year I was amazed by the length that people are invested into these brands. Wearing full outfits, knowing all the drivers, even painting their faces to show off their pride. In one case I witness an argument over “how much my commodore would flog your shit falcon”.

The Holden and Ford rivalry is one of the biggest in Australian sport and both companies know it. Both companies have used this rivalry to foster a sense of brand pride in their consumers and have facilitated forums, car clubs and social groups based around the consumer’s passion for their brand.

Most people when thinking about communities usually don’t associate it with brands as its core. I know I didn’t. When I was researching into this topic I found that I was part of many brand communities and I didn’t even know it. I comment on forums, I wear clothes to promote brands I like and I get offended when my friends say something negative about one of “my” brands.

To understand how brands create communities we must understand what makes a community.  Community can be described as a group of people that share the same attitude, beliefs and/or interests. Therefore companies implement brand attitude strategies to give a personality to the brand so that consumers can relate. An example of this in practice is how Holden links its products with Australian pride.

By doing this they give the brand a sense of principles, morals, and attitude that consumers can connect with. Than by creating platforms for consumers to share in their thoughts such as forum pages (justcommodores.com.au). Companies link consumers together creating a community based around the brand. There are a lot of brand communities around and it provides a space for like minded people to share their interest with others and gain a sense of belonging. it is in act when the brand at the core becomes a strong connection for the individual creating brand loyalty. For me, I know that brand communities are just another function of marketing to create repeat purchases but still,

I am proud to be a Holden man and will forever buy Holden over Ford!

Is what we are “LIKING” really the truth

social media

How many times a day do you post, comment and/or share on social media? Social media platforms like twitter, Facebook and Instagram are forever more and more being intertwined in every activity we do.  From showing the world how good your new clothes look on you to tagging in at a festival to show everyone your hip. Social media is the place where you present your best self to the world and can give your two cents on just about everything. But taking a step back from the light hearten fun that social media promotes I want to talk about its influence on our attitudes. The use of social media as a marketing tool has been around since its inception but not every user understands how. I know I have been guilty of this and I am sure you have been too. Ever brought a certain brand of product because you saw your celebrity idol post about? Or you have starting liking one brand over another because your friend posted it on Instagram? These are just some examples of how companies are changing your (the consumers) attitude towards their brand. By linking their product with a celebrity they are saying to everyone that they stand for the same principles as the celebrity. This influences the everyday user due to that fact that within social media there has developed an idea of the “desired lifestyle”.

From conveniently angle camera shots that give a look of all natural setting but subtly centres on a product, clever marketers are using these associations to manipulate our behavior by saying to live this lifestyle we must consumer the right products.

So I ask of you, next time you go on Instagram, Facebook or twitter I want you look take a deeper look into the people you follow. Are they really showing a correct representation of their lives or is a set up to influence you towards a brand? I feel that many users feel that there is no business practices taking place on social media therefore we have to educate everyone so that individuals can make informed attitudes and decision on what they buy.

Bye Bye Bricks & Mortar

personal selling

I cannot remember the last time I physically went into a clothing store, try something on and then purchased it. Can you? Nowadays the convenience and ease of internet shopping has made going to the local shopping centre redundant. This change in my lifestyle didn’t come to light until I undertook studying consumer behavior and I was curious if my friends felt the same. When I discussed this concept with my roommates I found that I was not alone. But the reasoning behind their change in habits differed from my own. (WARNING!! The next statement might offend you if you work in retail).

My main reason I would rather purchase goods online is (as depicted above) that I cannot stand dealing with the retail employees! When I go shopping I know what I am going to buy so my plan heading into the adventure is to get in and out as quick as possible. But having to make awkward conversation when both myself and the employee know we don’t want to be there just make my experience worse. One of my roommate’s reasons that I found was similar and complimenting my own was that she has a better connection with the websites when using them and doesn’t feel judged like she does in a store. I think these reasons bring forward a vital issue that could be influencing the switch to online purchasing. It is the question of do online stores do a better job of personal selling when there is no person to person contact than a retail store? If the answer is yes this is the start of the end for the conventional brick and mortar store. When online businesses can create a greater personal connection with its target market without actually having a person to person interaction.  Better bring out the bulldozers and say “bye bye” to the little old shop. For a retail stores their personal selling function is vital in making customers repeat purchase. it seems from my little observations that they are no longer competitive against an intangible non-human website which is sad to see. This trend will see your local main street shop windows become more and more vacate. Unless retail store can improve their efforts.