It is not enough for retailers to merely sell products anymore, rather, they must not only provide services as well, but also an environment that encourages stimulating and pleasantly surprising shopping experiences (Anteblian et al 2014). This relates to why companies increasingly focus on building brand communities, which Schiffman et al (2014) tells us are distinctive consumer-, purchaser-, and admirer-centric experiences that give meaning to themselves rather than to the brands they are based around. These niche, social relationship networks are unbounded by geography and fortified by shared similarities. Sound familiar? No? That’s probably because I overcomplicated it to sound clever. Basically, a brand community is a group of admirers who connect with each other as well as the brand and its products, to the point where that community becomes a part of their lives. If you’re anything like me, your belonging to such a community will be signified by too many plastic cards in your wallet and an alternative calendar year that revolves around sales and VIP events instead of months and seasons.
Exemplifying the trend of brand communities—and the fact that I have no self control—is that I myself am part of many: Sephora White (and hopefully Sephora Black when my finances allow for it), Mecca Beauty Loop, and the Priceline Sister Club are a few of my favourites, and, being honest here, a few of my bank account’s worst enemies. Personally, my experience in beauty brand communities has been positive. Priceline Sister Club (2016) sums it all up pretty well, saying “Priceline Sisters enjoy great perks, privileges and paybacks. Join our Sister Club and be part of something really big!” This tells us that brand communities do their best to give their members a sense of belonging, and another way of identifying themselves, such as being a ‘sister’.
If any of you have another beauty-related brand community that you think I need to be a part of, please let me know—after all, my inbox totally isn’t full of enough marketing emails yet.
May your biscuits be crunchy and your nail polish never chip whilst opening the packet.
Anteblian, B, Filser, M & Roederer, C 2014, ‘Consumption experience in retail environments: A literature review’, Recherche et Applications en Marketing, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 82-109.
Priceline Pharmacy 2016, Sister Club, Priceline Pharmacy, viewed 20 May 2016, <https://www.priceline.com.au/sister-club>.
Schiffman, L, O’Cass, A, Paladino, A, & Carlson, J 2014, Consumer Behaviour, 6th edn, Pearson, Australia.