How not to build a brand community site

July 9, 2007 at 6:28 pm 4 comments

Patron Tequila (a Tequila I actually really prefer over any other) just launched their Social Club site. While the idea is nice, and fits the brand, it’s missing out on its true potential.

This is just one example of many. What are some of the issues?

  1. Lack of credibility
    • It’s hard to build community sites for brands and stay credible especially for FMCG brands. The attachment to the product doesn’t usually warrant participation in a community for just that one product, unless there is another overaching idea attached to it. For example, I might be in the target and also really like knowing about the latest drinks. If so, why would I not go to a site that shows interactive drink recipes, instead of just getting the company’s product recipes? A coop with a known recipe site that fits the brand attributes might have worked better.
  2. Lack of benefits
    • If you can’t or won’t be product centric, you have to offer other benefits to give consumers a reason to believe in the website, like promotions and give-ways. Simply replicating community tools from other non-brand communities that are then limited to this one brand community won’t cut it, unless the product has such a loyal customer base and a product that deserves explanation, e.g. car community sites. A tequila is a tequila. What else is there to say? If you can’t tell a story, then don’t tell anything at all. Another example of where no functional benefits where given is the Stella Artois site. Does it matter? No. It tells a fun story where you can interact and learn about the brand by learning how to pour a beer correctly in a Belgian bar with a grumpy bartender. But you better have that story. And it better be interactive.
    • So, you could be life-style centric: yep, and that’s what Patron tried to do. The thing is, if you want to get lifestyle information, we all know about a dozen local and national community platforms that are connected through APIs to other sites like youtube, google maps, and flickr, giving me real social web and local information that have more user-generated content and lifestyle information than a company website with a couple posts. Telling people to post only works if you communicate a benefit and if you make the posts publically accessible and allow a free sharing of the information. Inclusion of completely standard blog functions such as bookmarking, ping backs, and commenting would have helped.
  3. Censorship
    • The absolute no-no! The brand asks for your opinion and then censors your posts? Bad idea. If your brand isn’t ready for the prosumer who helps shape your brand because of corporate or marketing guidelines, don’t try to build a community website with user generated content. It just doesn’t make sense. You will find the guys you censor now on your “community” website on other open communities dissing you brand. And if you’re Agency tasked with this project, don’t try to convince your client it’s a good idea, if the brand isn’t ready. Come up with something else.
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Entry filed under: advertising, Brand, Channel, Communication, Consumer, Creative, Experience, Insight, Strategy, Web, worst practice.

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