Branded Online Communities Move to Television


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Branded Online communities, set up by companies for Building brand equity are now tying up with the electronic media for greater visibility. As the interest of the youth increases in social networking, with humongous volumes of youngsters not only hanging around networking sites, but also eagerly participating in consumer communities,these branded online communities have found themselves most wanted on Television.

In a recent developmentin India, Hindustan Unilever’s SUNSILK GANG OF GIRLS, an online community , and Zoom Television have come together to present a singing reality show called Sunsilk Gang of Girls – Spotlight Mein.

In response to online applications at the Sunsilk GOG site, this new television series will present four talented girls in the country who will be groomed and mentored by maestros from the music and entertainment fraternity, in preparation for a live finalé performance in front of a big audience.Reality TV, it’s success, the impact generated and the huge volume of viewership it draws is not new to us.

As branded online communities embrace Television, the euphoria created by such shows will further increase traffic on the site-increased membership is a foregone conclusion.

Kelly Mooney’s thoughts in an ADAGE article on For Relevance, Think Three-Way throw light on how corporates can leverage such situations.By looking at the Brand, the consumer and online communities as three components of a love triangle, she reiterates the need for brands to intersect with online communities, to be able to connect with their consumers.

An excerpt-
“There are no diminishing returns when brands think three-way, when they “triangulate” to communicate in a b-to-we world. Online communities are an infinite resource bringing not only preexisting participants within the brand’s range, but new i-citizens formerly uninvolved until their passions are sparked by a marketing campaign or message that inspires them to spread the love.”

In Sunsilk’s case,the three sides of the triangle are aptly covered- the brand connects to each girl and the fan community; the girls connect to the brand and each other — all tied to the community or the event as the center.While acting as excellent repositories for information, such communities help the brand marketers by providing information to validate their understanding of the market, while further bifurcating consumers with respect to preferences, expectations, and level of brand loyalty.

Vandana Ahuja, PhD.
Amity Business School
Dr. Vandana Ahuja has over 21 years of experience across the corporate sector and academia. She is the author of the book on Digital Marketing - published by Oxford University Press. She is a Professor with Amity Business School and has several years of research experience across the domains of Digital Marketing, CRM and Social Media Marketing. She is an expert in the usage of Digital and Social Media platforms across diverse industry verticals.


  1. Vandana

    Another interesting post.

    The triangle you mention breaks apart at the brand corner because of different definitions of what a brand is. For Marketers the Brand (with a capital B) is what they would like customers to think it is. It is all about communications, but nowhere near as much about actual delivery and consumption. On the other hand, for customers, the brand (with a small b) is all about consumption and to a lesser extend delivery. Most consumers no longer believe the marketers’ communications as they have been found wanting.

    It is for this reason that marketers should be wary about creating artificial communities, rather than supporting customer-created ones. The artificial ones are all too easily prone to the same problems that plague marketers’ other communications; a far to loose relationship with the truth!

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager

  2. Thanks for pointing the same out. You are right…the meaning of B/brand varies with the viewpoints of both the companies as well as the consumers.
    While Brand for a company is a means for identifying goods or services, differentiating them from that of a competitor, consumers view brand as an important part of a product, with branding at times substantially enhancing the value of the product. True, the gap exists between creating a consumer perception through good communication from a company’s point of view and consumption from a consumer point of view.But, at the end of the day, with the quantum of consumption by the consumer being a function of the company’s ability to generate brand loyalty, name awareness, perceived quality and strong brand association, don’t you think that these communication objectives are met through the triangle, if the company approaches the same in a RESTRAINED manner?
    On one end is the consumer and the direct communication channel with him and on the other end is the community..a huge reservoir ready to absorb the communication the firm wishes to share.

    In this context what you say about artificial communities is very correct. A wrong piece of/artificial communication can simply defeat the sanctity of the entire endeavour and also make a firm loose goodwill.Then the firm’s inputs simply become a piece of their advertisements…Greater Consumer reliance/level of trust on consumer generated media versus company advertisements is a subject of interest anyways!!!


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