Diversity and Tension in Collectives and the Opportunities for Solutions that can Strengthen a Brand Community



A brand community will include consciousness of kind in which connections within the community define them in contrast to those outside of the community, rituals and traditions which will support the history, culture, and consciousness of the community, and a sense of duty or obligation in which both the needs of the community and the needs of the individual are integrated (Cova, Kozinets, &amp. Shankar, 2007). In understanding the differences and tensions within a collective, a business can find ways to create integrated solutions that will expand the experience of a consumer as they are making their choices so that individual needs are fulfilled, as well as collective goals. Package Solutions In the search for ways in which to connect to consumers, often times it is best to approach the needs through provisions of solutions that can create many outcomes. This concept, as suggested by Epp and Price (2011) develops an experience through mass product and service production for the individual that can be integrated to fit a group of needs. Each need is addressed in order to make the whole experience satisfactory. As an example, Epp and Price (2011) quote from Sawhney (2006) for the way in which Kodak has approached the changing market and the needs of their customers. Instead of focusing on just providing digital camera solutions, they have approached a spectrum of needs through image software, photo printing at home, and the need to utilize the photographs for keeping memories. Through the concept of collectivity, the goods and services that a company provides being diverse enough that a customer can examine what they want from their product and put together a package of items that is unique and suits all of their needs. Epp and Price (2011) suggest that a company should “account not only for individual goals but also for relational and collective goals” (p. 36). In order to do this, integration is the format that will give a great deal of success for a company. Epp and Price (2011) state that “ The term ‘integration’ refers to the processes of bringing together potentially diverse products and services in a way that creates value” (p. 36). In other words, in order to serve customers, Kodak would not seek out a way to combine their digital cameras with a good frozen fish product. The purpose of integration is to take related concepts and put them together so that a personalized ‘package’ can be created. Integration is the key to providing value to a customer in promoting new products from the point of associations that have been made to a brand. In creating the ‘package’ of products for a consumer, brand loyalty often follows, assuring that the consumer uses the products that fit together in a meaningful way that adds value to their experience. This type of affective commitment serves the interests of a firm in that the consumer will not feel satisfaction when a substitute product is used, bringing them back towards the brand where they have placed loyalty. The connection that is made between the emotional and the cognitive process when making choices towards a ’package’ of goods and services