This article introduces the idea of brand community. A brand community is a specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand. Grounded in both classic and contemporary sociology and consumer behavior, this article uses ethnographic and computer mediated environment data to explore the characteristics, processes, and particularities of three brand communities (those centered on Ford Bronco, Macintosh, and Saab). These brand communities exhibit three traditional markers of community: shared consciousness, rituals and traditions, and a sense of moral responsibility. The commercial and mass-mediated ethos in which these communities are situated affects their character and structure and gives rise to their particularities. Implications for branding, sociological theories of community, and consumer behavior are offered. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.
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