In his articles on trade mark dilution and brands, Jerre Swann argues that certain “experience” brands allow purchasers to become part of a community of people who align themselves to the brand and its values and that these “communities” are of benefit to consumers. One of the examples that he gives is HARLEY DAVIDSON, with its highly organised owner’s group. NIKE, in a current campaign, seems to be following this lead. In its Jumpstart UK programme NIKE invites “girls” to attend sessions in nightclubs in 4 UK cities where (of course) NIKE sportswear will be on sale and their experts will be able to tell you what sportswear “best suits your shape.” In a spread advert in the London Metro NIKE counsels: “Gals at the event nights are there for fun, not to make you feel like an uncoordinated loser – go alone and socialise while you exercise.”

So do consumers benefit from this commercialised altruism? On the one hand, since NIKE want to sell their products this mightn’t be the best place to go for completely disinterested advice. Also, something rankles about big business being pally and pretending to be your friend – it seems a rather synthetic form of friendship. On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that this is a NIKE sponsored event so consumers know what they’re getting themselves into. If they get fit in the process and make some friends, so much the better.

Learn how to build your own brand community here
Some companies that have built brand communities: Lego, Saturn and Smart cars.
How to jumpstart your car here

SISTERS OF THE SWOOSH <strong>SISTERS OF THE SWOOSH</strong> Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, August 15, 2003 Rating: 5

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