Are Online Brand Communities really all THAT?

By: Nikki Noomé

(Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash)

It’s true, that every brand out there has the goal of gaining brand loyal customers. Customers who believe in what the brand is doing, and the products and or services they offer. With the rise in technology and online platforms in recent years, brands have found a new and intriguing way for their customers to interact with one another and gain insights into the products and or services offered. This new form of interaction known as online brand communities, albeit not a new concept, can increase brand loyalty.

What is Brand Loyalty?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, brand loyalty is “the habit of always choosing to buy a particular product or brand.” Brand loyalty is an integral part of companies and is perception-based which makes brand image and experience key factors of it. Kopp (2022) writes, “companies with high scores on brand loyalty grow revenues 2.5 times faster than industry peers.” Thus, incorporating initiatives that help develop and maintain brand loyal customers is fundamental. 

Online Brand Communities

This leads us to online brand communities (OBC). An OBC is a digital platform centered around a certain brand where customers can come together and connect with one another and share their love and appreciation for the products and or services provided. OBCs can be on any mainstream social media platform or an addendum to a company’s website. These OBCs create a space for community identity to form, which is when the customers recognize a brand’s “traditions, goals, and habits, including cognitive and emotional identity” by belonging to a brand community (Fan et al., 2022). OBCs thus help connect customers to one another and to the brand.

Fan et al. (2022) conducted a study to see the influence that OBCs have on brand loyalty. It comes as no surprise that the study determined that there is a positive correlation between customer-to-customer interaction and brand loyalty. People have an innate need to be a part of something, and these online brand communities can create that sense of belonging through community identity. This community identity can induce an emotional bond between the customer and the company which can instill brand loyalty. 

A great example of an OBC is Lego; the beloved brand, which is known for its plastic construction toys, in high quality I might add, has brand loyal customers all over the world. One way in which Lego continues to build brand loyalty is to offer their customer a place to take part in an online platform called Lego Ideas. On this platform, customers can interact with one another by sharing their creative and unique creations, participating in online competitions, and even becoming Lego Fan designers. This designation is granted to customers whose Lego creations are voted on by fellow fans and chosen to become an actual Lego set (The Lego Group). Now I don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty awesome way to engage and maintain brand loyalty. 

(Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash)

Creating an online brand community?

Fostering an OBC environment where customers can share with one another can prove to be beneficial for creating and maintaining brand loyalty. The customer-to-customer interaction creates an authentic dialogue on the perception of the products and or services offered to make it believable and trustworthy thus, adding a positive impact on brand image and value as well (Fan et al., 2022). When tasked in the future with expanding brand loyalty, why not pursue an online brand community when there are such favorable outcomes?


Cambridge University Press. (n.d.). Brand loyalty. In Cambridge Dictionary

Fan, J., Shang, G., & Wang, H. (2022). Customer-to-customer interaction in online brand communities influences brand loyalty. Social Behavior and Personality, 50(6), 1-8.

Kopp, C. M. (2022, June 8). Brand Loyalty. Investopedia.

The Lego Group. (n.d.). How it Works. Lego Ideas.