Eight trends for the future: Brands as online tribes

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Brands are as much totems of who we are online as in real-life, which is why Becks and Newcastle Brown became popular in the early 1990s as consumers could use the bottle to show that they had great tast and why Burberry has almost 17 million followers on Facebook. (Unfortunately many of those followers couldn’t afford Burberry apparel but want to be associated with the brand).

Associating with brands help to enforce the way we would like to be perceived. There is a similar kind of phenomenon at play with online communities. We are less of a global village, but instead flock to communities that allow us to self-reinforce our passions in a way that wasn’t possible before.

This is further reinforced by algorithms to provide the audience with only the world view they want to see like Facebook’s news feed algorithm it becomes harder to break out beyond your bubble.

This has impacts from a societal point of view in terms of social mobility and integration of communities. From a brand perspective it provides yet another barrier for a campaign to spread and increases the importance and power of nodes who may have a place in a number of communities.

More information
Race and Social Network Sites: Putting Facebook’s Data in Context | danah boyd/apophenia
The Demographics of Social Media Users — 2012 | Pew Research Internet Project
Teenagers and social network sites: Do offline inequalities predict their online social networks | June Ahn
Teenagers’ Experiences With Social Network Sites: Relationships to Bridging and Bonding Social Capital | June Ahn
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