“High-energy brands create a constant sense of interest and excitement. Consumers sense that these brands move faster, see farther, and are more experiential and more responsive to their needs.” – John Gerzema and Ed Lebar

Audi and Subaru are two contemporary brands that are worshipped by enthusiasts. Both brands have enticed a social phenomenon resulting in clubs and groups loyal to the brands. They have proven that their name can be a primary factor in the consumer choice. With the presence of specific personas that fulfil consumer quotients for creativity and trust, a reputation that enthusiasts can stand behind is built. Quotients are car attributes that are unique to car models or brand, such as, handling, responsiveness, styling and stability. Evangelists are proud to align themselves with a unique brand, which is one way that the Audi and Subaru brands are advocated.

When the automotive car industry was in the dumps in 2009, Subaru increased U.S. sales. Audi outsold all other auto luxury brands in the European market and gained the largest market share of all other luxury brands in the U.S.

Both Audi and Subaru have a community culture that entices passion in their fans and consumers. So, how do both brands get this sort of fandom?

They are consistent with their image, design, and driving experience. The result is brand familiarity and association.  Minor alterations have occurred between models but quirky and eccentric models haven’t been manufactured. Changes that have occurred were subtle and increased performance. For instance, when people wanted hybrid cars and all-wheel-drive, the solution was the Subaru BRZ sports car. This move appealed to those desires while staying consistent to Subaru’s WRX design and feel.

To reinforce interpersonal relationships, Audi focuses on utilizing media efforts. Audi makes it a point to take the customer through a journey. Audi showrooms replicate race tracks in a sleek design which is incorporated into all facets of their corporate and vehicle design.  They link a common enthusiasm that Audi fans have and inspire consumers to foster a community where the brand belongs. Audi’s ads have little focus on car specifics but focus on the experience. The purpose is to extend past the physical presence of their cars and into the culture.

Subaru and Audi’s communities are mostly self-curated. Yes, the brands have platforms for consumer engagement but it is the consumer-created platforms that have the real impact. They drive engagement, social relations, popularize the cars, and create future consumers. Whether it is sharing knowledge, developing friendships, or parading who has the most desirable car, there is a community. There is an independent community outside of the what the brand itself is curating. These brands essentially spurred collective communities of highly engaged consumers through consistency.

Communities like Audi’s and Subaru’s offer valuable insights, as to what to is desirable, as they provide a consistent source of the voice of the customer. Having a community culture offers brands the ability to gain a deep understanding of why people are loyal to their brand. This imperative to sustaining and maintaining a level of loyalty in the automotive market.

What other brands can you think you that have an impressive independent community?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Harpreet Atwal

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