The Second Annual “State of Online Branded Communities” is now available.

ComBlu’s study of 78 brands and 241 communities shows significant progress in adoption of best practices and a more strategic orientation to social engagement.


Plenty of good news:

  • The percentage of brands exhibiting a Cohesive Strategy jumped from 20% to 33%, and the number of companies that qualified as High Performers increased from 11% to 33%.
  • Activity levels are also significantly higher:
    • The use of strategically-aligned engagement tools nearly tripled.
    • Integration between branded online communities and mass social media increased from 32% to 76%

And, lots of fertile ground for improvement:

  • Nearly half of brands have no visible community manager.
  • Fewer than 40% of brands have a rewards and recognition program.
  • Only 20% of brands have a clearly identified advocate base.


  • Brands are doing a much better job of delivering diverse engagement activities and are personalizing their community experience.
  • Companies are applying a more disciplined approach to the deployment of their social assets.
  • A few industries are applying a Center of Excellence approach.