Strong communities and strong brands

I always thought that Harley Davidson was the ultimate example of community building. Though I still kind of think that, now I’ve just discovered a not-so-known example of a powerful community: The BMW Club Motorcycle Owners of America (also known as MOA).
Harley Davidson is a brand that started with an active role on their community. They gave power to a group of riders that were disrespected at the beginning. On the other hand, what looks interesting to me was the leadership from BMW. The German brand decided to be a spectator, letting a decentralized community grow by itself.
We’ve always thought that leadership is about having an active role, and the ability to drive others to your vision. In this case, BMW stepped aside and let the MOA Club ride by themselves.
This club has been running independently for years, and it couldn’t drive to a better brand loyalty that it does today. Because the act of not interfering in their way, has been critical to let them grow a sense of mutualism and partnership between the community.
This bonds are so strong that they even have a unique assistance’s book called BMW Owners Anonymous Book. It is a compilation of thousands of phone numbers from the community in case you need assistance on the road. Every few weeks, the club sends you an updated copy, so you can make sure that if you injured or hungry, there’ll be a fellow willing to help you. It doesn’t matter where you are, in this community everybody looks for each other’s back.
This is the ultimate way of building mutualism in a community. That example is the glue of the community, where they can feel safe everywhere and have a shared responsibility.
Some brands can create this glue for their communities, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes an active leading role is not necessary. There are times when stepping aside and be a mere spectator is the best way to build a community, because it grows by itself.