It's every company's dream... having a community of customers who are so devoted to your company that they market to and evangelize among other members of their community—customers who feel a sense of ownership in your company and want to spread your message to others.

Such strong bonds between companies and their communities of customers aren't the norm, and they cannot be developed without great planning and dedication. But for companies that are willing to embrace and empower their communities, the results can be magical.

Here are five companies that have embraced their community of customers as their marketing partners.

1. Fiskars

Fiskars makes scissors that are pretty popular with scrapbookers. So Fiskars decided to go into the scrapbooking community and find members who were using Fiskars scissors in their scrapbooking.

After identifying these community members, it then created the "Fiskateers," a group of brand ambassadors for Fiskars. Then Fiskars set up these four Fiskateers—Stephenie, Holly, Cheryl, and May—with a Web site and their own blog. There, the Fiskateers blog about their crafting and scrapbooking projects, how Fiskars products are helping them complete their projects, and life in general.

Spike Jones at Brains on Fire, the agency that worked with Fiskars to implement this ambassador program, explains why this works:

And the key part of the movement was to find those passionate people, give them the online and offline tools and opportunities to talk to one another (and also reach out to potential kindred spirits) and then get out of the way. Sure, we expected a lot of things to happen. But even in its infancy, it's gone far beyond what I ever imagined.

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier