How do you get clients from communities? Salesforce says 84% respond when people treat them like people rather than numbers. That is why consumers are changing their expectations for brands. There is much more to brand building & business plan innovations than quality service. People are searching for an authentic human relationship to the brand you are selling.
What is a brand community?
A group of people who participate in a brand’s conversations. They are invested beyond what they can buy from the brand. There is a passion that these group of people have for the brand. This is what drives them to want to be part of the brand itself. A strong brand community matters. There are brands that are well-known but do not have a strong community. Brand communities should always encourage their customers to join, engage and share.
It is easy to build a brand community through your social media platforms. Use them to bring customers together. You’ll have provided them with an opportunity to interact and engage with each other. Online platforms include social media accounts, websites/blogs and forums.
Importance of Building a Community Around Your Brands
People love to be associated with good things. A good logo, nice colors, a funny slogan, etc. You want to have a brand that people will be proud to represent. The moment people find a brand that shares their values, they will become more interested in it.
Educate people on what it means to be part of your brand. Encourage customers to join your community. After all, a community has to have members. Besides, brands that show customers the value of them being in their community are the ones that win.
Motivate members to engage. A party that has people can begin. When others join, they find conversations going on already. Encouraging active participation and rewards is key to increasing engagement.
Your brand community members will want to tell others about you if they find value in your brand. Your customers can be passionate enough to act as advocates for your business. Some companies provide incentives to those who tag them and use their referral programs.
1. Increases Brand Awareness
Word-to-mouth is still a very useful tool to spread the word about your business. Brand ambassadors or brand community managers are very important when your strategy involves building awareness. They educate people about your brand’s products through social media posts, online reviews, network and build relationships with potential customers, etc. The brand ambassador will discover new customers and answer questions from prospective consumers.
2. Source of feedback for businesses
You can ask your existing customers for feedback on new content ideas, or invite them to test out a prototype of your new product. You can also learn what your audience wants by asking them directly.
A strong brand community will boost communication. You get feedback which creates a better customer experience. Consequently, your customers will more likely stay loyal to your brand. Those loyal customers are more likely to give you feedback that can help you improve as a brand. They gain, and your brand grows. It’s a win-win.
3. Leads To Customer Success
Members of your brand community will be able to connect over a shared experience. Your community provides a space for them to talk to and learn from each other. You will be able to identify their needs and proactively eliminate their problems.
This will ensure your customers stick around longer. Research shows that 96% of unhappy customers are unlikely to complain. Worse still, 91% of those customers will leave and never come back. A good feedback strategy that allows customers to reach out is very important. A brand community will help you get direct feedback.
4. Fosters Brand Loyalty
What is better than acquiring a new client? You guessed that right, retaining the customers that you already have. You have built a community that makes your customers feel more emotionally connected to your brand. And when people feel connected, they’re more likely to recommend your brand and products to others.
Brand loyalty and customer retention are very important for your business. Acquiring a new customer is quite expensive. It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Your past and existing customers are an asset to your business.
Below are some brand community examples.
Safaricom’s participation in different social media platforms. Always answering questions about the company and diving into conversations concerning the brand. They answer all kinds of comments. Whether negative or positive. They are usually very creative in how they answer even the most ridiculous questions about their brand. For example, there is a question on Quora on whether Safaricom will ever be overtaken by another company. A marketing associate answered with a nicely compiled article saying, “Safaricom will always be at the top until the day the brand will start believing that it is too big to be overtaken by a competitor. They will continue being ahead.” You will find similar responses on Facebook, Twitter etc.
Starbucks created a new policy called the third place policy. The policy allows people who haven’t made purchases to spend time in the store and use restrooms. This was after two black men were arrested while waiting for a friend at a Philadelphia Starbucks.
During busy times of the day, like mornings, Starbucks prefers that you pick up your coffee and go. Later in the day, when business is slow, Starbucks may indeed want people to stick around. Mobile ordering and paying, among other things, will make customers more loyal. Starbucks is leaning into its identity as a third place to go after home and work.
Walt Disney Company
Walt Disney Company has in-house creative, headquartered in Burbank, California, but with teams based all over the world. This team of creatives ensures that experiences and innovation are reflected in local needs also.
Disney’s social media presence is vast and highly engaged. In fact, Walt Disney World’s Facebook, @DisneyinAfica account alone has about 53 million followers. The brand has a very huge fan community all over the world. The community on Instagram and Facebook has friendly members and there is always a friendly debate going on about movies and other fun things.