Why You Should Have a Community for Your Brand
Today, a lot of businesses have come to the conclusion that building a brand community is essential. Philippe Anders' founder, Andrey Anders, spoke at the marketing forum about the need for such an "interest club," how it functions for business, and what it takes to establish one.
A brand's community is a tool for connecting with its target market and retaining customers because people tend to remember their interactions with businesses more than their logos or other visual representations. You will need to put in work to build such a community, but leading businesses around the world have found that, with the right setup, it eventually performs better than advertising. The target audience might even be drawn primarily from the community.
What benefit does the brand community offer businesses?
Our natural desire to communicate with others who share our interests is something we only need to support by creating welcoming communication -environments around the brand. As it was with Apple products, a product with a clearly stated value in this situation can become something that unites people.
The concept itself is not brand-new; for instance, Harley-Davidson established HOG (Harley Owners Group), the company's official community of motorcycle owners, in 1983. It gradually transitioned from offline to online over time, keeping the fundamentally universal features that let the brand thrive:
broaden the audience's understanding of the company's ideals and objectives;
build and strengthen the brand's reputation and customer confidence;
To create a devoted fan base
We promptly address customer complaints and problems they encounter using a product or service;
analysing and determining the CA's needs and expectations;
examine novel concepts and quickly gather user feedback.
If everything is done correctly, members of the community will independently promote the brand and more effectively than advertising because they will tell their friends, family, and coworkers—a sizable Internet audience—what they truly believe. And such PR will be more effective than the same information that is distributed by a seller or posted on a banner.
Users frequently assist the business in saving money on technical support because engaged brand community members take the initiative to assist other site visitors and uphold the brand's reputation.
Additionally, by talking to people in the community, you can get interesting suggestions for enhancing the project. Criticism is also helpful because it identifies areas that need improvement. It's crucial to comprehend the buyer's true needs, and the community presents a fantastic opportunity to quickly and inexpensively learn what they are. The global coffee chain Starbucks implemented this strategy: users of the My Starbucks Idea forum contribute ideas for enhancing the functionality of the cafe, and other users vote on their favourites.
On what is the online community built?
Communities can be created in a variety of ways. One choice is to start from scratch and expand using your own resources or by starting a group on social media (a longer way). Interacting with existing communities that hold similar values is another option (which relatively quickly gives a surge of interest).
Examples of official communities centred on a brand abound, with the majority publishing business news. However, a "living community" is one that is bound together by an idealised concept; as such, it is invariably distinct from those built artificially.
The benefit of using social networks to build a community is that there is already a potential target audience. However, you will need to get used to each network's unique characteristics. Consider, for instance, the preferences of users based on their gender, age, or social standing. Moreover, the way the content is designed differs. It is valuable to select a resource based on the traits of your target audience.
2019's top 6 Russian user networks include Instagram, Facebook, VKontakte, Facebook, Odnoklassniki, YouTube, and TikTok (in that order).
The benefits of having your own website include the ability to set your own rules; analyse processes more thoroughly; design a space that is convenient for visitors in every way; select a visual theme; etc.
The main prerequisites for the development of a community are:
a product that offers consumers value and draws customers with similar interests and viewpoints,
If there are genuine, well-defined customer pain points that will be addressed, If a community was established to address a particular need, it functions well.
availability of a communication platform, such as a website or a social network;
Useful content is essential because only then will users want to discuss and share it on their pages. Information must be both interesting and useful.
The operation of the brand community
Potential customers won't wait eagerly for new posts to "Like" and repost them because they don't know anything about your company and don't know one another. A devoted audience should be the centre of the community—individuals who already use the product and spread the word online or to their social networks. In the first place, they must send the invitation.
A community is formed when users start interacting with administrators and other users rather than just communicating with one another online. Then, every newcomer will be able to contribute to ongoing discussions and experience a positive -environment that is drenched in positive feedback.
So-called evangelists, or loyal customers who are pleased with goods and services and fervently defend them, are a crucial component in brand promotion. They can also be team members; for instance, everyone enjoys reading engaging stories. By asking staff members to describe their passions, reasons for working for the company, and feelings toward it, you can foster a positive company image that will be well-received by the CA. Users may learn more about the people behind the company name if the employees decide to share this information on their personal pages.
Ambassadors, also known as brand ambassadors, are also important because they indirectly promote the product to their audience, for whom they serve as opinion leaders, while also subtly and persistently promoting it.
When creating a community, it's crucial to consider not only the demographics of the target market but also any interests they may have outside of a specific product. For instance, if a business sells primarily sporting goods, it is not worthwhile to create a community based solely on users' passion for sneakers and fitness bracelets. The audience is unlikely to frequently talk about just their traits. The Redmond company recognised this and developed a website with recipes for experts in multicooking; the Red Bull brand introduced initiatives for fans of music and esports; and The North Face, the most well-known outdoor brand, not only provides a wide selection of clothing and sporting goods but also plans training sessions and festivals.
Members of a community can come together over merchandise because it allows them to identify with one another as well as generate extra income and increase audience loyalty. For instance, Louis Vuitton merchandise portrays the same image as the company's clothing.
Gifts in the form of free tickets, cumulative bonuses, etc., are one way to encourage user activity by building a devoted audience of only interested community members. Additionally, they acknowledged users as co-authors of the changes they suggested, which proved to be very helpful.
First, there should be room for self-expression. The LEGO company adopted this concept and established the LEGO Ideas community, which attracted novice designers of all ages. You can post pictures and videos of your designs on the website, get suggestions for modernization, and even put your design up for vote. The business supports such activities, gathers suggestions, and frequently holds competitions.
Additionally, it enables you to test products, gain access to events that are private, learn about promotions, and enrol in loyalty programmes. For instance, the Lululemon company, which markets itself as a stylish yoga and fitness clothing line, has 3.4 million followers on Instagram. This was made possible by the brand community LULU, which regularly hosts offline and online events for the cult of healthy lifestyle.
Thirdly, the chance to live in a group of people who are similar to one another in terms of status, outlook on life, and values.
When building a brand community, it's crucial to focus on the audience's natural interests rather than just one particular line of merchandise. Find ideas that are interesting to CA, produce engaging content and high-quality visual design, identify brand ambassadors, create and actively maintain a friendly -environment, encourage user engagement, and keep in touch with the audience. If someone asks a question or makes a suggestion, he expects a response, not silence, so it's crucial to respond as soon as possible to requests.
If you develop a strategy properly, your efforts will eventually be rewarded, and the brand community will actively support the project.