The future of Marketing is Community. Building a brand Community may look like a slow and long term process but it's nothing less than a gold mine. Brands like Starbucks or Harley or Reddit understood its value and invested early in it and now we all know where they stand. Let's learn how we can grow our brand via Community.
Building a brand is no more about building beautiful logos or interactive websites, now your user needs more. Like other brands, if you’re just trying all other Outbound strategies, they will not be much effective as of now. Everyone is imposing the brand on users via social ads or banner ads, while very few are trying to listen and provide what their users actually want. Now your user needs more, they need a Brand Identity, they need a Brand Recognition and moreover, they want to feel like that they are a part of something big. If a brand is able to achieve that, it can become their best source of organic growth. But how do we achieve that? How do you make them feel that? Well, there is no other way than building a community.
This is one of the Crowdsourced blog topic contributed by Amit Shekhar in our community [Community Folks] and other members have put down the following points out of their Community Building experiences along with some realistic examples:
Brand Advocacy or Evangelism- In any community, enablers play an instrumental role which can be from building a community to binding the community members with a common goal. These enablers are your champions or evangelists or say brand advocates. They take your brand to local communities which ultimately brings the organic growth. [ CC- Mohit Mahajan ]
Genuine Feedbacks- No brand can grow big without getting user feedbacks. A lot of money is spent on campaigns or surveys to collect the genuine feedback from the user. It gives them the ideas to make the product better. But if you have a strong brand community, feedback is what you get all the time. Your users turn into testers and keep reporting the bugs to you. [ CC- Pranidhi Puri ]
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Word of Mouth Marketing- It is called the biggest growth hack of all times. If you can influence your user in a way that they just can’t stop talking about you, you’ve done your best. This world is made up of micro-communities where the impact of a banner ad comes later but of a human first and if we can have our champions in each one of them, then there is nothing much left to do. [ CC- Priya Sood ]
Product Referrals or Increase in Sales- After becoming a part of a community, a user gets the information about the product which adds value to his life. This valuable info brings him to the consideration stage where he starts getting influenced by the community. And once that happens, then comes the sales via referrals & Word of Mouth marketing. [ CC- Arbab Usmani ]
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New Features Idea- My Starbucks Idea is one of the biggest examples of using the community to generate new ideas. Their platform has received more than two lakhs ideas, approximately 300 of which have been implemented by Starbucks. Therefore, this power or people makes them the best in their field. Similarly, a brand gets new ideas via community which put them ahead in the race with their competitors.
User Engagement- A brand not only acquires new users via building a community, but the overall engagement also increases via community activities. More activities trigger dormant members to participate and which in return gives growth to the brand. [ CC- Teja Bitra ]
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User satisfaction & happiness- When a user witness their efforts & ideas are recognised by the brand, they start living the dream of being a part of something big. This motivates them and increases the happiness factor too which is always the target of a company. [ CC- Jonathan Peréira ]
Brand expansions- It’s always easy to settle down in a new city if we already have friends there. Similarly, for a brand, if their community is global, the expansion becomes comparatively easy due to the support of the community. It saves a lot of costs and ultimately foster the brand growth.
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These are the points which summarise the discussion happened in our group. The members who have shared their views are themselves the Community Leaders. They have achieved these benefits while building their respective communities. We would like to thank all of them for sharing these valuable community learnings.
Are we missing any important point here? Hit us with your ideas in the comment section.