BUILD YOUR BRAND COMMUNITY
The most common aphorism about team work is “Together Everybody Achieves More”. It tends to embrace in us the essence of team work and value for one another.
An even more striking saying is “You don’t have a team because you don’t have a dream” and I concur.
A dream is what it is because it’s not yet in existence and depending on how big it is cannot be pushed by one man.
If you aim to go far you can’t do it alone, moreover when you are alone, your ideas, products and services will stay with you.
This is why teamwork is imperative in making dreams come true, but this is not new.
Many brands including start-ups already have insight on the importance of team work.
What’s new particularly in this part of the world, is the worth in having a brand community.
A brand community can be defined as a self-continuing group of consumers/clients sharing a system of values, standards and culture, who recognize bonds of membership with each other and with the brand.
Research in marketing and the success of top brands has revealed a link between their brand success and brand communities.
The most successful brands understand the importance of a network of relationships that surpasses the product or service delivered.
The friendships, interactions, solidarity, story-telling, fun and love that comes from belonging to a community where people care about you and what you do is everything.
And this is what your customers want (boundaries, emotional safety, a sense of belonging and identification, personal investment and a common symbol system) and you should deliver.
You might ask; how does building a brand community boost the success of my brand?
When you’re able to portray your brand visually and remain true to your brand message, your brand community will also be true to you.
One of the very best things about building a community around your brand is that when a community supports you, every other form of wealth and success comes naturally.
Referrals, endorsements, investments, partnerships will all be made possible.
Sharing the brand experience of your customers is even more effective when there’s a community to share this experience with.
The brand community can become product developers, reviewers, market makers, help desks, content creators, problem solvers, brand ambassadors/advocates and more.
Brand loyalty; a benefit that can be enjoyed when customers have a sense of involvement with those who know them best and care most about them (community) can now be leveraged upon.
Spawning brand loyalty through a brand community must first start from the brand leaders and spread to a larger audience.
The expert community includes the leadership, brand and marketing teams, and agency partners. They understand the why behind everything the brand does.
The practitioners implement a brand in the marketplace. They have strong knowledge of the why of the brand, but at a more general level than Experts. They include client managers, external brand ambassadors and influencers.
The employee community represents the brand on the front lines of consumer interaction. They speak for the brand, are dedicated and react appropriately to customer requests.
Haven organized this community of experts, practitioners and employees, your brand can now grow to its larger audience. Here are some important guidelines when building a brand community:
1. Determine your brand message
Before you can build a community around your brand, you have to know what that brand is and stands for. You have to align your brand message to connect with your audience. Read more on Brand messaging.
2. Find the right platform to build your brand community
Getting the right platform to build your brand community depends on the size of your audience, how your want to interact with your audience, how your clients prefer to engage, the features you need and of course your budget.
A basic forum on your website might be okay or a private or secret Facebook or Whatsapp group especially for mobile devices.
3. Content is the king
Engagement is what makes a community. If your community is new, you sure don’t have one until it’s engaging and interactive. Give out good content your community can learn from and be grateful for. Also be passionate about what you share, people know when you’re true and really concerned.
4. Be Authentic
Authenticity is Queen. You don’t want to be like every other community out there. So when creating a community do it authentically or don’t do it at all.
5. Make membership valuable
Your community members need to feel and should be advantaged for being part of your community. They should feel safe and accepted while sharing with others in your community. Coins or stars can also be used to give value or status to active members.
6. Consistency is key
Consistent engagement builds the strongest bonds that will create real wealth and brand community in the future. A brand community will always tend to start from scratch if it’s inconsistent.
The truth is “every community will go through an ‘awkward phase’ where conversations feel a little forced and people aren’t initiating conversations on their own. It will pass. Keep building your community one person at a time, and it will eventually begin to flow naturally”.
So, build that brand community.