There was a time when advertising was the main way a brand could make itself known to the world. The brands that created the most advertisements would get the most attention. But times have changed. Brands are no longer built through one-way communication. Today, the most successful companies build a strong community around their brand.
Once you have a community that people feel attached to, they return to experience that community. It is about cultivating customers who follow your brand beyond simply the products and services you offer. These communities are loyal and emotionally invested in your brand. They will readily consume your content and tell friends and family about it. They are also there for you to gather feedback on new content or test prototypes of new products. When people feel connected, they have a 306% higher lifetime value (LTV) and will stay with your brand for around 5.1 years compared to 3.4 years.
Branding is all about telling a story and creating a community comprising human connections. Humans are social creatures, after all. When brands build community, they are inviting potential customers to become part of something bigger where they can have an impact alongside others. But it's not to be confused with brand awareness. Brand communities are the people who are already very aware of your brand and love to see what it has to offer. It's about emotional connections.
Just as branding has become more personal, customers are attracted to brands they can identify with and make decisions based on their values. Members of a brand community have shared values, goals, and challenges. As the brand, your products and services help them achieve their goals while the brand community provides a supportive social community.
While people will start to interact with each other within your community, your brand, products, and content will drive them to join the community in the first place. Around 64% of people want brands to connect with them, while 90% think values are important when deciding which brands they'll buy from. Consumers are attracted to brands and more inclined to spend with them when they feel a sense of connection to it.
Key benefits of building a brand community:
Increased customer retention
Cultivating brand advocates
Better customer experience
Innovative and improved products
Added value for community members
Reduce dependency on ads
Harness user-generated content
The internet has created a more level playing field that enables consumers to quickly and easily research what's available. A community helps brands to break through all that noise. Social media has helped to fuel the shift towards community-conscious brand building. It enables today's brands to be more human, real, and responsive. If you already use social media for your brand, you have the beginnings of an online community. But building a brand community means creating a space for members to connect, engage and collaborate with both your brand and each other.
Some brands have opted to build an online forum for their brand community to share tips, receive invites to events, and get advice from brand experts.
Building a brand community requires you to understand your brand community, know what drives them, encourage engagement and collaboration, and deliver personalization and value.
Ready to start building your brand community? Octonano's branding experts are here to help you achieve your goals.