If you’ve frequented the Smile blog for any length of time, you’ll know that we are all about building brand a community. If you’re wondering why you should consider building an online community though, I have some news for you: a brand community is essential to your sustainable growth.
To help you find out why they are so essential, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 benefits of building an online brand community.
1. Removes dependency on ads and promotions for traffic
Think about your recent purchases from your favourite brands. Did you wait for them to have a sale, or until you saw an ad? I’m guessing you didn’t do either of those. That’s because we shop with the brands we love because of how they make us feel, not because they continually give us a discount or wave an ad in our face.
When you have a strong online community, it pulls people to your brand by tapping into what really motivates them: their emotions. This is done by connecting your brand to social causes, creating a mission statement for your brand, and even with a rewards program.
That’s why an emotional connection with a social cause is the backbone of pottery maker MudLOVE’s brand. Anywhere you interact with them online, especially their Wishing Well Rewards program, the tie between MudLOVE and the joy of global impact is in the spotlight. Their community is sustainably reaching emotionally motivated shoppers, without an ad or promotion in sight.
Customers will invest in your brand because your community represents the values your brand is all about, allowing you to sever your dependence on promotions and advertising.
2. Increases customer retention
Take a look at brand communities for some of the most luxurious brands in the world, like Rolex watches, Porsche cars, or Montblanc pens. We all know someone (maybe yourself) who is a die-hard fan and would never consider purchasing from a competitor - whether you have the money to buy one or not.
When your community members are connected to your your brand and the community around it, it creates a switching barrier. As a result of their dedication and investment in the community they won’t be as price sensitive, and will be less likely to shop around.
You don’t have to be a luxury brand like Rolex for this to work for your brand either. Moroccanoil is a premium hair and body care brand that is has built a community, Beauty Circle, around the value and benefits of using their products.
By tapping into the emotions attached to looking and feeling your best, they’ve built a large online brand community, without having to consider lowering their prices to be the cheapest beauty oils on the market.
Make emotional connections the bedrock of your community. No matter what you sell, your one-time shoppers will become dedicated repeat purchasers as devoted members of your brand community.
3. Creates valuable brand advocates
Your community can’t grow if nobody knows about it. Luckily, when you inspire your community members, you can transform them being customers into brand advocates. Advocates love your brand and become a valuable marketing channel, acting as a community megaphone to help bring others into your brand experience. Plus, while they’re evangelizing for your business, they even spend twice as much as an average shopper.
Energy gum makers Run Gum took full advantage of community and brand advocates with their referral program. Many people don’t know what energy gum is, so their advocates were empowered to educate outsiders and bring them into the Run Gum community. Run Gum’s investment paid off, resulting in a 200% increase in repeat purchase rate all thanks to their brand advocates.
When your community grows, it can only mean positive things for your business. By inspiring brand advocates, they can share the value of your brand to help bring in new delighted customers, and create a more engaging community experience.
4. Helps you understand your customers
The only way to make your customer experience better is if you know what your customers are experiencing.
Creating an online brand community allows your to learn what makes your customers tick, as well as what they do and don’t like about the customer experience. Armed with all the product reviews, feedback forms, and social engagements, there are lots of ways to find out everything you can do to make every interaction with your brand a delight.
When Altenew redesigned their website, they wanted to find out how much they had improved the online experience. Knowing their community would provide honest evaluations, they emailed their members to get some friendly feedback. This helped with the website project at hand, but also gave insight into what members valued. Armed with that information, Altenew could improve the complete customer experience for their shoppers.
Community members have invested time, effort, or money in your brand. That makes them ideal to give feedback, helping you understand what your customers really value about your brand.
5. Creates value adds for your shoppers
Shoppers who come across your online community are not always customers yet. Before they purchase anything then, you need to show the value your brand can provide. By using value-add marketing, you can create value for both your community and your not-yet-customers.
RSP Nutrition is a perfect example of creating value-add marketing content that’s valuable for everyone. Their blog articles create value for nutrition and fitness (or even coffee) enthusiasts long before they ever buy from RSP. These blogs are great for their community to engage with, but also show RSP’s authority in their industry. Why wouldn’t you buy from someone who clearly knows what they’re talking about?
Creating value for your community members, shoppers, and even casual website visitors will help your brand stand out, cutting through the marketing noise.
Building an online brand community is an investment worth making
Today’s top brands know that is difficult, if not, impossible to compete on price, selection, or advertising muscle like it was in the past. They know there will always be another brand willing to lose more on the sale or spend more for that impression. That’s why they focus on building an online brand community that cannot be replicated by the competition.
Building a brand community will not happen overnight, but those who are willing to make the investment will reap the benefits above. If you are interested in building a brand community of your own, checkout the easy to follow guide below. You can also book some time with one of our experts.