There are lots of ways your can reward your best customers. You can give them discounts, free products, and accelerated point earning rates. If you’ve ever been to an exclusive event though, you’ll know that its one of the most rewarding experiences you can receive.

Studies have shown that people tend get more out of experiences than we do things, but as a business, how can you use members-only events to build your brand community instead of being just another reward?

Exclusive events form emotional connections between your customers

Studies have shown that when we experience things together, they make us feel connected to the people going through the experience with us. We even enjoy the experiences more than if we were alone. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that providing exclusive events for your community members enhances the emotional connections they have with each other.

How to Leverage Exclusive Events to Build Community - Sephora Beauty Insiders

Cosmetic giant Sephora is all about bringing people together with their Beauty Insider brand community. Not only do they give all their community members incredible perks, but for their top tier VIB Rouge members, they regularly throw exclusive events to bring the community together.

How to Leverage Exclusive Events to Build Community - Sephora VIB Rouge event canvas gift bags

These events celebrate the things their community members value: fun and beauty. After the festivities of VIB Rouge get togethers, it’s no wonder then that their social media and community message boards are full of posts, comments, and discussions about the events. One important benefit of these events is that encourages community engagement about the event itself, and about the community’s love for the brand.

Facilitating celebration of the things your members care about deepens their emotional connections to each through a positive shared experience.

Community events boost your members’ feelings about themselves

Possibly the most powerful aspect of exclusive events are the fact that they are just that: exclusive. The word itself brings up images of velvet ropes and red carpets, and everybody enjoys the thrill of being a VIP.

Thanks to the power of social comparison, few things feel as good having something before somebody else does. That is exactly what Erin Condren taps each year when they release the newest collection of their insanely popular LifePlanner™.

How to Leverage Exclusive Events to Build Community - Erin Condren EC Insder early access to new Lifeplanner

If you are an organization enthusiast these are the planners you want to get, and for the EC Insider community, Erin Condren puts them up on cloud nine with early access. Before anyone else can get there hands on the new planners, the community members can order theirs - days in advanced. This event by itself has enough value to entice non-members to join the EC Insider community.

Rewarding your community members with exclusive events shows them value of being part of your brand community.  Plus, it creates a strong incentive for non-members to join, so they can get access to the same sense of exclusivity.

Exclusive Rewards connect your community members to your brand

Your brand community is built around your customers. In order for the community to actually benefit your business though, it’s important that their desires connect back to your brand. That way, when they think about the positive emotions associated with the community, its really the value of your brand that comes to mind.

Exclusive events can close this loop because it puts your customers first; You need to know what your customers value before you can create a rewarding event around it. When you reward your members with an event that revolves around something they value, it strengthens the emotional connection they feel with your brand.

How to Leverage Exclusive Events to Build Community - e.l.f Modern Metals new product created with community

That’s exactly what beauty behemoth e.l.f did when they took some exclusive members of their Beauty Squad community and worked with them to create a whole new product line. E.l.f. knew that their community values creativity and design, so what better way to show that they’re interests are important than to bring them into the product design process? Plus, by sharing the experience the whole community, like in the email above, e.l.f makes the whole Beauty Squad  feel like they were involved and valued.

When you show community members that that you value you what they value, the line between who they are and who your brand is gets blurred - bringing you both into each other’s stories.

Exclusive events are all about building emotional connections

The best brand communities are built on emotion, and creating experiential rewards with exclusive events is an amazing way to build that emotional connection with your customers.

By creating connections between members as well as with your brand, you are setting your community building efforts up for success.